If you run children’s programs or activities in your church it’s important to be aware of any kids in your care who suffer from serious allergic conditions, and to also have procedures in place for dealing with severe reactions that occur. While in many cases allergies are not serious, in some instances the reactions can be severe enough to be life-threatening and require fast medical intervention.
What substances can cause allergic reactions?
Generally the following may cause problems for some individuals:
- Foods – dairy, eggs, nuts, fish, soy products and sesame seeds.
- Insects – dust mites and bites or stings from ants, bees, wasps or ticks.
- Plants – pollen from plants and grasses.
- Animals – dander from cats, dogs or other animals.
- Other – mould spores, chemical products, perfumes, and some medications.
What sort of reactions can occur?
Allergic reactions can range from mild to very severe. They may include sneezing, itchy eyes or mouth, runny nose, wheezing and coughing, asthma, headaches, and rashes. In very severe cases the allergic person might go into anaphylactic shock – a condition that can result in swelling of the face, tongue and throat, difficulty breathing and talking, vomiting, a drop in blood-pressure, and loss of consciousness. Around one in 200 individuals are affected by this condition. It can also be life-threatening if left untreated. It’s important that staff members and volunteers caring for children know how to administer treatments for anaphylaxis.
What is the treatment?
Anaphylaxis has no known cure, and must be treated quickly with adrenaline. This can be done by trained personnel through use of an EpiPen which is injected into the thigh of the patient. It’s also important that church leaders and childcare workers do all they can to prevent a reaction occurring in the first place – by carefully avoiding exposure to allergens. This may for example involve banning certain food substances from kids’ activities such as peanuts.
You can also read more posts on child safety in churches and faith organisations here.
Written by Tess OliverTags: children, food safety