« Treatment just a few bites away? | Main | A Small town takes big steps in protecting kids with food allergies »

January 4, 2007

Peanut allergy growing concern in schools

source: The Times-Herald

To many youngsters, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich is an all-American part of growing up.

For some of their friends, the same sandwich is potentially deadly. Approximately three million people in the United States have an allergy to peanuts or peanut products, according to Julie Campbell, founder and president of the Illinois Food Allergy Education Association.

Some 12 million Americans have some type of food allergy. Allergies to peanuts are among the most common. "It's one of the most fatal food allergies," according to statistics, Campbell said.

Peanut allergies have the attention of local school officials. Coweta School Superintendent Blake Bass said there are 132 students in the Coweta County School System who are allergic to peanuts or peanut products.

"We are working with each one of them," he said.

"Allergies to peanuts can be very serious — and to other things, too," said Smith Pass, a longtime school board member who has served as chairman of the board's safety committee. Pass said the system got an e-mail from a parent thanking the local schools for their efforts on behalf of students with peanut allergies.

Sally Millians, who directs the school nurse program, "is working with these schools and with these students and parents," Bass said.

The process includes educating other students about the dangers, involving parents and teachers in working on plans for dealing with any problem and sending a letter to all parents in the school.

"We're asking that they not send peanut products to school, but if they do, to make sure they're labeled," Bass said.

"We've gone as far as making sure there's a peanut-free zone in the school where they can eat their lunch," Bass said. Bass said teachers who have students with such allergies are also trained in using an epinephrine pen which can be used in an emergency.


Posted by David at January 4, 2007 7:42 AM