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August 28, 2008

Food Allergies in Jr. High

I've spent more than 10 years teaching my daughter about her food allergies. I always tell people she is very responsible about what she eats. She carries snacks with her knowing that she may end up some place hungry without a safe food option. I've taught her how to teach others about her food allergies. I've tried to model being safe but not over the top. So when it was time to go to Jr. High, I was pleased but not surprised that my daughter wanted to take matters into her own hands.

Before school started, I went with her to meet the school nurse. We did our usual talk about food allergies and Epi-Pens. Then my daughter suggested that she write a letter to her teachers to introduce herself. With so many new kids entering the school, how would her teachers remember her? How would they know that she has food allergies? So my daughter typed a letter, including a current picture of herself. Then on the first day of school, she introduced herself and handed each teacher a letter. The teachers gave positive feedback. She will still tell her friends, both old and new, about her food allergies and that she always has an Epi-Pen with her. But I still need an adult to be aware of the situation. For my daughter, this is another step in the direction of complete independence with managing her food allergies. For me, it's a time to see some pay off of all of our hard work over the years.

Below is the letter my daughter wrote. Feel free to use it as is, use parts of it, or just give the idea to your child and let them create their own. As FAAN always says, we're all in this together!

Dear Teachers,

My name is Elizabeth and I am allergic to nuts. If I eat anything with peanuts or nut products in it, my throat could close and I could stop breathing. I know this sounds serious, but I'm extremely responsible and I carry medicine around with me everywhere. The medicine is called epinephrine, or an Epi-Pen. To administer the medication, you must remove the gray cap, inject it into my thigh, and then hold it in for ten seconds. The Epi-Pen will start to take effect instantly. After you give me the Epi-Pen, call 911. If you forget these instructions, they are on the Epi-Pen.

All of my friends are aware of my allergy, and I carry an Epi-Pen in my backpack at all times. There is also one in the health office. Thank you for helping to keep me safe!


Posted by Ann Marie at August 28, 2008 1:35 PM


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