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AAP Issues Much-Needed Universal Written Allergy Action Plan

A new two-page comprehensive action plan should be provided to all caregivers of children with severe allergies, says new AAP report.

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In a first for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the group has issued a universal written action plan for its doctors to provide to parents, so they can effectively recognize and manage their children's allergic and potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.

"Many expert groups suggest having plans in writing," Scott H. Sicherer, M.D., from the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told Parents.com in an email. Currently, doctors may be using many versions of an allergy action plan.

This new universal written plan is not only intended as a means of review for parents, but the AAP also encourages them to provide the treatment-authorizing document to all schools, daycares, and camps that kids attend. The hope is that this customizable plan will provide much-needed education about when epinephrine use is needed, and ensure that kids with allergies are treated promptly and effectively to avoid severe reactions.

A second, accompanying clinical report reaffirms that epinephrine auto-injectors should be used as the first line of defense for anaphylaxis—not antihistamines. The reports are published in the March 2017 issue of Pediatrics.

How & When to Use an EpiPen

"If you suspect your child may have an allergy to foods or insect stings, talk to your pediatrician," Dr. Sicherer urges parents. Your pediatrician will confirm the diagnosis, likely with referral to an allergist.

"When a potentially life-threatening allergy is diagnosed, it is important to avoid the trigger, but also to be prepared to recognize and treat an allergic reaction," he explains. "The written plan crystalizes what to look for and do in the event of a reaction. It should be shared and reviewed with those caring for the child."

You can download the written allergy and anaphylaxis emergency plan from the AAP's website.

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.