Michelle Prescott, RN, BSN, NCSN, School Nurse & PTA Member
Ever since its inception, the National PTA has provided an unwavering voice for the health and safety of our country’s children. From the 1899 convention resolution calling for “the establishment of a National Health Bureau,” to the 1925 Summer Round Up programs and the field testing of the Salk polio vaccine in the 1950s, PTA leaders have strived to seek relevant solutions for the challenging health issues of their day.
As a school nurse, I have observed the recent significant increase in the incidence of life-threatening allergies. Many of my students with severe allergies also suffer from asthma, which puts them at an even greater risk for an anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction resulting from exposure to allergens. Fortunately, an accurate assessment and quick administration of an epinephrine auto injector can often reverse a potentially fatal progression of symptoms. The Food Allergy Research and Education Foundation (FARE) has many resources available to manage food allergies in school on their website.
National PTA has been actively involved in educating its members about the dangers of life-threatening allergies, passing a resolution at 2009 annual convention, titled “Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management in Schools.” One of the resolved clauses states, “That National PTA and its constituent organizations encourage parents and guardians to inform their school, child care providers, and group activity leaders of their children’s existing food allergies.”
To continue the implementation of its resolution, the National PTA filmed a series of public service announcements to keep students with severe allergies safe at school. These films were supported with funds provided by Pfizer. I participated in the first of the three-part video series release this October. You can view the video below as I discuss ways to empower parents to partner with schools on education and emergency response. I hope that you will find this latest PTA resource helpful and share its important information with your families.