What is a Life-Threatening Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergy reactions in the country: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. The Massachusetts Department of Education reported in 2002 that peanut and tree nut allergies account for 92% of severe and fatal reactions.
What is Anaphylaxis?
One in three people with a peanut or tree nut allergy have the serious medical condition called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening medical condition that occurs when allergic individuals are exposed to their allergen.
According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, food allergies are believed to be the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside of the hospital setting, causing an estimated 150 deaths and 50,000 emergency room visits each year in the United States.
What are tree nuts?
Tree nuts include, but are not limited, to: almonds, beechnuts, brazil nuts, bush nuts, butternuts, cashews, chestnuts, chinquapin, coconut, filberts, ginkgo nuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, lichee nuts, macadamia nuts, nangai nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, shea nuts and walnuts.
What Other Steps is the District Taking?
All staff will be trained annually on common food allergens, recognition of symptoms, importance of allergen avoidance, cross contamination, Epi-pens, emergency response protocols and more. Students will receive age-appropriate education regarding food allergies. The District will respond to a student’s allergy by creating a team to develop an individualized Food Allergy Action Plan. Additional accommodations may be implemented at a school to meet the specific medical needs of a student’s health plan.