Our Adventures

  • 02 Apr 2015

    Why schools REALLY need to be aware of Allergy Awareness Week 2015

    Posted: 02 Apr 2015

    Allergy Awareness Week kicks off on 20th April, 2015 and runs until the 26th April. It's one of a series of weeks run by Allergy UK, with the aim of raising awareness about food allergies. Throughout the week, schools, nutritionists, bloggers and families will use the opportunity to promote messages about food safety, and coping with allergies.

    This year, the Allergy Awareness Week in April will focus on 'the severe end of allergy' and aims to highlight the real impact that severe allergies can have on people. It's a message that's long overdue, particularly for schools. Because although some teachers make amazing efforts to accommodate allergies on a day-to-day basis, research shows that many educators are woefully unprepared for an allergic reaction.

    A report by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EACCI) states that "food allergy affects at least 4-7% of children, with 20% of allergic reactions occurring in schools".

    The report goes on to say, "up to two-thirds of schools currently have at least one child at risk of anaphylaxis but many are poorly educated and poorly prepared to handle emergencies."

    And when you think how many hours your child with allergies will spend in school during their education, well those figures could keep you awake at night, right?

    So, without getting too alarmist, initiatives like Allergy Awareness Week are really important to help improve allergy education for teachers and children. Knowing how to handle a severe allergic reaction shouldn't be an optional extra, or a skill left to the paramedics. It's the responsibility of everyone involved in schools where children have allergies. Which means it's the responsibility of all schools, everywhere.

    That's why I'm working my hardest to finish my online allergy workshop for schools. It's been a massive undertaking and a complete underestimation of the amount of work and time it would take me. But the good news is that a full version of the workshop will be tested in a school in Portsmouth at the end of April, so little by little, I'm bringing this beast over the line.

    Hopefully, by the time Allergy Awareness Week rolls around next year, I'll have done my bit for improving allergy awareness in schools. Because a clear understanding of how food allergies need to be managed safely in schools, just can't come soon enough.

    As for this year, if you're hoping to rally the teachers at your child's school as part of Allergy Awareness Week, my allergy story books *wink, wink* are a really useful way of introducing the subject of food allergies to children in a positive, fun way. See the full range of story books here. As a bonus, I'm giving away a free allergy safety poster with every purchase up until 26th April. Perfect to pin-up in nurseries, school classrooms, corridors or canteens! So if you or your child's teacher are interested in promoting Allergy Awareness Week, click and send them this link.

    Allergy Adventures' story books are also available here on amazon.co.uk.

    Or even better…if your child already has some of the books (amazing), they could become the star of Allergy Awareness Week and take them into school for a 'show and tell' session! Getting the teacher to do the beetroot monkey dance is compulsory. 

    Over to you
    Are you planning anything to help raise awareness in Allergy Week? Are you confident that your child's school would cope well with an allergic reaction? It would be great to hear your thoughts.

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