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msilcox msilcox (Member)

Latex Balloons

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At my school we have one student that is allergic to latex (severity unknown) the other day some of the students had balloons that they were going to use to decorate for spirit week after school.  Mom was here with said student and pulled her child out of the building and all latex balloons were banned for the event, now I am being looked at to help make a decision whether or not to ban all balloons in the school while she is attending.  (we are a small private school less than 300 students). 

Has anyone come across this before?   Per Mom the allergy is severe but we have no documentation other than its an allergy and I am awaiting a call back from her doctor to help us make an educated decision.    We have had balloons in the building from time to time since the beginning of the year with no incidents.  

Any and all comments, suggestions will be helpful I'm at a lose as what to do on this one.  We have multiple peanut allergies but didn't ban peanut butter.  

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Sounds like an extreme reaction...but you said it is a private school so admin can do anything they want to. I would suggest the same strategy as for other allergic reactions like peanut butter you mention. Identify the allergen and set a procedure for the girl to avoid contact. Just like peanut butter, latex is a part of the environment away from school too so you aren't doing her any favors by pretending the school is a latex free environment. Good luck!!

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If it is severe - need action plan and epi-pen on campus. No school can guarantee latex free, peanut free, etc free environment so there must be an emergency plan in place. 

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i do know that the potential for airborne reactions is present with latex.  I suppose that it would have to do with the severity of the child's allergy.  From the way the parent is reacting, perhaps this student's allergy has gotten more severe since the beginning of the school year.  If that 's the case, the parent should have communicated.  But we all know that doesn't always happen.  Never-the-less, i think contacting the doctor was a good move.  

If the advisement from the doc is to go latex free in school, then you have to consider everything from gloves in not only your office, but the ones being used by custodial staff or cafeteria staff.  They may be opting for the more economic latex and might not give the same consideration and order nitrile or even vinyl.  Also consider bandaids (most band-aid brand states that it contains latex), rubber bands being used in classrooms and offices, and even things like pta sponsored events.  Did you know that some bounce castles have latex in them?  Also - sports balls in the gym?  theres a lot of factors at work here.

http://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Latex-Safe-Beierwaltes-Schoessler.pdf

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I would def wait on formal changes until you know for that what exactly her e allergy is

That said, if a balloon pops, the dust inside is airborne so there is that consideration.

I would ask that balloons be temporarily banned pending confirmation from the MD. Once you have a yeah or nay and an allergy action plan and Epi orders, then you can go with a more formal plan.

 

You have addressed the concern of the student and her parents.

You are not throwing out the baby with the bathwater...

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also wanted to add that I've had quite a few latex allergic students over the years and beyond the parents being being concerned that my bandaids were latex free or that i had nitrile gloves, not latex ones, i never had to institute anything extreme. I have an acquaintance with a child with apparently an extreme latex allergy who kvetches a lot about possible sources of exposure.  Don't know what's in place at that child's school  

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My campus (not district wide rule) has banned all balloons - latex and mylar.  Been that way since I have been here (7 years) - I have no idea why and don't question it.  

As far as the glove situation - I think it was last year a district wide notice came around about making sure everyone was using/ordering latex free gloves to avoid allergy issues and reminding nurses to only order/use latex free bandaids. 

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I dig OldDude's response.  I have a cousin who can "smell" latex because it makes the inside of her nose/throat start to itch while being around it. She carries an EpiPen.  She's a teacher.  She modifies her environment. No rubber bands in her classroom type of modifications. 

Without paperwork, it is tough to see where they are in terms of safety necessity.  I have a latex allergy and it is  something that gets worse with repeated exposure, so I can see the concern.

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1 hour ago, msilcox said:

Mom was here with said student and pulled her child out of the building and all latex balloons were banned for the event, now I am being looked at to help make a decision whether or not to ban all balloons in the school while she is attending.  (we are a small private school less than 300 students). 

Has anyone come across this before?   Per Mom the allergy is severe but we have no documentation other than its an allergy and I am awaiting a call back from her doctor to help us make an educated decision. 

So...lemme get this right....kid with allergy severe enough that s/he cannot be around balloons has no EpiPen??? Hmmm. Iiiiinteresting. 

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Latex balloons are also a choking hazard for young children.  I would keep pushing for documentation of the allergy (which can be progressive) and also consider keeping the  'no latex balloon' and band aid/glove policy out of an abundance of caution. 

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16 minutes ago, ruby_jane said:

So...lemme get this right....kid with allergy severe enough that s/he cannot be around balloons has no EpiPen??? Hmmm. Iiiiinteresting. 

I know right!!!!! I am absolutely fed up with the demand for special accommodations without providing documentation, meds supplies. 

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I didn't know this until encountering  kid with a latex allergy this year, but apparently people with latex allergies frequently have cross-reactivities with certain foods (bananas are a common one). I'm just wondering if there's more to this girl's allergy history that mom has forgotten to share- it would be good to find out from the pedi. 

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