As you are preparing for a new year at school through catching up with friends and clothes shopping, you may find it harder to concentrate on preparing for school allergy treatment plan. High school students could be more concerned with dating, sports, friendships, and picking classes than remembering to carry their inhaler or EpiPen, but you must understand that unless your allergy is well-controlled, it will interfere with your effort in study and being fully active at school. That’s why an easy-to-follow, effective allergy emergency plan is very important, both for you and those around you at school. One thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Many teens in public and private schools must deal with the threat of allergy every day, and you may find a few of them at your school.
Keep in mind that the best line of defense is to carry your medications anywhere at all times and making sure your surroundings is allergen-free. Before your first day at school, you should ask your parent to talk with school principal, teachers, cafeteria staff and school nurse. Make sure your parent explain medications you need to school nurse and dietary limitations to cafetaria staffs. Ask the principal whether there is a special policy on what to be performed before carrying and taking your medications at school. For example, in New York City, you are required to sign Form 504 before bringing any medication (including aspirin) to school.
Luckily, there is law that supports children and teenagers with allergy. Under the Law 504, students with allergies can’t be discriminated against, the law also requires that they to be fully accommodated at school. The law specifies that your classrooms should be near the school clinic and the nurse is capable in administering the right medication. If you are far from the clinic, you are permitted to carry medications with you.
If you have to carry epinephrine (Twinject or EpiPen), because there is a risk of severe allergy to insect stings or food, you are legally permitted to have the right medications in your backpack, pocket, or purse. It is recommended that only older responsible students may carry epinephrine with them, and teachers must be trained in administering the drug if students can’t do it for themselves. It is advisable to bring instructions for EpiPen or Twinject in your backpack or purse near the drug, so your friends and teachers can have a good idea on what they should do during an emergency. Students that need asthma inhaler are allowed to carry it with them if they can show a letter of approval from the doctor. Teenager with asthma should have the right and the opportunity to access their rescue medications at all times.
Carrying medications and action plan doesn’t make you exempt in taking some precautions, however. You may think that since you’re armed with an inhaler or an EpiPen, you have the same freedoms as normal students. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Although you have developed a good action plan and are carrying enough medication, it is important to avoid certain high-risk scenarios. For example, students with peanut allergy shouldn’t sit at a crowded table along with people who may not be aware of how peanuts can be life-threatening to you. Or if you are allergic to insect stings, you should be careful about playing with friends in places where insects’ nests lie, like in the school park. The more you take unnecessary risks, the more likely things can go wrong. Because many students at high school change classes regularly, it is a good idea to carry multiple Twinjects or EpiPens at school. Carry one in your bag, purse, or the backpack. If you are not carrying a bag, you should put a Twinject or EpiPen in your pocket. Wearing cargo pants is a good idea for boys who do not like to carry a bag. Always keep one in the locker as a backup, and if your teacher agrees, you should ask him to keep a Twinject or EpiPen in his desk as well, so if you or your classmate can have an immediate access to medication during an allergy attack. If possible ask your bus driver to keep one in the bus as well.
In addition to adults at school, ask classmates and friends to watch for your condition. You shouldn’t be embarrassed with your condition; plenty of students have allergies and your friends will probably be happy to help you whenever they can.
When you have an allergy attack at school, always be cautious in what you’re doing. If you can, give yourself a Twinject or an EpiPen shot the moment you are experiencing the symptom. The only possible epinephrine side effect is faster heartbeat, so it won’t be dangerous if it turns out that it is a false alarm. Make sure you ask your friends to do the same thing, if they think you are suffering in any way, they must give you an immediate shot, no questions asked!