Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dealing with Food Allergies

The number of children with food allergies is growing and Scouts with food allergies need to have their conditions taken seriously.  Best outcomes for everyone will occur when Unit leadership:
  • Works with the Scout and his parents to understand the specific triggers and reactions for this Scout's allergies.
  • Communicates to parents and Scouts in the unit so everyone understands the seriousness of the situation.
  • Allows the Scout to participate in activities that he is capable of doing
  • Finds alternatives to snacks, meals, and food crafts that avoid the allergens.
The video "It Only Takes One Bite" explains many of the possible allergic reactions and treatments and ways to work around the allergies.  This video is on YouTube and can be shared with adults and with Boy Scouts.

National's "Guide to Safe Scouting" advises Scouts with allergies to have appropriate treatment with them at all times and to alert leadership prior to an event so that precautions can be on hand.

If an incident happens during a unit event, National has an Incident Information Report form that can be filled out online and printed to document the incident.

Food allergies should guide the decisions abut Scout treats and snacks as well as at meals, whether at a Troop campout or a Blue & Gold banquet.

One Cub Scout Pack developed their own Food Allergy form.

UFAN - The Utah Food Allergy Network - offers a patch to Cub Scouts who learn about food allergies, with many age-appropriate activites.

FAAN - The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network - has good suggestions with their Be a PAL: Protect A Life program.  They have a very helpful booklet designed to earn a PAL Girl Scout badge.

Food allergy considerations for Jamboree are made known well before the event, so alternatives can be prepared.

Some Camps have practices in place for dealing with food allergies and other good related issues (managing diabetes, religious diet, vegetarian)

Troops are encouraged to manage risk and include allergies to their Emergency Response Plan.

Parents can get involved in Unit leadership as a way to monitor and to educate, as this parent tells:

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