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Time in New England could be best for kids with allergies, based on a new report

Submitted by on Tuesday, 2 September 2008 No Comment

If you live in Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Washington, consider yourself lucky.

According to a new report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, those are the states on this year’s honor roll of allergy and asthma policies.

Experts conducting the survey calculated scores in three broad areas: medication and treatment, awareness and school environment. No state scored a perfect 18. Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont were at 17; Rhode Island was 16; and Massachusetts and Washington were 15s.

California, where we live, is a 12, flunking across the board when it comes to “identification and reporting” and also failing in “health services capacity.” Now, that one I believe. The nurse at Big Guy’s school rotates among three or four campuses, and the health tech’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

California also fails to require schools to set emergency protocols for asthma — which makes no sense given our air problems of epic proportions — though it is required for anaphylaxis.

It’s easy to dismiss reporting as just a bunch of paperwork, but there are areas where having that information could be key.

Do students at certain school have more asthma attacks? If so, could it be due to problems with classroom ventilation or lack of awareness that asthmatics shouldn’t play outside when pollution reaches the red zone?

Do some schools experience more instances of anaphylaxis than others? Is it an issue of improper training of teachers or cafeteria staff?

Then again, policies are easy to write but useless without proper enforcement and understanding among staff. I have friends who live in states rated higher than California who are terribly unhappy with procedures at their schools, while I’m fairly content. Maybe I’m too new at the public school game to know better — this is Big Guy’s first year.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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