News / 

Contact Your School Nurse And Scan Menus to Help Your Child Thrive Despite Allergies

Save Story

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Feeding a child who has food allergies can be stressful for parents, especially those who are sending a young one off to school for the first time.

"I knew I had control of what was offered at home, but I worried about what might be offered in the school cafeteria, as well as in the classroom," said Peggy Lipinski of Hermantown, Minn., whose son Steve had multiple food allergies as a child. "It's hard when your child has to avoid something that is included in a lot of 'fun' foods, or has to avoid something such as peanuts, that can be a hidden ingredient in many items."

According to the Food Allergy Network, over six million Americans, many of them children, have food allergies. Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions: peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans), milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.

Children will frequently outgrow an allergy to eggs, milk and soy, while allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish usually continue into adulthood.

"In order to successfully manage food allergies at school, everyone must work together," said Pamela Bowe, registered dietitian and area supervisor of the Child Nutrition Program for the Duluth (Minn.) Public Schools. "Our action plan for children with allergies encompasses the entire school, from administration to school nurse to teachers to cafeteria staff to bus drivers."

In the Duluth School System, parents who want to inform the school of special dietary needs should contact the school nurse. The nurse will make sure documentation is in place, necessary adjustments are made and that the information is shared with all school personnel.

Bowe emphasized the importance of working with parents. "I encourage parents to review menus and product labels with our cafeteria managers," she said. "Whatever the special dietary situation, we want to work together with the parents and the child, so that each child has a positive experience with school lunch."



Bowe recommended the following resources:

-The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN):

This organization publishes and distributes pamphlets, food lists, cookbooks, videos, and other materials to make raising a child with food allergies a little easier. You'll find tips for managing food allergies in several school situations, including the cafeteria, the school bus, and field trips.

-American Academy ofAllergy Asthma and Imm-unology (AAAAI)

The AAAAI has an extensive library of information, including pamphlets, food lists, newsletters, and e-headlines to help consumers learn more about allergic disease. The Hot Topics section provides summaries about newsworthy items. One example: new research suggests that there is an increased chance of outgrowing peanut allergy.

-American Academy of Family Physicians:

This website offers health information for the entire family. All of the information is written and reviewed by physicians and patient professionals and is regularly updated.


(Marsha Erickson is a registered dietitian at Miller-Dwan Medical Center in Duluth, Minn. Have a question about nutrition? Write to her c/o The Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St., Duluth, Minn. 55802 or e-mail her at


(c) 2003, Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, Minn.). Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast