Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New guidelines for food allergies

Food allergies in children have risen 50 percent since the late 1990s, with Maryland and D.C. having some of the highest rates in the country. And no one knows why.

To combat the rise, the Centers for Disease Control, which reported the 50 percent increase in a 2013 study, recently released a 108-page comprehensive guide to assist schools. The "Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs" meticulously documents procedures and policies regarding the disease.

The guidelines label symptoms of an allergy attack, including how a child would articulate such symptoms, like, "my mouth feels funny" or "my tongue feels like there is a hair on it."

A delay in treatment, typically epinephrine, can result in death in as little as 30 minutes.

Epinephrine, commonly administered through an auto-injector called an EpiPen, is essentially adrenaline. When injected into the outer thigh, the hormone will open airways that constrict during an allergy attack.

The guidelines also expound on how to explain allergies to children, how to keep children's lunches separate and how to create a positive psychosocial climate in the classroom.

By Aviva Woolf, Capital News Service

For the rest of the story, go to WTOP.

For a study on food allergies, go to Pediatrics

For voluntary guidelines, go to the CDC.

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