|FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS Media Release 2013|
JANUARY MEDIA RELEASE
Back to school media release : The Sunrise segment
It’s allergy action plan time!
Blue Wiggle puts spotlight on allergy awareness as kids head back to school
Thursday 24 January 2013: As parents start to prepare their kids for a return to school, “Blue Wiggle” Anthony Field is joining forces with peak health group Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) to deliver a timely reminder about the importance of preparation in caring for children with potentially life threatening allergy.
Anthony Field will not only be helping his son Antonio prepare for his first day of kindergarten but will be taking the time to encourage affected families and schools to be more aware of anaphylaxis – the most severe form of allergic reaction – and to implement effective allergy management strategies detailed in every allergy affected child’s Health Care Plan.
“Antonio and our entire family are very aware of his severe food allergies however we need to step up management especially now that he’s preparing for kindergarten. Our priority is that Antonio is happy and healthy and enjoys big school. So we will keep in close contact with his school to make sure the Health Care Plan discussed with the school is implemented to help manage his food allergies and reduce the risk of anaphylaxis,” said Mr Field.
With food allergies on the rise in Australia, precautions are being rolled out in schools to help minimise the risks associated with severe allergies. The recent Coronial Inquest into Raymond Cho’s allergy-related death at a NSW school highlighted the need for schools to continue to raise awareness, be appropriately trained and work with peak bodies with experience in allergy and anaphylaxis including Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia.
The NSW Department of Education and Communities has made it mandatory that all state schools and state preschools now have an adrenaline auto-injector for general use (not prescribed for a particular individual) in their first aid kit.
According to Maria Said, President of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, having effective allergy management practises in place is the only way to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis.
“If you suspect that your child may have an allergy to food or insects, it is recommended that you talk with your doctor for possible referral to an allergy specialist or paediatrician with experience in allergy. Parents of children who have been diagnosed with severe allergies and schools both have responsibilities to ensure there are manageable strategies in place to reduce the risk of reactions. The best way to reduce allergic reactions is preparedness - be aware of allergy triggers, do what is possible in everyday life to avoid them and know when and how to use an adrenaline auto-injector. Parents and staff must have a face to face meeting with school staff and make sure the school has procedures for management and emergency treatment in place, not just on paper.
“Now that more and more children are being diagnosed with food allergies we need to educate everyone in how to manage them. A national approach to severe allergy and its management is crucial in effectively supporting those at risk and those who care for them. The risk of anaphylaxis cannot be removed but there are many things that school communities could be doing better to support students, parents and staff who need to manage this potentially life threatening condition every day,” reiterated Ms Said.
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia has a number of information sheets for people affected by allergies. Links to anaphylaxis guidelines for schools and children’s services across Australia are available at www.allergyfacts.org.au
Note: Not all children with allergies need to be prescribed an adrenaline auto injector. Some children have an Action Plan for Allergic Reactions and this guides carers on management when no adrenaline auto injector is prescribed.
Issued on behalf of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia.
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