Allergies in School

Allergies+in+School

By Nick Matta

Allergies today are becoming more and more common among the people here in the U.S. According to the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), allergies are increasing and currently affect 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Allergies, including asthma, is the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. in people of all ages, and third for children under 18. So how do allergies really affect students in school you might ask? Well, nearly 6 million children in the U.S. have food allergies. that’s roughly two students in every classroom according to FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education).

Senior Connor Dixon lives with a peanut allergy, an allergy that has tripled in affected children since 1997. Among his other allergies, Dixon copes with his peanut one like a pro saying, “[My life] hasn’t been changed much [with a peanut allergy], but going out to eat is the primary problem.” Dixon explains that he tends to avoid certain types of cuisine such as Thai, which is known for nuts.

When asked about a traumatic allergy story of any type in school, Dixon said thankfully he has had none, “I’m pretty cautious [with food]”.

This however isn’t the case for many kids in school. Studies from FARE have shown that 16-18 percent of kids with food allergies have had a reaction in school. This of course raises the question whether or not schools are doing enough to protect kids, especially younger ones, from falling victim to allergic reactions. It is important for schools to be careful of things such as cross contamination in cafeterias and special accommodations in classrooms and transportation.

When asked about his feelings on his nut allergy, Dixon said, “Thankfully the allergy is pretty common, so most people and restaurants know how to deal with [and be careful with peanuts]. I think it’s better to be allergic to nuts than to be allergic to food that is more ubiquitous.”