: Start Preparing Now to Manage Allergies at College
Teens with food allergies who are heading for college later this year should start preparing for the transition now. "For most teens, going away to college marks their first time living independently," says Dr. David Stukus, a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Public Relations Committee.
"In addition to moving to a new place, many must learn to manage their own schedule, diet, exercise and health. Young people may find their allergies and asthma neglected due to other, seemingly more important demands on their attention," he said in an ACAAI news release.
Dr. Stukus offers helpful tips on how teens with allergies can prepare for college. The first step, he says, is to meet with your allergist and:
- Review your anaphylaxis action plan and confirm it's updated.
- Ask for a referral to an allergist close to school.
- Get a copy of your most recent medical records, including allergy test results, and have them sent to your new allergist.
- Pinpoint hospitals and emergency facilities near your school that will accept your insurance.
Ask the college about special accommodation policies, any required paperwork, and the opportunity to prescreen roommates. It's important to provide the college, resident assistant, and roommates with a list of your allergy triggers, says Dr. Stukus.
Inspect your school's food preparation facilities and meet with the chef to discuss cross-contamination and safe food preparation, and check out apps and other technology that can help you manage allergies.
Keep your EpiPen with you at all times -- and make sure it's not expired. You should have more than one auto injector pen available in case of a severe allergic reaction.
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