If you have a child who is allergic to bee stings, sending him or her to school or daycare can be a stressful experience. You might wonder whether the staff will take the precautions necessary to help your child avoid getting stung, and also whether they know how to use the rescue medications properly. Open communication with your child's teacher or daycare provider can help ease your worries. Read through this checklist to feel as comfortable as possible with the person who will be caring for your child in your absence.
See Your Child's Allergist
In order to dispense medication, most schools require that you have a recent prescription and medical order for your child. Even if the allergy was diagnosed years ago, you might need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your child's allergist to be sure that you have the correct medication and dosage of any rescue medication to give to the school or daycare center. In addition, the allergist might want to run allergy testing again; in some cases, children can outgrow bee sting allergies.
Schedule a Meeting With School Staff
If there is a nurse at your child's school or daycare, he or she will already know how to recognize the signs of a severe allergic reaction and how to administer antihistamines and injectable epinephrine, if necessary. In some cases, however, schools hire a nursing assistant or they don't have a nurse on staff every day. Also, your child's teacher might be unfamiliar with the information that is necessary to keep your child healthy.
Prepare a handout with the signs of an anaphylactic reaction. These include swelling, hives, itching or swelling around the nose or mouth, tingling or itching in the throat, difficulty swallowing or breathing, vomiting and diarrhea. If your child has had a reaction in the past, tell the staff what that reaction was, but stress that symptoms can change with subsequent exposures.
Also, demonstrate how to use the injectable epinephrine, if your child needs this. Your kit should have come with a tester so you can show someone how to use it. If yours did not, ask your allergist or pediatrician if you can borrow one to show the school staff what to do. Let the staff know that if the epinephrine needs to be used, they should call for an ambulance first and you second.
Reduce the Chance of a Sting
As the saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." While it's vital for your school's staff to know how to respond in the event of a sting, it's just as important for them to know how to keep your child safe from bees in the first place. Make sure that they insist that kids keep their shoes on while outdoors to avoid the chance of your child stepping on a bee. Also, find out how they control hives or nests that bees might build around the school entrances or near the playground. You can ask that celebrations involving food be kept indoors to reduce the likelihood of bees gathering where the children are.
Let the school know that you'll do your part, too. Avoid scented lotions and shampoos, and don't dress your child in bright clothing, particularly on warm days when you know that the kids will probably be playing outdoors. Also, instruct your child not to swat at or otherwise bother bees. Most of the time, they will fly by and not bother anyone.
In time, your child will be old enough to carry his or her own medication. In the meantime, you need to depend on his daycare providers or school teachers to keep him or her safe. Open communication will allow them to do their jobs while allowing you to have some peace of mind that in the event of a bee sting, the professionals entrusted with the care of your child will know what to do. For more information, go to sites like http://www.oakbrookallergists.com.