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Bicton Primary School is an Allergy Aware School
Bicton Primary School has implemented this ‘Allergy Aware Guidelines’ to ensure that students, staff and parents are familiar with some common serious allergies and how to manage an allergic reaction. While these guidelines indicate that every effort is made to reduce the risks associated with allergies, it cannot be guaranteed that a school is ‘free’ of any particular product. Staff and parents/guardians need to be made aware that it is not possible to achieve a completely allergen-free environment in an environment that is open to the general community. Adults should not become complacent that an allergen has been eliminated from the environment. Instead Bicton Primary School recognises the need to adopt a range of procedures and risk minimisation strategies to reduce the risk of a child having an anaphylactic reaction, including strategies to minimise the presence of the allergen in their immediate environment (Anaphylaxis Management Guidelines for Western Australian Schools, Government of Western Australia, 2009).
Anaphylaxis is a severe and sudden allergic reaction. It occurs when a person is exposed to an allergen (such as food or an insect bite). Although death is rare, an anaphylactic reaction always requires an emergency response. Prompt treatment with injected adrenaline may halt progression and can be lifesaving. Fortunately, anaphylactic reactions are usually preventable by implementing strategies for avoiding allergens. One in two hundred people in the general population are at risk of anaphylaxis (Royal Children’s Hospital EpiPen Training Manual, July 2004).
Common allergens for anaphylaxis are:
Children who are highly allergic to any of the above allergens are at risk of anaphylaxis if exposed. Those who have had a previous anaphylactic reaction are at increased risk. Reactions usually begin within minutes of exposure and can progress rapidly at any time over a period of two hours. A student at risk of anaphylaxis will often recognise the early symptoms of an allergic reaction before any other signs are observable.
Common symptoms are:
Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plans
The principal will ensure that an Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plan (IAHCP) is developed in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians, for any student who has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner as being at risk of anaphylaxis. The IAHCP will be in place as soon as practicable after the student is enrolled and where possible before their first day of school. The student’s IAHCP will be reviewed, in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians:
Parents should be aware that a student’s details, including information about the severe allergy, their photos, and the IAHCP will be recorded on Bicton Primary School’s Integris as a reference point for teaching staff to ensure they can provide the best possible care in cases of emergency. Medications will be held in the Medical Room for Years 1-6 students or be kept in the classroom for students in Kindergarten and Pre-Primary. Additional EpiPens are always available in the Medical Room. Student’s IAHCP will be displayed in the Medical Room and classroom.
Parents/guardians of a child at risk of anaphylaxis shall:
Responsibilities and Strategies to Avoid Allergen Exposure
Bicton Primary School will take all reasonable measures open to it to minimise allergen exposure to students and members of the school community. The school will make student medical information and the IAHCP that have been supplied by parents available to supervising staff. School staff should make themselves familiar with the medical information relating to students under their supervision as recorded on Integris.
Bicton Primary School trains all staff in the use of EpiPens and in the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions. Teaching staff are also trained to ensure that coverage is provided for students, especially in relation to co-curricular activities.
‘Sharing Lunches Discussions’ are held with relevant classes/groups about the importance of students eating their own food and not sharing.
Medication, Allergies and Students Taking Administered Medication
Avoid use of party balloons and contact with swimming caps and latex gloves.
Science, Arts, Design and Technologies and Cooking
Careful planning of Art, Design and Technologies and Science classes will be done by teachers to attempt the removal of risk food items for classes with students who have an ASCIA Action Plan. Art items can also be risk items (egg cartons, milk containers, peanut butter jars, cereal boxes). Teachers and school staff need to exercise ‘Duty of Care’ and ensure risk minimization in these activities, experiments and lessons.
Staff Training and Emergency Response
In an emergency, all staff members have a duty of care. Staff use common sense, which dictates that in an emergency, while they should not act beyond their capabilities and qualifications, they are expected to do what they can to take appropriate action.
Teachers and other school staff members who have contact with the student at risk of anaphylaxis undertake training in anaphylaxis management including how to respond in an emergency. At other times while the student is under the care or supervision of the school, including excursions, playground duty, camps and special event days, the principal must ensure that there is a sufficient number of staff present who have up to date training and know how to recognise, prevent and treat anaphylaxis. Training will be provided to these staff as soon as practicable after the student enrols.
Wherever possible, training will take place before the student’s first day at school. Where this is not possible, an interim plan will be developed in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians. The school’s first aid procedures and student’s IAHCP will be followed when responding to an anaphylactic reaction.
Staff responsible for the child at risk of anaphylaxis shall:
The key to prevention of anaphylaxis is the identification of allergens and prevention of exposure to them. The school can employ a range of practical prevention strategies to minimise exposure to known allergens. The table below provides examples of risk minimisation strategies.
· Liaise with parents/guardians about food related activities ahead of time.
· Use non-food treats where possible. If food treats are used in class, it is recommended that parents/guardians provide a box of safe treats for the student at risk of anaphylaxis. Treat boxes should be clearly labelled. Treats for the other students in the class should be consistent with the school’s allergen minimisation strategies
· Never give food from outside sources to a student who is at risk of anaphylaxis.
· Be aware of the possibility of hidden allergens in cooking, design and technologies, science and art classes (e.g. egg or milk cartons).
· Have regular discussions with students about the importance of washing hands, eating their own food and not sharing food.
· Casual/relief teachers should be made aware of the student’s IAHCP and where this is displayed in the classroom.
· Staff trained to provide an emergency response to anaphylaxis should be readily available during non-class times (e.g. recess and lunch).
· In the event of an anaphylactic emergency, staff on duty need to be able to communicate that there is an anaphylactic emergency without leaving the child experiencing the reaction unattended. A ‘Red Emergency Card – EpiPen Required’ and is to be sent to the office if assistance is required. The student’s emergency kit will be brought to the student from the office. If the student is experiencing mild symptoms he/she can be brought to the office for medical attention.
· Duty teachers and school staff on duty are not to consume high risk foods to ensure minimisation of risk.
· Parents/guardians of other students should be informed in advance about foods that may cause allergic reactions in students at risk of anaphylaxis as well as being informed of the school’s allergen minimisation strategies
· Party balloons should not be used if a student is allergic to latex.
· Staff must know where the adrenaline auto injector is located and how to access if it required
· Staff should avoid using food in activities or games, including rewards if a student in the class is known to have anaphylaxis, particularly in the younger year levels K-3
· One or more staff members who have been trained in the recognition of anaphylaxis and the administration of the adrenaline auto injector should accompany the student on excursions.
· All staff present during the excursion need to be aware if there is a student at risk of anaphylaxis.
· Staff should develop an emergency procedure that sets out clear roles and responsibilities in the event of an anaphylactic reaction.
· The school should consult parents/guardians in advance to discuss issues that may arise, to develop an alternative food menu or request the parent/guardian to send a meal (if required).
· Parents/guardians may wish to accompany their child on the excursion. This should be discussed with parents/guardians as another strategy for supporting the student.
· Consider the potential exposure to allergens when consuming food on buses.
Enrolment Checklist for Children at Risk of Anaphylaxis