Managing allergies and anaphylaxis in schools and preschools: a collaborative partnership
Most schools and early childhood services in New Zealand will have a child or student with a food allergy or is at risk of anaphylaxis. This may seem like a challenge, but Allergy New Zealand has developed resources to help.
The good news is that even the most severe form of allergic reaction — anaphylaxis — is manageable with good practices. We have developed Allergy and Anaphylaxis Guidelines for Early Childhood Services and Schools.
These guidelines, updated in August 2011, have been produced as a resource for schools, ECC, public health nurses, school nurses, students and parents to provide reliable research-based information about the prevention, recognition and first aid treatment of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.
These guidelines will be freely available as a PDF on our website, or you can purchase the printed copy from our online shop.
There are four basic rules that schools and ECE can adopt:
These guidelines are to be used in conjunction with the anaphylaxis e-training, developed by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Please read the information below first before embarking on the training. You can scroll down the page to find this.
If you are interested in having a health professional from Allergy New Zealand hold an educational talk or seminar for your staff or parents, please email us here to show your expression of interest.
You can find out more information on allergies in the A-Z of allergies in our Allergy Help section. Here you can read about anaphylaxis, download Action Plans, learn about different food allergies and much more.
Want more support?Do you want more support and trusted information so you can manage allergies and/or anaphylaxis in your school or ECE? Your school or ECE can join Allergy New Zealand as a Gold Member for just $60 a year and get all the benefits of this, including:
How to communicate to the wider communityThere are many schools and early childhood services successfully managing the needs of a child or student with food allergies or anaphylaxis with the wider community support.
You can click here to download a sample letter you may want to use to communicate to your wider community as to why you make the requests you do.
We also have some excellent books available that are suitable to educate your centre or class on food allergies and anaphylaxis. Click here to browse through.
For example, the No Biggie Bunch is a perfect teaching tool for parents, teachers, students and the child with food allergies. No Biggie is both a catch phrase kids can employ and an attitude kids, parents, teachers and playmates can adopt with fun and ease. “No Biggie” is a positive tool to add to a child’s food allergy toolbox of support. When kids and adults are on the same page and prepared (both with safe snacks and a ready response), the social challenges of food allergies really can be “No biggie!”
For older children, from nine onwards, there is the Medikidz team, which explains exactly what happens during an anaphylactic reactions. This is also a good tool for other students to understand the importance of risk management procedures.
E-Anaphylaxis trainingThe anaphylaxis e-training has been developed by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), in conjunction with the Health Departments of Western Australia and New South Wales (NSW), to provide ready access to reliable anaphylaxis education throughout Australia and New Zealand, at no charge.
Development of ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training has included an extensive review process which involved ASCIA members, Health Departments and Education Departments as well as representatives from schools, childcare services and education departments throughout Australia. New Zealand was represented by Dr Jan Sinclair, Paediatric Allergy Specialist at the Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, and by Allergy New Zealand.
ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training (Version 1.0) has been developed for school and childcare staff where face-to-face training is not possible (or feasible), or as a refresher, or for interim training whilst waiting for face to face training. ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses can also be taken by parents, friends, carers or patients themselves.
10-point guide when a student is enrolled with severe allergy1. Obtain allergy information from parents or caregivers at time of enrolment, e.g. include a question of allergies on enrolment forms.
2. If severe allergy and/or risk of anaphylaxis is indicated, request the parent obtain written medical information from the child’s doctor. This should clearly state what the child is allergic to and include a copy of the allergy or anaphylaxis action plan to be followed in event of a reaction. This needs to be signed by a doctor.
3. Obtain written consent from the parent(s) for:
4. Work with the family to formulate an individual health care plan for the child. If available, include information and support from the school nurse/public health nurse. Assess risks within the school and in EOTC activities, and plan how to minimise risk of exposure to the allergen(s) concerned; and how to implement the allergy or anaphylaxis action plan.
5. Apply for Higher Health Needs Funding (HHNF) if appropriate.
6. Arrange training for all relevant staff about allergy and anaphylaxis, and include allergy as a topic in the school health curriculum if possible.
7. Ensure training on anaphylaxis, including the use of an EpiPen and emergency response, for designated staff — e.g. the child's teacher — from an appropriately trained healthcare professional.
9. Parents should supply medication in a clearly named and labelled container (with a photo of the child on the label) to be stored in an unlocked, central location, and/or ensure the child is carrying the medication as per the agreed health plan. Parents should also ensure the medication is kept up to date and/or replaced if used.
10. Annually review and update medical information, health care plan and Allergy or Anaphylaxis Action Plan for the child; and refresh staff training.
Food allergen labelling guideYou can download our food allergen labelling guide, which gives you a list of words to look out for on ingredients labels and potential hidden sources of allergens.