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CDC Guidelines Could Help Schools Fight Food Allergies

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a step forward this afternoon in the fight against childhood food allergies. They issued the first ever national guidelines to help schools assist families dealing with the problem.

By 2006, the CDC reported that 88 percent of schools had one or more students with a food allergy.
The most common allergies are to peanuts then milk and shellfish. Some students need to carry an epinephrine or epi pen with them to prevent a life-threatening allergic reaction.

In the new guidelines the CDC suggested that schools identify students with food allergies and make a plan to prevent exposure and manage reactions if they occur. That could include training teachers how to use medicines like epi pens. Yet, while preventative measures can help, 25 percent of children experience their first allergic reaction at school without a prior diagnosis. But, one local allergist said that's not as common in Cedar Rapids.

"I do think the schools in this area have done a great job having people do food allergy action plans so that they have persons on hand to treat reactions. They have a plan of action as to who/when they will give medications, Allergist and Immunologist Holly Brown of Allergy Partners of Cedar Rapids said.

The Cedar Rapids School District also doesn't serve peanuts in food at all. CBS2/FOX28 reached out to several local school districts some of whom say they are just starting to sift through the guidelines to figure out how the guidelines can assist their district in fighting food allergies.

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