Managing food allergies at school can be very challenging. You have to be cautious during school activities and field trips, and it can be a struggle to fit in.
Many students who have severe food allergies may even react to the slightest exposure to their allergens. It is very important that your school is aware of your food allergies, and is making accommodations to make school safer for you.
School Field Trips
Normally, there are activities after school has ended. There may be sports practice, yearbook, or other clubs. Participating in after-school activities can be exciting, but you still have to be cautious of your food allergies.
At student activities and gatherings, snacks may be provided. Make you sure you always take precautions:
- ALWAYS bring your epinephrine
- Always read the labels before eating a food product
- Alert the teacher or coach of your food allergies, so they may be able to bring food that is safe for you
- If you can't eat any of the food available, bring your own! Share it with your friends
When I was at FARE's Teen Summit, I remember talking to a boy who experienced bullying when he took the bus to school. On the bus, students would tease him about his food allergies and would wipe peanut butter on his seat. He was severely allergic to peanuts but the bus driver never noticed anything. Read my bullying section if you are ever in this situation.
Here are a few tips for staying safe on the bus:
- Alert the bus driver about your food allergies. He or she may be able to carry epinephrine in case of an allergic reaction
-Alert your school nurse in addition to the bus driver. They may be able to prohibit snacks on the bus
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Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a popular lunch on field trips, and peanuts are one of the top eight common allergens. Here are some tips that you can use when going on field trips:
- Alert the school nurse about your allergies. They may be able to talk with your teacher to find a way to keep you safe
- Carry a waist pack or bag where you can carry your epinephrine or any other medications
Those who have severe food allergies should think about sitting at a different table or riding another bus to avoid foods containing their allergen.