NSW public schools work to ensure students at risk of anaphylaxis are safe at all times during the school day but they rely on parents, carers and students themselves to help them do so.
What if my child is at risk?
Anaphylaxis is best managed in partnership between the school, parents and carers, students and doctors.
If you believe your child may be at risk:
- See your doctor immediately. If diagnosis is confirmed, ask for an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis. (Australiasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Action Plan.) The plan needs to be specific to your child and the autoinjector they are prescribed and is completed and signed by the child's treating medical or nurse practitioner.
- Advise your school principal or deputy as soon as you become aware of your child’s condition, or when you first enrol them. It is your responsibility to do this. Schools have no way of knowing in advance who is at risk.
- Inform the school of any other needs, including medical, disability, learning or behaviour difficulties which may affect management of anaphylaxis.
- Provide an autoinjector to the school for emergencies (including replacements when it expires or is used) together with a copy of the ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis.
- Plans are updated every time a new autoinjector is prescribed, approximately every 12-18 months. Provide a copy of the updated plan and the new autoinjector each time.
- Provide necessary requests or permissions for school staff to administer medication as needed.
- Advise the school of any severe reactions that occur at home, or other relevant medical developments.
What happens next?
Once the school is aware your child is at risk, staff will:
- Develop an emergency response plan, informed by the ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis which you provide. They will store the latter in an accessible place on the school grounds, together with the autoinjector you provide for staff to use in an emergency.
- Develop an individual health care plan for your child, outlining measures they have been identified to minimise the risk of your child’s exposure to allergens. This will occur in consultation with you and, where possible, your child, taking into account the school environment and any relevant learning and support needs.
- Take steps to educate both your child and their classmates about potential dangers.
Maintain contact with the school to ensure they develop and implement safety measures for your child.
You should also take time to discuss what to do in an emergency with your child and reinforce the safety messages they and their classmates will receive as part of their individual health care plan.
It’s a good idea to maintain contact throughout your child’s time at the school and ensure staff are informed of any developments.