Texas Schools Required to Have Policies for Food Allergies

State is 15th in nation to create food-allergy guidelines

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    Texas is the latest state to craft guidelines on how to deal with food allergies at school. (Published Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012)

    Texas is the latest state to craft school guidelines for food allergies.

    School districts and charter schools are required to to develop and implement policies to address students with diagnosed food allergies, including staff training. The requirement went into effect Aug. 1.

    "It helps us protect them in case they were to come into contact accidentally with an allergen to which they can have a life-threatening reaction," said Dr. Drew Bird, director of the Food Allergy Center at Children's Medical Center.

    Bird said about 15 percent of children will have their first reaction to a food at school.

    "So it's important not only how to recognize how to treat the reaction for the kids who we know are allergic but for those who have not yet been diagnosed, it's really important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms," he said.

    Dallas mother Cary Smith, whose 9-year-old son is allergic to dairy products, said she has to be aware of what food she prepares to avoid a trip to the hospital.

    Her son Weller has been allergic to all dairy products since he was 8 months old.

    "Once you start introducing things with milk into it, we noticed he would just throw up and have severe reactions to milk," Smith said.

    "Luckily, he's getting older, so he's very aware of what he can and can't have, and he's very cautious, but you just never know," she said.

    Texas is the 15th state in the nation to create food allergy guidelines for schools.