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October 24, 2018

Snack Time Anxiety: Understanding Food Allergies in Your Child’s Class

Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP

Almost 6 million children have food allergies. That’s one in 13 kids, or roughly two in every classroom navigating snack time, birthday treats and lunchroom chaos that involves more than a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  

If you’re a parent struggling to understand what exactly is going on with the food allergies at school, here’s a cheat sheet.

  1. Most people are allergic to some combination of the same 8 foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
  2. Peanut is the most common.
  3. 30 percent of kids are allergic to more than one food.
  4. 40 percent of kids with food allergies have had a severe reaction.
  5. One in three kids are bullied because of their food allergies.
  6. There is no cure—awareness and diligence are the best protections.

If your child does not have a food allergy, it can be tough to understand what’s going on with their classmates. Food allergies are serious business, especially at schools where food oversight is tricky and kids can easily feel left out. The next time you’re in charge of snack, double check your child’s class policy on outside food to avoid putting other kids at risk!