August 28, 2009

School lunch can cause allergic reaction

Canadian health officials are asking parents of children heading back to school to be allergy aware when packing school lunches.

Parents need to understand severe allergic reactions can occur quickly and contact with a food can become life threatening for some allergic children, said officials at Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency, both based in Ottawa.

The foods listed as most commonly triggering allergic reactions in children include those containing: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, soy, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, wheat, eggs and milk.

Eating even a tiny amount of an allergen can sometimes cause the symptoms of a reaction to develop quickly. The most dangerous symptoms of an allergic reaction -- breathing difficulties and a drop in blood pressure or shock -- can result in loss of consciousness, or even death.

Some elementary schools restrict certain foods from all students' lunches so parents need to find out and follow school policies -- even if their child is not allergic.