Distribution of the multi-media School Food Allergy Program (SFAP) is entirely funded by a private donor, and allows FAAN to make the program available free to New Jersey's 2,400 public schools. The initiative makes Garden State the second state to provide free educational materials to educators. A similar program was launched in Illnois last year.
"Studies show that school settings can be risky for children with food allergies because food allergens appear not just in school cafeterias, but through classroom celebrations, crafts, and math or science projects," said Anne Munoz-Furlong, FAAN founder and ceo. "The School Food Allergy Program helps schools develop and implement strategies to minimize the risk of a reaction and safely manage children with food allergies in the school setting. We are confident that these training programs help prevent allergic reactions and save lives."
Food allergy is a public health concern amongst children today. According to a survey taken of 400 school nurses, 94% of those school nurses have at least one student with a potentially life-threatening food allergy, according to the Journal of School Nursing. According to the same survey, the average public school in the U.S. currently has ten students with food allergy.
Nearly 12 million Americans have food allergies and approximately 3 million children under the age of 18, or one in 25, are affected. Twenty-five percent of first-time reactions occur in schools, according to national statistics. Since there is no cure for food allergies, it is essential for all schools to have an action plan in place for managing food allergies and anaphylaxis.
The School Food Allergy Program was created to provide schools with comprehensive information on food allergies and anaphylaxis, along with training materials to help school nurses, food service personnel, teachers, and administrators safely manage students who might experience a reaction while at school. The program can be ordered at no cost by principals, school nurses, or administrators. FAAN members can also nominate their schools (elementary, intermediate, and high schools) to receive a special edition of the School Food Allergy Program.
The School Food Allergy Program includes a training video, an EpiPen(R) trainer, Twinject(TM) trainer, two posters, and a binder filled with more than 100 pages of information and standardized forms. The program was endorsed by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the Anaphylaxis Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the Executive Committee of the Section on Allergy and Immunology of the American Academy of Pediatrics. DSRs who call on school foodservice directors can order a copy of the School Food Allergy Program, by visiting www.foodallergy.org.