Winter 2014 Health Link Online

HealthLink Online

Uniting Children, Parents, Caregivers, and Health Professionals

Food Allergies and Asthma

Food Allergies and Asthma

Many children and adults have asthma. Up to 90% of children with asthma have allergies also. Wheezing, irritation of eyes and noses may be an allergic response to substances like pollens, animal dander, or dust mites. Nearly a quarter of children with asthma have food allergies too. Early education and child care providers must be prepared to respond to a situation that involves a severe allergic reaction. Without prompt administration of an appropriate medication, someone with an allergic reaction may die. 

Giving life-saving medications often requires use of a medical device. Be sure to get instruction from a health professional about how and when to use them. Breathing emergencies may require use of an inhaled medication. When a food allergy causes breathing problems, swelling of lips, tongue or skin bumps, an immediate injection of epinephrine is needed.

Plan ahead. Be sure everyone who might be with someone who is known to have asthma or allergies has received instruction from a health professional about what to do.

A child’s parent may know what to do. However, few parents are skilled educators of others about the proper techniques. They may omit essential steps from their instructions or may not be using the correct technique themselves. The instruction should include having the person who might have to use emergency medication show a health professional how to do it correctly.

Each staff member and child who has had allergy and/ or asthma symptoms should have a current and easily accessed Allergy or Asthma Action Plan. Ask that the person’s health professional update this plan at each health care visit.

Use the newly updated, fully online ECELS Self-Learning Module about Asthma. It includes an Asthma Action Plan form and illustrated instructions about how to use inhaled medications. This self-learning module earns 2 hours of PA Keys credit. It includes watching a video, reviewing print material and completing a self-assessment.

Be sure that each person with a known food allergy has an emergency care plan too. The Food Allergy Research and Education organization (FARE) has a form on their website that was updated 8/2013. For the form, go to: