Allergies and asthma are on the rise
There’s no doubt that allergies and asthma are on the rise. Asthma is currently the most common chronic medical condition in children in the UK (1) and since the 1990s diagnoses of allergies in children have trebled (2). There is a higher prevalence of food allergies amongst children in the UK than in any other developed country (3), and children with both asthma and allergies are at greater risk of developing more serious or anaphylactic reactions (4). One fifth of these serious allergic reactions take place at school, and these reactions can also occur in children with no previous history of a known allergy (5).
Schools shoulder the responsibility of ensuring staff are confidently trained to prevent and manage these events. Schools also have a statutory duty to raise awareness of asthma and allergies amongst their wider school community, and promote inclusion and independence of affected pupils (6).
2. Not organising whole school staff training in asthma, anaphylaxis and allergy awareness
Any member of staff who interacts with pupils should be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of an asthma attack or allergic reaction and know what action to take.
There is no way of knowing when or where an allergic reaction or an asthma attack will occur, and no time to call for a ‘trained’ member of staff. Anaphylaxis progresses rapidly, and staff have several minutes to respond. All staff must be confident in recognising and responding to these events.
3. Not keeping up-to-date with current advice
Evidence-based training is rapidly developing to address new findings. Keeping up-to-date means being aware of new recommendations and this is challenging for school leadership teams who have multiple other responsibilities.
For example, new evidence suggests that the practice of banning foods (such as nuts and proclaiming to be a ‘Nut-Free School’) does not help reduce the risk of accidental exposure. Food-bans are now thought to be more dangerous as a false sense of security is created within the school, and staff can fall into complacency.
If you would like to see how your school is performing in managing pupils with asthma and allergies and meeting statutory requirements, take the scorecard now and answer just 20 questions to receive personalised results!
Alternatively, if you would like to discuss improving support and raising allergy and asthma awareness for your school, please contact us on 020 8720 6635 or email us at email@example.com.
The Author has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this article. The Author does not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.
It is strongly advised that all school staff attend Asthma, Anaphylaxis and Allergy Awareness training to understand what to do in a medical emergency.
TEACH run specific courses covering in detail how to support pupils with asthma and allergies. Our team are highly experienced specialist nurses who will tailor the training to your needs.
Please visit www.teachealth.co.uk, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 020 8720 6635 for more information about our courses.