Special Diets: Food Allergies
You’re sending your child off to college in the fall, or perhaps, in the next year or two. If your child has food allergies or is on a special diet, the following information may help you create a good action/ management plan. Having a solid base of knowledge and information will enable your student to enjoy a healthier and safer college experience.
Students should be fully aware of their food allergies or special dietary requirements before leaving for school. Communication, preparation and cooperation are critical elements in managing food allergies.
Open and honest communication with all parties is vital. A trip to the Disabled Student Center to discuss specific needs and challenges is of primary importance. It is also crucial to arrange a meeting or conversation with the Food Services Director and the Health Care Manager at the school. Have your questions ready to ask about food preparation, cross contamination avoidance, additional costs associated with special dietary restrictions and any other allergy related concerns. Alert everyone around you: kitchen staff, teachers, roommates, the resident advisor (R.A), etc., about your allergies and the reactions you have experienced in the past. You should also tell them if you have an epi-pen, where it’s located and teach those closest to you how to use it.
Emergency care preparation is another step toward safety and peace of mind. Prepare an emergency treatment plan (ETP). Find out where the closest hospital and 24-hour pharmacy is in relation to the university. By Barrie Silberberg Research doctors and specialists in the area around the college should additional care become necessary. Program ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers into your cell phone of those people who need to be notified should you have a reaction. You can buy clips or patches to put on purses, backpacks, gym bags, etc., stating there is an epi-pen inside. It is always a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace in instances of life threatening allergies. Make sure all medications are readily available and not expired.
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