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Food Allergies

Food Allergies Require Awareness, Compassion, and Attention

It’s hard to believe that the foods most of us eat and enjoy every day can be harmful to others. But, it’s true! A handful of Rheem students are allergic, and in some cases, seriously allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy products, wheat and eggs. While we have plans in place to address the needs of these students, its important that our entire school community be aware of what causes allergies and what we can do to prevent allergic reactions, which for some children, can be a life-threatening incident.

We encourage parent support by asking you to join us in communicating the following messages to your children:

  1. Never take food allergies lightly. Joking about it, teasing kids who have food allergies, or tricking someone into eating food are inappropriate and can be very dangerous.
  2. Don’t share your food. This advice runs counter to the environment of “sharing” we like to enjoy. However, sharing food can be very dangerous to students who have food allergies. Also, many families prefer that their children only eat or be exposed to certain types of food – therefore, sharing food with students who don’t have allergies can have negative consequences as well. Therefore, students at Rheem have been told not to share food that their parents have packed with anyone.
  3. Wash hands after eating. Washing hands after you eat is very important. Touching certain foods can cause an allergic reaction in some students. Therefore, it’s an good practice to clean off any food that is one your hands after eating. You’ll probably get fewer cold too.
  4. Ask friends if they are allergic to foods and help them avoid it. Learning what someone is allergic to is easy (just ask them). Finding out if foods are safe to eat is more difficult. Even foods that have ingredient labels can be tricky, since food companies sometimes use scientific names instead of everyday names (for example, did you know that casein is milk?) some food items are also made on assembly lines which can retain previously handles food ingredients, to which children may be allergic. Usually, students who are allergic are very careful about what they eat, but it’s a good idea to remind friends who have food allergies to be extra careful of foods that are not brought from their own homes.
  5. If someone becomes ill, get help from an adult immediately! Some symptoms of food allergies are vomiting, swelling of the face and lips, difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and skin that is bumpy, red or itchy. Please let us know if you have any questions about our school’s policies and practices regarding food and food allergies. Our goal is for all students to feel safe and protected in all situations at school. Websites such as (for kids) and are also excellent sites for additional information and to help teach your children about food allergies.