Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to School Shopping List for Allergies 2014

By Kelley Lindberg

The new school year is just around the corner, and that means it's time to hit the stores for those back-to-school sales.

Of course, those of us with food-allergic kids have to add a few extra items to our back-to-school shopping lists. So if you, too, are preparing a back-to-school shopping list for the food-allergic student in your life, don’t forget these essentials:

  • Epinephrine Injectors – Have yours expired? It may be time to get new ones. I get a pair to leave at the school’s office, and a pair for him to carry in his lunch box (along with instructions). Be sure you check the expiration dates on the new ones to make sure they’ll last through the school year. There are two brands: EpiPen and Auvi-Q. Check both of their websites for $0-copay discount programs. (See my blog post "Choosing an Epinephrine Auto-Injector for your Food Allergies.")
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, etc.) – Like with the EpiPens, I put some in the office, and some in his lunch box. Again, check the expiration dates.
  • Lunch Box – He always takes a home lunch and sits with his food-allergic buddy.
  • Thermos for hot foods – He lives on noodles, but these are great for safe soups, chili, and casseroles, too.
  • Food Containers – Invest in a few plastic containers that will fit inside the lunch box for things like salads, dressings, sandwiches, fruit, etc. They’re more economical, more ecological, and far less “squishable” than plastic baggies.
  • Beverage Thermos or water bottle
  • Handi-Wipes – I always put a couple of individually wrapped Handi-Wipes in his lunch box so he can clean off the table if he needs to.
  • Food Allergy Action Plan – Make an appointment with your child’s allergist or pediatrician now, and have them fill out a Food Allergy Action Plan to give to your school. I attach a current photo of my son, and then I make a few color copies of it. I give one to the school office, one to each of his teachers for them to hang in their classroom, and one to the school cafeteria manager for her to hang in the kitchen, so that the lunch workers will know him and recognize him if he has a reaction. If your doctor doesn’t have their own form, use this Food Allergy Action Plan from FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education). It’s probably the most widely used form in the U.S., and most doctors recognize and use it.
  • Medical ID Bracelet or Necklace – If your child will wear one of these, it’s a great idea. It is a visual reminder for teachers of your child’s allergies, and it’s an instant help for EMTs who might be summoned if your child has a reaction.
  • Clean-up Wipes – I like to take a couple of tubs of wipes to his teacher, for cleaning desks. (I usually take tubs to the teacher throughout the year, too, since they often go through them quickly.)
  • Case or bag for epinephrine auto-injectors: Decide where your child will carry their injectors and meds – a zippered pencil case, a lunch box, a purse, a backpack, a string backpack, etc., and be sure you let the teacher and staff know where it will be so they can find it in an emergency.
  • Labels for food: Over at Smart Allergy-Friendly Education, Daniella has designed some wonderful stickers that you can attach to cans or jars or baskets of food to let your teacher know that what’s inside is safe for your child to eat. Especially good for younger kids who can’t read or stand up for themselves yet, these labels can really come in handy if you like to leave a stash of “safe” foods for your kid for those times when the rest of the class is eating unsafe treats.
Do you have any other great suggestions for allergy-aware back-to-school supplies? Be sure to share them with us!

Happy shopping!


Anonymous said...

A carrier where students can #straponepipen

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