If you have a child with allergies or asthma - this is a very good time to review your "allergy action plan" for the upcoming school year. First, if your child has asthma - learn about asthma triggers, including exercise associated asthma.
Second, more than 2 million children have allergies to one or more foods, making it imperative to incorporate a savvy avoidance and elimination diet 24/7 both at home and at school. If you need help, enroll in the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network at www.foodallergy.org.
Third, seasonal allergies and indoor allergies can cause a decrease in learning in the classroom. As a result, your child may require proper attention and pre-treatment before they head to the classroom.
Here are some more tips to get you started:
-- All children with a history of severe allergy or allergic emergencies should have an auto-injector with epinephrine immediately available to them and appropriate school personnel. A written plan of action should be in place.
-- If your child has asthma - work with your child's physical education staff to allow for safe and enjoyable athletic activities during the school year. It is very important to provide time for a warm up and adequate cool down as well as have available drinking water during exercise.
-- Wear protective eyewear on windy days to reduce pollens and molds entering the eyes.
-- Work with your family doctor and/or allergist to get proper allergy treatment for environmental allergies that may be aggravated by exposure to indoor allergies such as pet dander (cat hair is often present in high levels in schools, and is usually from exposure to clothing).
-- For kids allergic to food, always plan ahead with safe snacks for school and reinforce "reading food labels."
Dr. Clifford W. Bassettis an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.