About this resourceAllergy to peanuts is one of the most common as well as one of the most dangerous food allergies. Those who care for children can help keep them safe by recognizing the symptoms of food allergies and protecting those children vulnerable to them.
Suspect a peanut allergy if a child who has eaten or been exposed to peanuts reacts with any of the following:
- Hives, redness, swelling
- Itching in mouth and throat
- Diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting
- Tightness in chest, shortness of breath, or wheezing
- Runny or stuffy nose
Take precautions if you take care of a child who is allergic to peanuts:
- Avoid using peanuts or foods containing them.
- Read labels carefully to avoid products containing peanuts or those processed where peanuts were processed.
- Avoid exposing the child to products containing peanuts, such as peanut flour or oil.
- Make sure that children or adults who handle or eat a peanut product wash both their hands and the surface on which it was prepared or eaten.
Recognize anaphylaxis, a life-threatening emergency, if a child experiences the following:
- Swollen throat making it hard to breathe
- Rapid or weak pulse
- Dizziness, loss of consciousness, confusion, or anxiety
What can a teacher do?
- Talk to the child’s parents about having a child tested if she has any symptoms following eating peanuts or peanut products.
- Suggest that the child wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet.
- Teach the child to eat only foods given to him by a trusted adult. Sharing a friend’s treat can be dangerous to a child who is allergic to peanuts.
- Role play with the child so he knows to ask for immediate help if he has a reaction.
- Work with all adults who interact with a child who is allergic to peanuts to be sure they are aware that he is allergic and that a reaction can be life threatening.
- Be sure that necessary written agreements and consents for health care and treatment, including emergency first aid, are on file and up-to-date.
- Arrange to have an epinephrine injector, if prescribed by her doctor, always available and staff trained to know when and how to use it.
- Contact a health care professional for more information.