HSD – Nut Awareness
December 14, 2017
Hayden School District is changing to a Nut Aware District from a Nut Free District. This change will allow students to bring and eat nut based products (peanut butter, Nutella, etc.) to school and allowed in the cafeteria.
While we have several students in the Hayden School District that have been identified as having allergic reactions to nuts and nut products, we currently have no airborne allergies to nuts which is why we moving to a nut aware district. We continue to ask for your help in keeping students with nut allergies safe at school. Please contact the office one to two days prior to sending any food in for the students. In addition, we ask you to talk with your student and stress the importance of not sharing food/snacks that are brought from home. Be aware that many foods contain hidden nut products and ingredient labels must be read very carefully. A “nut free” table will be designated in every cafeteria. The ONLY students allowed to sit at this table are the ones eating hot lunch or that have a nut allergy.
In addition, the elementary school will take extra precautions in classrooms that have a student with a known nut allergy. These classrooms will remain as peanut/nut free as possible with notifications to all student families requesting that nut products not be brought in for snacks or special classroom activities involving food.
It is important students wash their hands before coming to school in the morning if nuts or food containing nuts have been served at breakfast.
For more information on nut free products visit kidswithfoodallergies.org.
Thank you very much for understanding and for helping all students have a safe and successful school year. Please feel free to call us if you have any concerns or questions.
Anna Davis, RN, BSN Christy Sinner, Ph.D.
School Health Services Superintendent
Hayden School District is a Nut Aware School.
Q. Why is Hayden School District a Nut Aware School?
- Many schools are becoming nut free or nut aware because the incidence of these potentially lethal allergies is increasing rapidly. Peanut allergies doubled in a 5 year period (1997-2002). More than 1 in 100 children have a peanut allergy and 1 child in 17 under age 3 has a food allergy. Peanut/nut allergies are particularly severe; ingestion of even tiny amounts can cause a severe life threatening reaction. Avoiding the offending allergen is the only way to prevent a potentially lethal allergic reaction. A nut aware school helps create a safer environment for everyone in the Hayden School District community.
Q.What does Nut Aware mean?
- Nut aware means you are being asked by the school to consider peanut/nut alternatives for individual student lunches and snacks out of consideration to our children with severe, life threatening allergies. Food brought to share or distribute cannot have any peanut or nut ingredients, including peanut/nut oils or peanut/nut flour.
Q. How can it affect another child if my child brings a peanut butter sandwich to school?
- A child who has eaten or handled foods containing nuts can transfer the allergen containing oils to shared toys, tables, chairs, drinking fountains, playground equipment or even doorknobs.
Q. What is an allergic reaction to peanuts or nuts like?
- Allergic reaction symptoms include (in general order of severity): vomiting, coughing, fatigue, severe rash, swelling of the face and/or throat, difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness. The more rapidly that symptoms develop, the more severe the reaction. Subsequent exposure to the allergen often causes a more severe and faster reaction.
Q. Some children have dairy allergies. Why is it all right to send dairy products to school?
- Ordinarily allergies or intolerance to dairy products are not life threatening and are not triggered by ingestion of tiny amounts. Reactions to dairy products may include runny nose, stomachache, diarrhea or eczema, i.e., symptoms that do not require emergency medical intervention. In contrast, allergic reactions to nuts, especially peanuts are often life threatening.
Q. Do you realize that this is inconvenient for me?
- Yes. If this were not potentially life threatening to some children, we wouldn’t ask you not to send nuts to school. Your efforts are truly appreciated by those affected. Parents who deal with this every time their child puts a bite in their mouth know it is challenging, but it does get easier as you get used to it. We also know it is easy to forget when your family is not directly affected, so we will continue to provide food suggestions, helpful hints and reminders.
Q. Do you have any nut free snack suggestions?
- Yes! Healthy, nut free snack ideas will be posted to the Nutrition and Wellness Committee’s section on the Hayden School District website. If eating peanut butter or food with nuts for breakfast, be sure to wash hands and face thoroughly with soap and water before coming to school. (Purell is not as effective as soap & water).
THANK YOU for helping by taking the steps to ensure Hayden School District is a healthy and safe place for all of our children.
Nut-Aware Snack Ideas (check labels!)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Yogurt, cheese slices or sticks
- Fruit bars, applesauce
- Bagels, bread sticks, popcorn
Nut-Aware Lunch Ideas (check labels!)
- Cheese Sandwich with lettuce & sliced vegetables
- Bagel Sandwiches with sliced meat & cream cheese
- Pizza pockets
- Pita pockets with veggies, cheese & lettuce
Reading Food Labels
Read food labels to identify ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. If you are unsure about a product, choose something else.
Nut Aware vs. Nut Free Classrooms
In “Nut Aware” classrooms:
- The child, family, medical service provider(s), and school work together to develop a reasonable safety plan
- Allergy kit(s) can be on hand; adults know how to use them
- Other children can be taught about respecting allergies and how to help a student in an emergency
“Nut Free” classrooms cannot be guaranteed because schools:
- Cannot ensure that the classroom is completely free of nuts
- Cannot guarantee other parents will not send peanuts/nuts to school