Student Allergies: What we Should be Doing

Student Allergies: What we Should be Doing

JJ Brough

Everyday the amount of people with food and pollen allergies increase. Because of this, the question rises, how should we deal with it as a community, how should we deal with it as individuals, and how should the schools deal with it?

Schools across the world have had different ways of dealing with this, ranging from indifference to strict guidelines. Food places ranging from restaurants to food distributors have, up until this point, left it up to the ingredients label to have those who can and can not eat certain things find options for their individual needs. Its considered cruel to think we should just let them deal with it, but it’s also unrealistic to some to think that we should cater to every single persons problems.

For context, an allergy is someones immune systems reaction to a substance it doesn’t recognize which would includes but is not limited to pollen, fur, particular foods, dust, and medications. Many students have to deal with this on a daily basis, the main thing that the school would have to worry about would be the food allergies in what they serve and what is brought onto school grounds.

As the numbers increase, food needs to be treated more delicately. Gone are the days where cross-contamination is alright, because it can lead to someone becoming sick or suffering an even worse fate. The question comes down to, how should the school should deal with this? Should the school leave it to a student to get access to food they can have and leave the issue alone, or should they facilitate how things are handled in the cafeteria and in classrooms? On that note, how can they enforce rules like this on an individual basis?

Fortunately, for most, food allergies aren’t as severe as many would have you believe. Due to that fact, we don’t have to worry about proximity of food to those affected and tracking student lunches only to have to find a way for school lunches to be offered for them. Ideally, we should be able to facilitate things so that anyone can get the food they need, but every individual person is different. There will always be one person with an allergy that conflicts with our current food system or how we conduct ourselves.

It comes down to what our solution should be. Ideally we should get the school cafeteria to carry hypoallergenic foods that are separated from other foods. There are options in the school but not a large amount of options. Other than that, what is currently in place works, students tell teachers that need to know and make sure that it is taken care of in the best way possible. What is needed is more student and staff awareness, if you have friends with allergies, just be mindful and we can make the school a better place.