Texas Food Allergy Guidelines: New rules to make kids safer in school

May 23, 2012 - CW33 News | Barry Carpenter

Nancy Dedman has to be careful around food after being diagnosed with food allergies.

Her mom Rachael knows all too well the scary warning signs when Nancy accidentally ingests an ingredient on her no-no list.

"She starts to turn bluish gray,” Rachael said. “In our experience, and has difficulty breathing so she goes into full anaphylaxis shock."

Dr. Drew Bird is the director of the Food Allergy Center at Children's Medical Center Dallas.

Dr. Bird said Nancy isn't alone--in fact studies estimate that 2 kids in every classroom have some form of food allergy.

He helped craft the new guidelines which mandates training for school staff on food allergies, epinephrine needs to be available in an unlocked location and for each school to develop a food allergy team.

"Now the guidelines apply specifically to life threatening food allergies,” Dr. Bird said. “I think that we're seeing in the past decade, we've certainly seen an increased prevalence of those, and we don't know exactly why they're increasing in prevalence but it’s something that is very serious."

There is one thing you'll never find in Nancy's home and that is anything to do with nuts--including peanuts."

Nancy takes her EpiPen everywhere--just in case.

Rachael joined forces with other parents in Houston and Austin to push for statewide guidelines. She said some studies show that kids with food anxieties at school often have lower grades--but that's just icing on the cake with the main ingredient being a safer environment for kids.

"I definitely think a lot of parents with food allergic children will be breathing easier next fall knowing that their teachers have been trained in what to look for in an allergic reaction and how to respond if one does occur on campus," Rachael said.

Hopefully Nancy will never need her handy EpiPen.


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