Kids with allergies? What you need to know before they head back to school

Published: August 16, 2018 7:11 AM EDT

As children across the country start to head back to school, doctors are reminding parents of kids with allergies that there are some important things to keep in mind.

The American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology says that from kindergarten to college, being prepared is critical. For elementary school children, parents need to step in and be an advocate.

In addition to speaking to teachers and a school’s administration, parents can take small measures like having a child bring a placemat to school and discussing the importance of hand hygiene, said allergist Dr. Alissa Hersh.

She said that middle and high school students need to learn to watch out for themselves.

“The highest incidence of accidental exposures happen in those teenage years and can have worse outcomes,” Hersh said.

What’s more: many of these students don’t always carry their EpiPens.

Children with allergies or asthma should have an emergency action plan outlines, as well as their EpiPen twin pack at school.

Hersh also recommends that children with allergies and asthma wear medical alert bracelets with their name, age and allergies listed in case of an emergency.

The Schulmans know how important it is to be ready. With two children who have food allergies, the end of summer means getting ready for back-to-school now.

“Before school starts, I always make sure to get in touch with my child’s teacher,” Alana Schulman told CBS News.

Her 8-year-old son, Oliver, is allergic to sesame, and Davis, who is 3, just had an anaphylactic reaction to nuts. Alana had to use an EpiPen in that case, and call 911.

“I think because we had this experience so recently, I also regained my sense of vigilance,” Schulman said.

Oliver does his part, too. “I read all the labels all the time,” he said.

He also makes sure his friends and teachers know about his allergies, since having everyone at school on the same page could be life-saving. “If they don’t know, I always tell them,” he said.