Back to school can be a stressful time of year for the parents of nearly 300,000 Canadian children under the age of 18, who suffer from food allergies. For those students with severe allergies, school can be a dangerous place without the right preventative measures.
Awareness about food allergies has grown substantially as of late, thanks to the help of spokespeople like NASCAR driver Alex Tagliani, who recently added a ‘peanut free zone’ sign to his race car. The logo was designed by two Alberta students as part of an Anaphylaxis Canada contest raising awareness for ‘Treating Allergies with Genuine Care’.
London Drugs Pharmacy Operations Manager, Chris Chiew, advises that every parent of a child with allergies should keep the following things in mind when preparing for back to school:
- Update allergy medications annuallyThe start of the school year is an ideal time to update expired allergy medications such as EpiPens. “Having your medication on-hand isn’t enough; always make sure that they aren’t expired,” explains Chiew. It’s also a great time to find out what the newest options are for epinephrine autoinjectors, like the new and easy-to-use Allerject. Prescriptions are not required for Allerject, making it easy for parents to renew their child’s anaphylaxis medicine at the start of the school year.
- Keep allergy medications accessible“When your child goes off to school again, it’s important to have a plan in place, so that their medication is accessible to them and their teachers in case of emergency,” says Chiew. For young children, parents may consider creating kits with the child’s name, photograph, and specific allergy to hand out to teachers. In public settings like schools where not everyone is trained on how to administer an autoinjection, the Allerject has a voice prompt to walk them through the emergency.
- Properly dispose of old/used sharpsExpired medications should be properly disposed of, as they can pose a threat to the environment if tossed in the garbage. Autoinjections such as EpiPens and Allerjects should be disposed of in a sharps disposal bin. All expired medications can be disposed of responsibly at London Drugs pharmacies.