Teaching Our Kids About Food Allergies – Free Food Allergy Posters


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Avoiding allergen is key to preventing allergic reactions. Know the different routes of exposure (mouth, skin, and respiratory, also nose and eyes). Label reading, avoiding hidden ingredients and preventing cross-contact are key to avoiding allergic reactions. For more information, see our prevention teaching module.
Label reading is the building block to avoiding food allergen. Make label reading a part of what you always do and involve kids in developmentally appropriate ways. Anyone responsible for serving food to a person with food allergy needs to be knowledgeable about the labeling laws and their pitfalls. If there is an item that does not have a label it is safest to avoid eating it. This issue often comes up with outside foods and baked items which can be a source of hidden allergens and a risk for people with food allergies. For younger ones let them know that a grown-up needs to read the label and OK what they eat. As they start reading they can practice label reading with you, and by the time they are older and may be responsible it is old hat. “If you (or a trusted grown-up) can’t read it then don’t eat it.”

CROSS CONTACT Cross contact is the presence of unintended food allergen. Exposure to an allergen by cross contact is a common cause of allergic reactions. Cross contact of food allergen can occur from contact with surfaces, other foods, and with transfer of saliva. If a person is then exposed to these allergens, especially by mouth, it may be enough of an exposure to cause a serious allergic reaction. Keep in mind that allergens can withstand heating and drying and exposure to small amounts of allergen is enough to result in anaphylaxis. Saliva, whether from a person or a pet can contain allergens and therefore can be a source of cross contact. For this reason sharing of anything that goes in the mouth can become a source. If students have contact with pets, keep in mind that pet food can contain allergens. Preventing cross contact with cleaning is important. Establish a cleaning protocol to avoid cross contact.


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