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PTO News February 2012

UPCOMING PTO EVENTS

Mark your calendars!

  • Faculty/Parent Ball-Gown-Optional Ball February 10

at Hathaway’s Hideaway 6-8PM

  • Honey Creek Annual Talent Show Thursday March 29

 

Food Allergy Awareness

Imagine a long table filled with food at one of our Honey Creek Potlucks.  Did you know that for some members of our community, instead of looking like the start of a great meal, that table may look more like a food allergen danger zone for themselves or their children?  Please read the following informational article written by our own Karen Andrews and learn a little more about this important issue so that we can all stop and think before preparing a dish for a potluck or a sweet treat for a bake sale.

 

Food Allergies in the Honey Creek Community

     As many as 15 million Americans have a food allergy, including approximately 6 million children. At Honey Creek, we believe the number to be over 25 children affected by food allergies.  The most common allergy-causing foods are peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, etc.), milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy. Recent studies showed that 3.3 million Americans are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts.

 

What are some of the symptoms of a food allergy?

     The most common symptom of a food-allergy reaction is hives. Other symptoms can include one or more of the following:

·   tingling in the mouth

·   swelling of the tongue and throat

·   difficulty breathing

·   stomach cramps

·   vomiting

·   diarrhea

·   eczema

 

Some symptoms or reactions can be life threatening, and repeated exposure to allergens can actually increase the severity of the response.  This is why it is critical to raise awareness to eliminate accidental exposures, and your help is needed.

A lot of kids have questions about food allergies.  It’s great that they want to help their classmates and friends who must always be vigilant about the food they consume.  http://fankids.org/ is a great website designed for kids to understand food allergies and how to be a “PAL” of a child that has an allergy.

A good “PAL” to a child with allergies:

·   Knows what foods need to be avoided.

·   Does not eat the food classmates are allergic to when kids are together.

·   Asks questions about what is in food because the allergen foods can be found in unexpected places.

·   Always washes his or her hands and keeps the eating area clean.

·   Doesn’t tease or call names because someone has a food allergy.

·   Doesn’t try to get kids to eat foods they shouldn’t.

·   Knows the symptoms of a reaction and how to get help.

 

As parents, it’s also important for us to be aware of the needs of the children in the HoneyCreek community to ensure inadvertent exposures do not occur.  Some ways you can help:

·   Know what restrictions may exist in your child’s classroom.

·   Ask questions of the parent of the child with allergies to understand the specifics.

·   Read labels to ensure you understand what ingredients are actually in the food or snacks you’re sending to school.

·   Take extra care when bringing in class treats to understand the needs of the classroom.

·   At school events, like Bake Sales, avoid nuts as an ingredient, and if you must include them, wrap each item separately and CLEARLY label the items as including nuts.

·   If you are volunteering at a school event where food is served, accept that you must understand all ingredients in the food to accurately answer questions for kids who will inquire about possible allergen ingredients.

Parents of kids with allergies will be profoundly grateful for your help in these simple ways; it can be very scary to send your allergic child off to an uncontrolled environment.  What I have found out is that my child’s classmates are her biggest advocates and a little education and awareness goes a long way!

 

Thank you for reading this piece and for your willingness to become more aware.

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