24th August 2017
The Anaphylaxis Campaign was saddened to learn of the death of 9 year old Mohammad Ismaeel Ashraf earlier this year and has been in attendance at the coroner’s inquest that has been taking place this week in Birmingham to understand if lessons can be learned from this case.
The inquest raises a number of issues which are likely to be of concern to parents and carers of school-age children, as well as schools and teachers, as the jury concluded that not following the care plan and a delay in administering an auto-injector may have contributed towards Ismaeel’s death.
This illustrates the importance of schools making sure they have individual care plans in place and training and support for all school staff; from school nurses to teachers, from receptionists to caterers.
Every school is likely to have at least one pupil who is severely food-allergic, and many schools will have more; in the UK it is estimated that 5–8 % of children have a food allergy (Food Standards Agency 2015). The vast majority of the children affected are happily accommodated in mainstream schools thanks to good communication among parents, school staff, doctors and education authorities. With sound precautionary measures and support from the staff, school life may continue as normal for all concerned.
However, tragic incidents such as the death of Ismaeel Ashraf are a reminder of the importance of all school staff being able to understand allergies and anaphylaxis and how to manage and care for children at risk.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign helps raise awareness of severe allergies and anaphylaxis within schools and provide support to parents and carers of school age children.
Our fact sheet aims to answer aims to answer some of the questions frequently asked by parents and schools. You can read this on our website here.
We also have addressed some of the frequently asked questions associated with allergies in schools below.
If you have any concerns please contact our helpline team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 542 029.
Anaphylaxis is an extreme and severe allergic reaction. The whole body is affected, often within minutes of exposure to the substance which causes the allergic reaction (allergen) but sometimes after hours.
The treatment for a severe allergic reaction is an injection of adrenaline (also called epinephrine), delivered into the muscle in the side of the thigh. The adrenaline injectors prescribed in the UK at present are EpiPen® and Jext®.
Emerade devices in all doses (150mcg, 300mcg and 500mcg) have been recalled and are not currently available. Read the latest statements on this in our Latest News section here.
These injectors are easy to use and designed for self-administration or administration by any suitably trained individual. If an injector has been prescribed, it should be available at all times – with no exceptions. The emergency services (ambulance) should still be called after use as symptoms may return after a short period and more than one injection of adrenaline may be required to control the reaction.
Our Think ABC video explains how you can spot an anaphylaxis reaction and how to safely treat it.
Statutory guidance was issued to schools in May 2014 setting out the practical support schools are expected to provide to support children with medical conditions, such as making sure they have individual care plans in place and training and support for all school staff.
Tips that might help the school to ensure the safety of an allergic child include:
The Paediatric Allergy Group of the BSACI has Allergy Action Plans available for children at risk of anaphylaxis.
These plans have been designed to facilitate first aid treatment of anaphylaxis, to be delivered by people without any special medical training nor equipment apart from access to an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI). They have been developed following an extensive consultation period with health professionals, support organisations, parents of food-allergic children and teachers.
The plans are medical documents, and should be completed by a child’s health professional (and not by parents or teachers, for example).
You can access care plans from the BSACI website here.