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Food Allergy Book: What School Employees Need to Know - English

Download  the Spanish version: Alergias a los alimentos

Schools & Food Allergies

At any time, school staff may need to respond to a food allergy emergency—whether in the classroom or cafeteria, or on the playground, athletic field, or school bus. That’s why it’s important for educators to know about food allergies and understand their role in helping to prevent and respond to allergic reactions in schools. This pocket-sized resource covers:

  • What are the most common foods that might trigger an allergic reaction?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction?
  • What is anaphylaxis?
  • What is your role in helping to manage food allergies in schools?

What is NEA HIN Doing to Help?
The NEA Health Information Network and the U.S. Department of Agriculture partnered to publish Food Allergies: What School Employees Need to Know. This booklet is designed to educate all school employees about food allergies and how they can help to prevent and respond to food allergic reactions in schools. The booklet is free, offered in English and Spanish, and is available in print and online.

This booklet will give you information on what to do when a student is having a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction and will explain how you can help prevent reactions in your school.

What is a Food Allergy?
Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food, triggered by the body’s immune system. In individuals with food allergies, the immune system mistakenly responds to a food (known as the food allergen) as if it were harmful, triggering a variety of negative health effects.

Common food allergens found in the school environment include:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • peanuts
  • soy
  • wheat
  • tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  • fish
  • shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)

Non-food items can contain food allergens such as modeling clay and paper mache (may contain wheat), crayons (may contain soy), and finger paints (may contain milk or egg whites).

An Excerpt From The Book:

Example Food Allergy Situation

Selena the Student
The fourth-grade class at Shadyside Elementary is having a birthday party. Selena just ate a cookie brought into the class by the parent of one of her classmates. All of a sudden she notices a rash and hives on her arms. She begins to feel short of breath, so she lets Pam the Paraeducator know that something is wrong.

Pam thinks that Selena might be having an allergic reaction.

Do you know what Pam should do?

Download  the Spanish version: Alergias a los alimentos

To order hard copies of available NEA HIN educator resources, go to our orders page