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Food Allergies in School

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

Eggs, nuts, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, strawberries and tomatoes are just some of the foods that can cause problems for your child if they have allergies.

I'm here at Belpre City Schools and with the start of the new school year people aren't thinking about food allergies everyday, but administrators on both sides of the river take it very seriously.

"Food allergies are one of the most serious things that -- one of the most serious health issues that we deal with at school,” says Superintendent Tony Dunn.

Kids with food allergies are more common than ever before.

"Or intolerances to certain products or grains,” says Beverly Blough, director of child nutrition at Wood County Schools. “We've seen quite an increase in the number of children that are on gluten-free diets."

It's in the details.

"We need very specific information from parents so that we can create an environment that's safe for their kids,” Dunn says.

Wood County Schools has a warehouse full of inventory.

"And I have in a set of notebooks all of the labels from every product that we have,” Blough says. “So I look at every one of those and then we make a list, a master list of what allergens or what ingredients could children be allergic to."

Special cleaning precautions may be necessary with a food allergy.

"We have to educate those kids in the classroom or we have to educate our lunch staff,” Dunn says.

Blough echoes Dunn's sentiment, adding, “To know to look and double check those labels to make sure that when they're serving a child with an allergy that they make appropriate substitution."

Food allergies aren't on the back burner anymore.

"People are more aware and more sensitive to it,” Dunn says. “They realize that it can be a life and death situation for kids."

It's a matter of parents, teachers and food staff all looking out for the kids to make sure they stay safe and healthy.

Know your child's history, symptoms and treatments that work -- and always, let their school know if anything changes.


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