Back-to-school stress includes food allergies for some parents - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Back-to-school stress includes food allergies for some parents

NORTH OLMSTED, OH (WOIO) -

Students are heading back to school this week and some parents have concerns about kids with food allergies. One local doctor says she's seen an increase in the number of patients, and it's because it could be a life threatening situation. 

Dr. Sandra Hong from Cleveland Clinic says everyone has to do their homework for back to school, but especially parents and students with food allergies.

One mother, Jaclyn Kocmit, says she worries about her kids -- especially her son Anthony.

"He's starting kindergarten next week and it's very nerve-racking to think that he's gonna be out of my little bubble," she said.

Anthony, 5, says he is allergic to peanuts and nuts. His mother says she trained him at a young age to know and ask questions about food, especially the ones he's allergic to. Hong, his Allergist, says this is exactly what parents are supposed to do.

"Make sure that you tell your children not to just eat anything. It has to have an ingredients list on it, they have to know what they're allergic to," said Hong.

Hong says the most common food allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, milk, soy, wheat, and eggs. During the past few weeks, she's seen an increase in appointments because parents are stressed.

"They know that if their child takes the wrong bite, they may have a life threatening allergic reaction," she said.

Hong says parents also worry about being ostracized.  A new study shows that 1 in 4 kids can be bullied because of their food allergy.

"You know it can be as mild as someone saying, 'Oh we can't have a party because Johnny has a food allergy,' but on the flip side it can be as bad as people actually hiding it in their food and watching their reactions," said Hong.

Kocmit says she thinks every parent worries for their children and wants them to be healthy. Hong stresses the importance of knowing exactly how to treat food allergy reactions and says teaching kids how to use an EpiPen is crucial. They expire every year so getting in to the doctor's office should be a priority. Hong also recommends carrying two, in case one malfunctions. She also recommends using this website as a resource.

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