Parents, schools can work together to prevent allergic reactions - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Parents, schools can work together to prevent allergic reactions

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NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN (WAOW) -

It's more common than it used to be. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of children suffering from food allergies is up 20 percent since 1997. That's one out of every 25.

A typical school lunch room has students lining up and grabbing some milk. But according to the CDC, that's where 18 percent of children with food allergies will have a reaction, from accidentally eating something they can't have or have been in contact with something their allergic to.

"You want to do what's best for your children and you want to prevent this if you possibly can," Marshfield Clinic Allergist Dr. Marshall Cusic said.

Some doctors say prevention is key. That's exactly what health aids at Stratford Elementary School are trying to do.

"We do have quite a few that have allergies to milk products, so we do offer a lactose milk that they can have as a substitute," Stratford Elementary School Health Aid Kay Leick said.

According to the CDC, milk is one of the eight most common foods children are allergic to. The others are eggs, peanuts, tree nuts like cashews and walnuts, fish, shellfish, soybeans and wheat.

"We're aware of it, we know what the proper care is because sometimes it's as simple as giving a pill afterwards. Other times we may have to do an EpiPen," Leick said.

"We have ways of managing and helping but there's no cure. Part of the management is you stay away from this food," Cusic said.

School leaders and doctors agree. Parents and teachers should be working together to prevent reactions.

"That way we're prepared for it and we know how to handle the situation," Leick said.

Some doctors say many allergies can go away as we get older.

"From a medical standpoint, my objective would be to allow people to treat themselves to live as normal life as they can," Cusic said.

That can be done with a big help from those at school.

Newsline 9 called around to see what other local schools were doing for students with allergies. The Wausau School District says they have several peanut-free tables in cafeterias. Others, like Marshfield Elementary Schools, say they don't serve peanuts at all.

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