For the first time ever, the federal government has issued voluntary guidelines designed to help schools protect young students who suffer from food allergies.
With the recent rise in food allergies, especially among elementary school-aged children, many schools have taken the initiative to create their own cautionary policies. According to SF Gate, about 15 states—and numerous individual schools or school districts—already have policies of their own. The guidelines recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are the first step toward standardized food allergy safety rules at the federal level.
"The voluntary guidelines call on schools to take such steps as restricting nuts, shellfish or other foods that can cause allergic reactions, and make sure emergency allergy medicine—like EpiPens—are available," reports SF Gate.
The rules on food allergies also advise schools to identify children with food allergies, have a plan to prevent exposures and manage any reactions, train teachers or others how to use medicines like epinephrine injectors, or have medical staff to do the job, plan parties or field trips free of foods that might cause a reaction;,and designate someone to carry epinephrine, and make sure classroom activities don't exclude those with food allergies.
A recent CDC survey estimates that about 1 in 20 U.S. children has food allergies—a 50 percent increase from the late 1990s. Studies have linked the rise in food allergies to everything from GMOs, to household chemicals, and pesticides in the water supply. Peanuts, tree nuts, milk and shellfish are among the food that most often most trigger reactions.
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