Anaphylaxis is a severe, rapidly progressive allergic reaction that is potentially life threatening. The most common allergens in school aged children are peanuts, eggs, tree nuts (e.g. cashews), cow’s milk, fish and shellfish, wheat, soy, sesame and certain insect venom (particularly bee stings).
The key to prevention of anaphylaxis in schools is knowledge of the student who has been diagnosed as at risk, awareness of allergens, and prevention of exposure to those allergens. Partnerships between schools and parents/guardians are important in helping the student avoid exposure.
Adrenaline given through an adrenaline auto-injector (such as an EpiPen® or Anapen®) into the muscle of the outer mid-thigh is the most effective first aid treatment for anaphylaxis.
- To provide, as far as practicable, a safe and supportive environment in which students at risk of anaphylaxis can participate equally in all aspects of their schooling.
- To raise awareness about anaphylaxis and the school’s anaphylaxis management policy in the school community.
- To engage with parents/guardians of each student at risk of anaphylaxis in assessing risks and developing risk minimisation strategies for the student.
- To ensure that staff have knowledge about allergies, anaphylaxis and the school’s guidelines and procedures in responding to an anaphylactic reaction.
Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plans
An Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plan needs be to developed in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians, for any student who has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner as being at risk of anaphylaxis.
The Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plan will be in place as soon as practicable after the student is enrolled and where possible before their first day of school.
The student’s Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plan will be reviewed, in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians:
- annually, and as applicable;
- if the student’s condition changes;
- immediately after the student has had an anaphylactic reaction.
It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to:
- provide an ASCIA Action Plan completed by the child’s medical practitioner with a current photo;
- inform the school if their child’s medical condition changes, and if relevant provide an updated ASCIA Action Plan.
The principal (or delegate) will be responsible for providing information to all staff, students and parents/guardians about anaphylaxis and development of the school’s anaphylaxis management strategies.
Casual relief staff are informed of the policy and where to access information about students on Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plans.
Staff training and emergency response
Teachers and other school staff, who have contact with the student at risk of anaphylaxis, are provided training in anaphylaxis management including how to respond in an emergency.
Wherever possible, training will take place at the start of each school year.
The school’s first aid procedures and student’s ASCIA Action Plan will be followed when responding to an anaphylactic reaction.
The key to prevention of anaphylaxis is the identification of allergens and prevention of exposure to them. The school can employ a range of practical prevention strategies to minimise exposure to known allergens. The table over the page provides examples of risk minimisation strategies.
Responsibilities of Parents/guardians of the student at risk of anaphylaxis
Parents/guardians of a student at risk of anaphylaxis are encouraged to assist schools in providing a safe environment for their child.
- Inform the school, either at enrolment or diagnosis, of their child’s allergies and whether their child has been diagnosed as being at risk of anaphylaxis (e.g. provide an ASCIA Action Plan completed by their child’s medical practitioner).
- Meet with the school staff to develop their child’s Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plan. It should include an ASCIA Action Plan completed by their child’s medical practitioner.
- Inform school staff of all other relevant information and concerns relating to the health of their child.
- Provide the adrenaline auto-injector and any other medications to the school.
- Replace the adrenaline auto-injector and any other medications before the expiry date. It may be advisable to check expiry dates at the start of each term.
- Alert staff to the additional risks associated with non-routine events and assist in planning and preparation for the student prior to school camps, field trips, in school activities, excursions or special events such as class parties or sport days.
- For children with food allergy:
|1.||supply alternative food options for their child when needed.|
|2.||educate their child about only eating food provided from home. It is important to reinforce that their child should not share food with other students.|
|3.||educate their child (for older children) about the responsibility of carrying their own adrenaline auto-injector and the need to have their medication available at all times.|
- Inform staff of any changes to their child’s emergency contact details.
- Participate in annual reviews of their child’s Individual Anaphylaxis Health Care Plan.
- Provide the school with an immediate update if there is a change to their child’s condition.
- Those students diagnosed with anaphylaxis are to have their prescribed adrenaline auto-injector available at all times as well as an antihistamine on their person.
- Check packaging of items sold in school cafe and avoid items with traces of nuts.
- Inform relevant teachers of any allergies should cooking of foods be part of the curriculum.
- Inform staff and all other persons having contact with students about the students at risk through the Red Medical File and on SIS.
- Provide initial training to all staff on the use of the adrenaline auto-injector and first aid via e-learning on DOE website.
- Have adrenaline auto-injectors for emergency use included in the first aid kits located around the school, including the Administration area, Phys Ed, Library, Student Services, Home Economics, Science blocks, English-Languages Building, Performing Arts Centre and Health Centre.
- Arrange for the staff responsible for first aid and any additional staff who are willing to be trained, to participate in the Anaphylaxis Training Program via the e-learning DOE website.
- Report any anaphylactic response as a medical emergency through the Department’s online incident reporting system.
- Community Health Nurse is available to answer any questions and to run through the administration of the auto injector on an annual basis.
If a child has a severe allergic reaction, staff should immediately follow the first aid action plan for Anaphylaxis, locate and administer first aid through the adrenaline auto-injector. Phone for an Ambulance, contact the family and nurse if available. If in doubt, use the Epipen – don’t wait for the nurse.