Kid eating peanuts at school

Food allergies: Treating reactions

Dr. William J. Fisher is a board certified pediatrician with Community Physician Network. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Fisher, visit his physician profile.

With back-to-school season upon us, it's the perfect time to make sure children with food allergies are prepared for the lunchroom and class parties.

If you haven't already, speak to your child's doctor about what medications your child will need if they consume a food they are allergic to.

Most children who have serious allergic reactions will need an epinephrine pen at school and at home.

A child with a serious allergy should always have quick access to this life-saving medication. Epinephrine dosage varies dependent upon your child's size, so remember to confirm with your doctor that the dose your child is using is appropriate, and that your epinephrine pen is not expired.

Most school districts have Allergy Action Plans filed with the school so that in the unlikely event an allergic reaction happens, the school can react as quickly and accurately as possible. However, it is still important to make sure your child knows how to use their medication if an adult is not available to administer it.

Epinephrine administration should never be delayed. Although Benadryl is often given during an allergic reaction, Benadryl does not save lives - epinephrine does.

When in doubt, give epinephrine, and then seek medical treatment. Even though epinephrine works very well, it will wear off and it is important to be in a safe environment if that happens.

Have a great and safe school year (and ask your kids to grab the white milk - not chocolate)!

Detecting food allergies

Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age three, and up to 3 percent of adults. While there's no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older. If you are concerned that you or your child may have a food allergy, contact a physician.