By Heather Legg
With all the trouble today that we are finding with allergies, whether it is peanuts on a plane, perfume at work, or just plain too much pollen, we can’t forget to see the strides that are being made in regard to allergies. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say, and I think the allergy cloud definitely shines sometimes.
I just came from my daughters’ school and two things struck me. One was the article in the weekly newsletter from the school nurse about spring allergies. She listed symptoms, techniques for avoidance and a website to check the pollen count (Beyond Allergy would be proud of such an article). I think that extra information, that added awareness, is beneficial to those with allergies as well as those without in understanding it’s a real thing. It also struck me that allergies have taken enough precedence with her to include it in the newsletter. We know that allergies are real and affect a large number of us, but those that don’t have allergies or deal with them on a daily basis may not understand. Every piece of awareness helps.
The other thing that struck me was the closeness and the compassion of my daughter’s class. There are a few kids in there with allergies, both food and seasonal, and the understanding of each child strengthens each child that has allergies. They understand that some kids have an Epipen and it’s for their allergies; that they need to be safe and I’ve actually seen the kids look out for the ones with allergies. Again, awareness plays such a huge part.
Though things have a long way to go, I think in the past few years we have made great strides. Teachers, at least in my experience, are understanding and accommodating. They not only want their students to be safe and healthy, they want the other students to understand individual needs. The teachers adhere to the parents wishes, whether it is a nut free class or making sure if someone does eat an allergen they wash their hands. I’ve seen them keep kids inside on high pollen count days, whether it’s the kids with allergies, or everyone, and do a fun game inside instead of risking the pollen.
With knowledge, as they also say, comes power. Teachers and staff at our elementary school are demonstrating this in dealing with allergies. I know some of these teachers have been at it for many years and once didn’t have to worry with food or seasonal allergies. Now it seems at least one student in each class has some form of allergy. However, the teachers don’t seem as scared. It’s reality and just another thing to know about. They deal with it and try to make everything as safe and easy as they can.
When we have a struggle in life, it’s easy to focus on that struggle, to see what still needs to be done and isn’t getting accomplished, to see what isn’t there yet. But it’s important to look at the bright side and to stay positive. We need to take notice of what has improved, the work and effort people everywhere are doing, and the now routine measures being taken. That’s what keeps it going.