Anaphylaxis is a severe, rapidly progressive allergic reaction that is potentially life threatening. Although allergic reactions are common in children, severe life threatening reactions are uncommon and deaths are rare. However deaths have occurred and anaphylaxis must therefore be regarded as a medical emergency.
The most common allergens in school-aged children are peanuts, eggs, tree nuts e.g. cashews, cow’s milk, fish and shellfish, wheat, soy, sesame, latex, certain insect stings and medications.
We believe that the safety and wellbeing of students who are at risk of anaphylaxis is a whole school responsibility and we are committed to:
providing as far as practicable, a safe and healthy environment for all students.
- raising awareness about allergies and anaphylaxis among the school community
- actively involve the parents in developing risk minimisation strategies and management strategies for their child
- ensuring that each staff member has adequate knowledge of allergies, anaphylaxis and emergency procedures
- facilitating documentation and communication to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children at risk of anaphylaxis.
PREVENTION & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN
Staff members must assume that the food item, which is the known allergen e.g. peanut, is coming into the classroom. It can be hidden in other foods like biscuits, cakes and bars. It can be used as an ingredient in soap, paint and shaving cream.
Therefore teachers need to look at what the child is having contact with throughout the day including things they have prepared for use during class activities. When in doubt always consult with the parents. Each child’s case is different.
The following steps will help create a safe environment.
- A letter written to all parents to ask them to refrain from sending food for lunch that contain that allergen or traces of that allergen. (see sample letter)
- A letter written to the parents of a particular class where there is an anaphylactic child, and request that foods with any nut content not to be sent to school. This letter requires a written response from parents acknowledging their approval regarding this request.
- Term reminders in the Candela will provide good communication regarding this serious matter.
Removal of the allergen is recommended for Year Prep.
Young children are still learning about food avoidance and are faced with new and sometimes overwhelming situations where they need guidance from their teacher. Some children may react to skin contact with the allergen, whereas others only react if they ingest the food item.
NO SHARING OF FOOD POLICY
All children are reminded to eat only their own food in the classroom and on the yard.
A ‘no sharing of food’ policy at St Raphael’s ensures that everyone is doing the same thing and helping to prevent a reaction in the allergic child. Children at risk are to only eat food supplied and prepared by their own parents.
Treats coming into school for birthdays should never be given to anaphylactic children. Children need to have their own treat box from home or the teacher can provide a non edible reward as an alternative.
In a classroom with an anaphylactic child any treats brought to school for birthdays will be distributed at the end of the school day. The treats need to be sealed in a bag or its own wrapping. This will further reduce the chances of any cross contamination and possible ingestion of the allergen. Non-edible treats are recommended.
Classroom parties: YET TO BE DECIDED – CHIPS ETC TO BE CONSIDERED
Eating times will be well supervised by staff and lunches should be eaten in a designated area
LOCATION OF LUNCHES
Children need to have clearly labelled lunch boxes stored in school bags to avoid mix up of lunches. Junior grade teachers can help by checking that the anaphylactic child has the correct lunch in front of him / her.
Check lunches of children around the anaphylactic child
The food item that is life threatening needs to be removed if found in a lunch and suitable alternative from the tuckshop be provided or the child could eat other food in lunch box. In other year levels this will depend on the severity of the case at hand.
Classroom and specialist teachers are to always inform parents and seek permission for a child to participate in any cooking activity at school.
The classroom teacher has the responsibility of taking the Epipen and/ or appropriate medication to the excursion and the lunch of the anaphylactic student is to be separate from the rest of the group. Additional supervision may be required for the anaphylactic student.
Appropriate documentation needs to be completed by the parent of a child who is anaphylactic and this action plan is to be taken on camp. Appropriate medication is to be packed separately for each child. Arrangements may need to be made for special food to be prepared or taken to camp.
Staff who have an anaphylactic child in their class will receive training Specialist teachers and key staff members will also receive the training. All staff will be informed at staff meetings by other staff or local doctor.
PREVENTION STRATEGIES TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN ALL CLASSROOMS
- Observe anaphylactic child briefly when you greet them in the morning.
- If an anaphylactic child says they are unwell take it seriously. Never let the child go to the toilet unattended in this situation. Ask for staff support.
- Implement a no sharing of food policy in the classroom.
- Discourage the known allergen from entering the classroom.
- Encourage children to inform teachers if someone has brought the food item into the classroom.
- If a child near the anaphylactic child has eaten food containing the allergen staff need to ensure that
i. The child has his/her hands washed carefully.
ii. The desk and surrounding area is wiped down with wipes to avoid contact of the food with the anaphylactic child.
IDENTIFYING CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOL
- It is the responsibility of the parent to inform the school regarding an anaphylactic child.
- The parent is to complete an appropriate action plan for the child.
- Photo and action plan displayed in the first aid room. These are to be positioned in year levels to allow for easy identification in case of emergency.
Parental permission is to be given.
- Classroom teacher will have photos of anaphylactic children and their action plan placed in their roll. Parents need to be informed before this takes place.
- Epipens need to be stored in the first-aid room. All staff to be made aware of location of epipens. It is not appropriate to leave epipens in the classroom or in children’s bags.
- Expiry dates of epipens need to be checked.
- Each epipen is to be labelled with the child’s name and photo for easy access. (Child may not be able to give name in an emergency)
- Specialist teachers will receive information to keep for their files.
- Emergency teachers are to be made aware of school procedures and location of information. An emergency teacher must always seek the assistance of other staff and not administer epipen unless trained.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN
In case of an allergic reaction teachers are to take the following steps.
- Call the office
ALL AMBULANCE – (SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTION)
If the reaction is mild close supervision of the child is necessary because this can quickly develop into a serious reaction\
- Contact the office for assistance and alert staff to the emergency. Office staff will arrange for the appropriate medication e.g. epipen to be taken to the classroom or alternate location.
- Stay with the child at all times.
- Alert the teachers near you. Other staff will then remove the other children and provide assistance.
- Follow instructions on the child’s action plan for anaphylaxis.
- When staff member arrives with emergency bag and a decision has been made to administer the epipen ensure that the child’s clothing near thigh has been removed.
- If an ambulance has been called a staff member will be at the school gate to guide ambulance to correct location.
- Notify parents.
Each teacher will have access to an emergency card on yard duty.
- If a child appears to be having a reaction even if it is mild, never leave the child alone to walk to first aid.
- Use red card system to notify staff and make clear name of child.
- CALL AMBULANCE – (SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTION)
If the reaction is mild , observe the child because this can quickly develop into a serious reaction.
- Other staff will remove children from area to allow for some space and quiet.
- Staff members arrive with emergency kit including epipen and mobile phone.
- Follow instructions on action plan for anaphylaxis. This will be available with the emergency bag.
- When staff member arrives with emergency kit and a decision has been made to administer the epipen ensure that the child’s clothing near thigh has been removed. (provide blanket for privacy)
- If an ambulance has been called a staff member will meet ambulance at school entrance to help them easily locate child.\
- Notify parents
PLEASE NOTE: Two epipens may be present in the child’s emergency bag. Only use one epipen. The second one is there only as a back up if something happens to the first.
A second dose of adrenaline is a medical decision.
Forms available for staff
- Form for parents to fill in at the beginning of a school year.
- Information to be placed in every teachers roll for themselves and emergency teachers.
- Children profiles for teachers
- Names of staff who are trained to use an Epipen.