A recent survey sponsored by Mylan Specialty indicated that as
many as one in three parents report their children with
life-threatening allergies have experienced anaphylaxis on Valentine’s
Day. This scary statistic underlines the importance of talking to kids before this Thursday's holiday.
Pre-School and Elementary-Age Children- Parents should talk to teachers and staff early this week about special events planned to celebrate Valentine's Day. From classroom parties and crafts, to food sent in for school parties, peanuts, tree nuts, chocolate and baked goods may be prominently featured. Remind young children about your food allergy rules (no eating anything unless it's been approved, checking with a safe adult if unsure, etc.) and make sure they are aware that Valentine's Day may mean that things are different at school this Thursday. Consider role-playing as a way to help them feel comfortable dealing with specific situations. Teens and Young Adults- While classroom parties may be less of an issue at the middle school and high school levels, there are important reminders for this group too. Sometimes friends exchange Valentine treats and it may be tempting for a young person to "try a bit". This age group is particularly susceptible to food allergy emergencies because they want to fit in...they don't want to feel different. Again, talk to them before Thursday about your food allergy rules (no eating anything unless the label has been checked, carrying their medicine at all times, etc.).