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Back-to-School: Handling food allergies

8:06 AM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Lunch time is usually one of the highlights of the school day, but for parents whose children have food allergies it can be a very nerve-wracking time.

For Tiffany, who asked us to only use her first name,  it is a concern she lives with everyday.  Her five-year-old daughter has a serious allergy to eggs and nuts.

"Her allergy attacks, every time she has one, they get worse and she has less and less time to get to the hospital and less time to get to her EpiPen," says Tiffany.

Now that her daughter is starting school at Beauclerc Elementary School next week, Tiffany's concerns have grown.   She  says she spoke to a school nurse and was concerned after learning there wasn't a specific program in place for washing of the hands after lunch.

"That way each student, even if that student is eating peanut butter, they can wash their hands and they are nice and clean before they go touch a door handle or touch a pencil and another child touches that same pencil," says Tiffany.

We took Tiffany's concerns to Beauclerc Elementary School's principal Annetta Kornblum.  She says depending on a child's allergy and its severity, the plan for each student is different and they can accommodate requests.

"For example, if a parent says I would like to have everyone wash their hands after lunch in case they have handled food and my child comes in contact with them,  not a problem," says Principal Kornblum.

Principal Kornblum also says the school can send letters home to other parents asking them to not send any snacks containing nuts and teachers all know how to use an EpiPen.

"We go through EpiPen training every year, it doesn't matter how many times you've done it, you are going through it again ," tells Kornblum

First For You, if your child has food allergies communication is key. Make sure your child's teacher, the principal and the school nurse all know about the allergy and understand its level of severity.  If you have a special request that you feel would keep your child safe, don't hesitate to ask.

First Coast News

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