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Life Threatening Allergies

Life Threatening Allergies and Anaphylaxis

What is an allergy?

According to the CDC “A food allergy occurs when the body has a specific and reproducible immune response to certain foods. The body’s immune response can be severe and life threatening, such as anaphylaxis. Although the immune system normally protects people from germs, in people with food allergies, the immune system mistakenly responds to food as if it were harmful” (2020).

The eight most common food groups that account for the most serious allergic reactions in the United States are:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustacean Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Peanuts and Tree nuts.

What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis, the most severe type of allergic reaction, refers to a collection of symptoms affecting multiple systems of the body. The most dangerous symptoms include breathing difficulties and a drop in blood pressure or shock, which are potentially fatal. The onset of these symptoms is most commonly immediate, although may be delayed by hours. However, every child is different, and some students will develop gastro-intestinal symptoms before any other symptoms develop. Common examples of potentially life-threatening allergies are those to foods and stinging insects, although these reactions may also occur to medication or latex rubber and in rare cases associated with exercise.

Symptoms of Anaphylaxis:

  • Skin rashes and itching and hives
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing (whistling sound during breathing)
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Feeling like something awful is about to happen

Treatment of Anaphylaxis:

  1. Follow the steps in your child's emergency care plan to give your child epinephrine right away. This can save your child's life.
  2. After giving epinephrine, always call 911 or a local ambulance service. Tell them that your child is having a serious allergic reaction and may need more epinephrine.
  3. Your child needs to be taken to a hospital by ambulance. Medical staff will watch your child closely for further reactions and treat him or her if needed.

Hellgate Elementary Required Documents:

  • Emergency Action Plan
    • The school nurse will put together an individualized emergency action plan that informs staff on how to handle an emergent situation, such as anaphylaxis, if you child experiences this at school.
  • Anaphylaxis Action Plan
    • This needs to be filled out by a provider at the start of every school year. Please send it to Brayden Byrne, 2355 Flynn Lane Missoula, MT 59808, or fax it to (406)-549-6100 for students in Building 1 (grades 2nd and 3rd) or for students in Building 4 (grades 7th-8th). Please send forms to Lou Garman at 2365 Flynn Lane Missoula, MT 59808 or fax it to (406)-721-2161 for students in Building 2 (grades pre-k, kindergarten, and 1st grade) or for students in Building 3 (grades 4th-6th).

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