Allergy/Asthma Information Association

Back to school with asthma & anaphylaxis

For most of us, this means returning to a normal life. We only have to prepare our clothes, dig up our notes and make sure we have all our supplies. Everything seems as it should be, ready for a successful first day in school or at the day care.

Before we settle comfortably in this back to school routine, the Allergy/Asthma Information Association says, “Stop! Haven’t you forgotten something really important?”

We’re here to remind you that all children are not the same. Some 12% dread that first day because they have asthma. Asthma is a serious chronic condition and a major cause of absenteeism. Some years, hospitalizations for asthma peak about two weeks after school starts. Asthmatic children do not look forward to classrooms or playrooms not ventilated for months, to chalk dust, to strong scents and to the viruses that are inevitably passed around at school.

What about the 2-4% of children with food allergies, many of whom are at risk of anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life-threatening. To these children, going back to school or to day care does not necessarily mean returning to a normal life, since even trace amounts of an allergen can trigger a severe reaction. Several provinces, hundreds of schools and daycares across Canada have adopted special policies to help protect anaphylactic children.

Children with severe allergies have to pay attention to more than their schoolwork. We invite you to find out about their special needs and how you can create a welcoming environment for them.

You will find enclosed information about the AAIA Asthma Reference Kit and the AAIA Anaphylaxis Reference Kit. These key resources have been designed by the AAIA for parents and educators. They contain up-to-date information about asthma and anaphylaxis and can be used to educate lay audiences. Both kits have been medically reviewed by the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and were funded by Health Canada. The AAIA Anaphylaxis Reference Kit is the mandatory tool for training school personnel in New Brunswick.

Start off the year by learning how to make your environment safer for allergic children. Let us be your guide. See the enclosed list of resources and order forms. Please call any of our offices if you need more information.

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