Returning to the classroom?
Time to Check it. Don’t chance it.

With allergies on the increase and around 5-8% of children in the UK having at least one food allergy, Anaphylaxis Campaign and Allergy UK are urging parents, teachers and school staff to check expiry dates and the validity of life-saving AAI pens, review prevention measures, and refresh staff training, as pupils return to school after
the Covid-19 lockdown.

Peanuts, tree nuts, milk and eggs are some of the most common allergens responsible for adverse reactions in children, and most classrooms can expect to have at least one child with an allergy, with 20% of severe food allergic reactions occurring while a child is at school.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis

Mild:

• Red raised itchy rash
• Swelling of face/lips/eyes
• Abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting
• Itchy or tingling mouth

Severe:

• Difficulty breathing/swallowing
• Swelling of throat and mouth
• Feeling dizzy, floppy or sleepy
• Fast heartbeat
• Confusion and anxiety
• Loss of consciousness/collapse

 

Tackling the symptoms

Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening reaction and always requires an immediate emergency response.

An adrenaline auto-injector pen (AAI) is the first line treatment, injected into the thigh as an immediate treatment of symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction, whilst awaiting medical assistance from 999 ambulance paramedics. Adrenaline acts quickly to open up the airways, reduce swelling and raise the blood pressure.

Check it Checklist

Taking the time to stop, check and question could be the difference between saving a life whether at home, at school or whilst out and about:

  • Check children’s AAIs left at school:
    • Are they in date?
    • Stored correctly?
    • Clear and colourless and free of particles through the inspection window?
  • Check that the school hold ‘spare’ AAIs – if yes – check as above. If no, provide information on how they can purchase some
  • Check that all Emerade AAIs have been returned to the pharmacy and replaced
    with Jext or EpiPen
  • Check that children are on the right dose AAI for their current weight
  • Check that Allergy Action Plans are up to date
  • Check that school staff have recently completed their
    AllergyWise for Schools free training

Top Tips for secondary school children

Don’t be afraid to tell your friends about your allergy/ies. Make sure they know where you keep your AAIs and show them how to use them as they may need to help you in an emergency.

Take two adrenaline auto-injectors with wherever you go – you never know when you might need them.

Don’t share your food, utensils or containers with anyone else. Only eat your own safe, pre-approved food.

Always check labels of any packaged products, even if you’ve eaten
it before as recipes
can change.

Always wash your
hands thoroughly
before you eat.

Bullying because of allergies is unacceptable – if you are being left
out or teased because
of your allergies tell
an adult so you can
get help.

Top Tips for Parents

Sometimes symptoms can be mild such as itchy skin rash, itchy/tingling mouth, swelling of lips, face or eyes or tummy pain or vomiting

If you spot any symptoms, however mild, it is important to act quickly 

A severe allergic reaction can become serious quickly so a special adrenaline pen must be used immediately

Make sure your child is fully aware of their allergy, spend time discussing their allergy and ways in which they need to minimise risks when they are away from home

What the teachers say

“I believe more advice and guidance is needed for schools. Supporting children with allergy issues is part of my safeguarding duties as a head teacher and as a parent it shocks me what some people say their schools are not doing.”

Tracey Dunn, Head Teacher at
Fitzmaurice Primary School, Wiltshire

Resources

Anaphylaxis Campaign

The only UK wide charity operating solely for the growing numbers of people at risk from severe allergic reactions and anaphylaxis.

Allergy UK

Allergy UK is the leading national charity providing support, advice and information for those living with allergic disease.

AllergyWise for School Free
Online Training 

A free online e-learning course designed to ensure all staff are fully aware of the signs and symptoms, provision of emergency treatment and the implications for management of severely allergic children in school.

BSACI Allergy Action Plans

Download an Allergy Action Plan for children at risk of anaphylaxis.

Spare Pens in Schools

A one-stop shop for anyone who want to know about anaphylaxis and adrenaline auto-injector pens in schools. 

SAAG programme for
secondary schools

The new school Allergy Action Group Resource is a seven-step user-friendly toolkit to help develop a whole school allergy awareness policy