Thursday, September 16, 2010
Back to school with allergies
I'm lucky that my kids' elementary school is a nut-free school, so I don't have the same number of worries as so many other allergic parents. My allergic kid still carries an epipen in his backpack, but the risk of encountering peanut oil on a door handle or water fountain is so much reduced that it's just not the same level of risk for us.
Every school newsletter has come with a large peanut/nut allergy warning, and there are "nut-free zone" posters scattered all around the school.
He also has two teachers this year, one on Mondays and the other for the rest of the week. I've chatted with both of them, and they're comfortable with dealing with his allergies. In fact, the Monday teacher also has a peanut-allergic daughter who's the same age. And scarily enough, she also has had to use her daughter's epipen on her, when her daughter had some fruit from a tray which had somehow been contaminated with peanuts.
The biggest change that I've made this year is to Andrew's lunch. Last year, I refused to send him to school with peabutter sandwiches, because I was worried that the teachers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between peabutter and peanut butter sandwiches, and then other kids would bring in peanut butter sandwiches and claim that they're peabutter. But after a brief conversation with the teacher, and an assurance that most parents are now hyper-aware that they can't send peanut butter to school, I've broken my own rule and let him take peabutter sandwiches to school.
The yucky part -- he also wanted some dairy-free cheese slices to take to school for snacktime. What I didn't realize until I opened up his lunch bag that afternoon: he put the cheese into the peabutter sandwiches, which were in blueberry bagels. Blech! (On the bright side: at least there wasn't any ketchup involved.)