COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The week of May 11 through 17 is Food Allergy Awareness Week. Approximately 1,800 students have food allergies in the Muscogee County School District.
The most severe allergies for students include nuts and fish and the most common allergy is milk or dairy products. If there are schools with students who have a severe allergic reaction to the smell of foods such as peanuts or fish, the school may become a peanut free or a fish free school.
"We approach allergy concerns as a team," said Marian Bone, Director of School Nutrition. "We work with the principals and nurses to decide what is in the best interest of the students and follow the guidelines to help prevent the chances of our students obtaining foods that may cause an allergic reaction."
A Dietary Needs Prescription Form is distributed to parents to complete and submit to the schools. The form should note any known allergy/health condition of the student.
Once the form is submitted by the parent, the student allergies are entered with the student name and record.
"It is a requirement to have documentation from a doctor to justify any meal substitutions," added Bone.
In school cafeterias, the point of sale technology program also flags the student as he or she checks out with the cashier. The cashier is alerted to look for any foods that may contain the allergen. Food allergies are also entered and flagged as a health condition in our student information system, Infinite Campus.
The itinerant registered nurse for each also school provides training on food allergy symptom recognition and treatment to designated staff. Management of severe allergic reaction is an integral part of the first aid training for all clinic aides. Parents are also involved in staff training because all symptoms for children are not the same.