WINNIPEG – The first day of school can be a nervous one for many students and parents. But parents of children with severe food allergies worry more at lunch time.
“It can be quite overwhelming to think about all the possibilities, as any parent would. But I have this whole other suitcase of fears that I carry with me.”
Tanya Henry’s son James, 5, is severely allergic to peanuts, pineapple and shellfish.
“Sometimes I just want to wrap him up in a bubble and keep him safe and never let him out of the house,” she said.
Allergist Elinor Simons says even though it can make grocery shopping more difficult, it’s important to keep the allergen out of the classroom.
Even an invisible amount can be life-threatening, and allergic reactions are scary for everyone involved.
“Both for the child that’s experiencing the reaction, but also for their peers. So it’s to everyone’s advantage to not have a situation like that in the classroom.”
She says it’s also a good experience to teach other students about allergies and how they can help their friends with them.