Allergies and asthma can make the start of the new school year a challenge for kids who aren’t prepared to deal with flare-ups, an allergist warns.

“Every age group is different in how much they can handle when it comes to protecting themselves from flare-ups due to allergies and asthma while at school, as well as severe allergic reactions from food allergies,” said Dr. Bradley Chipps. He is president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

“But every student wants to feel good and be free from their triggers when they’re away from home,” he added in an ACAAI news release.

Here are tips from the organization that can help:

Children from pre-kindergarten to 4th grade:

These young students need their parents to speak on their behalf. Talk with your child’s teachers before school starts to inform them of your child’s allergies and the kind of reaction they might have to allergens in the classroom.

Meet with the school nurse and administrators to create a health plan for your child. Also, tour the classroom to identify possible allergy triggers, such as wall-to-wall carpeting or a class pet.

Children in grades 5 to 8:

At this age, children can likely speak up for themselves about possible allergens in the classroom, cafeteria or other areas of the school. But when you fill out your child’s school registration, be sure to note if they have allergies or asthma, need to carry medications or need to avoid certain foods.

All states allow students to carry and use medications for asthma and severe allergic reactions. Your child should know how to use these medications in an emergency.

High school students:

Teens probably know how to handle their allergy and asthma medications, but they may be too self-conscious to carry or use them. Parents of high school students should encourage them to regard self-care as a “next step” in their journey toward independence.

Going off to college:

Young adults will have to assume much more responsibility for managing their allergy or asthma. For example, he or she might need to contact school administrators to discuss necessary arrangements for dorm living and meals. Students who will be living far from home may have to find a new allergist and pharmacy.



More information:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on allergies and asthma.

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