Food allergies on rise cause teachers worry

By Staff Writer
March 16, 2006

The number of people with food allergies is rising every year. In the past 20 years, the percentage of people allergic to different types of food has doubled. There are few ways to predict these food allergies, and there is no medication specifically designed or produced for those severely allergic to food, according to kidshealth.org.

There are eight highly popular food allergens. Peanuts, milk, and wheat are high on this list. The intake of these products can be deadly to those with severe allergies who encounter them. People severely allergic to these foods can have a reaction by simply smelling or breathing in particles of the food. Allergies are taken very seriously when it comes to children in school, since the kids are in such close quarters with each other during lunch periods.

“Parents have to write the ingredients of their child’s lunch and send it in with them every day. Since there are so many children allergic to peanuts and peanut butter, you can’t be too careful,” Danielle Chominski, a junior elementary and special education major, said.

Allergies to food can occur when a child or person consumes too much of a food during childhood. Their immune system thinks that their intake of certain foods is harmful to their body. Antibodies are produced to protect the body and release histamine, which acts on a person’s ears, eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin and gastrointestinaltract, according to kidshealth.org.

Many children and teenagers are taught from their parents what could happen to them if they do eat something they are severely allergic to. Their doctors give them epinephrine kits just in case they should eat something they should not. Most people with severe allergies carry around an epinephrine pen, which holds a single does of epinephrine. This is basically a shot of adrenaline given to those who have a reaction.

“Schools need to know that the children have food allergies because, if not, they would be putting the students in danger. I am going into the teaching field, and I know that I will have to be careful when I give out treats and snacks to my students because I don’t want them to have an allergic reaction on my account,” Jackie Creighton, an elementary and special education major, said.

At Cabrini, Chef Rodney Stockett, the executive chef of Wood Dining Hall, said, “Whatever a student needs, we do for them.” The dining halls are informed of the student’s allergies and then their food is prepared especially for them. “There is no cross contamination between the foods. The only peanut substance we have out is the peanut butter.” Stockett said.

Stockett, as well as many other staff members of the dining hall, is certified in CPR. In case of an emergency, they will be able to perform CPR as well as call 911 in case a student has an allergic reaction.

In January of 2006, it became mandatory for all producers of food in the United States to print the full ingredients of the food they were putting out on the market. All food products now list if any of the eight major food allergens are in their product in any shape or form.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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