Nut Aware

USD 211 is a Nut Aware School District.

Q. Why is USD 211 a Nut Aware School District?

A. Many schools are becoming nut-free or nut aware because the incidence of these potentially lethal allergies is increasing rapidly. Peanut allergies doubled in a 5­ year period (1997-­2002). More than 1 in 100 children have a peanut allergy and 1 child in 17 under age 3 has a food allergy. Peanut/nut allergies are particularly severe; ingestion of even tiny amounts can cause a severe life-threatening reaction.​ Avoiding​ the offending allergen is the only way to prevent a potentially lethal allergic reaction. A nut aware school helps create a safer environment for everyone in the USD 211 community.

Q.​What does Nut Aware mean?

A. Nut aware means you are being asked by the school to consider peanut/nut alternatives for individual student lunches and snacks out of consideration to our children with severe, life-threatening allergies. Food brought to share or distribute cannot​have any peanut or nut ingredients, including peanut/nut oils or peanut/nut flour.

Q. How can it affect another child if my child brings a peanut butter sandwich to school?

A. A child who has eaten or handled foods containing nuts can transfer the allergen-containing oils to shared toys, tables, chairs, drinking fountains, playground equipment or even doorknobs.

Q. What is an allergic reaction to peanuts or nuts like?

A. Allergic reaction symptoms include (in general order of severity): vomiting, coughing, fatigue, severe rash, swelling of the face and/or throat, difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness. The more rapidly that symptoms develop, the more severe the reaction. Subsequent exposure to the allergen often causes a more severe and faster reaction.

Q. Some children have dairy allergies. Why is it all right to send dairy products to school?

A. Ordinarily, allergies or intolerance to dairy products are not life-threatening and are not triggered by the ingestion of tiny amounts. Reactions to dairy products may include runny nose, stomachache, diarrhea or eczema, i.e., symptoms that do not require emergency medical intervention. In contrast, allergic reactions to nuts, especially peanuts are often life-threatening.

Q. Do you realize that this is inconvenient for me?

A. Yes. If this were not potentially life-threatening to some children, we wouldn’t ask you not to send nuts to school. Your efforts are truly appreciated by those affected. Parents who deal with this every time their child puts a bite in their mouth know it is challenging, but it does get easier as you get used to it. We also know it is easy to forget when your family is not directly affected, so we will continue to provide food suggestions, helpful hints, and reminders.

THANK YOU for helping by taking the steps to ensure USD 211 is a healthy and safe place for all of our children.