Allergy Awareness Morning Ex

Students recently came together for a Morning Ex focusing on allergy awareness with Parker parent, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Science and Outcomes of Asthma and Food Allergy Research at Northwestern Medicine and Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Ruchi S Gupta, M.D., MPH.
In this gathering, Dr. Gupta used a combination of Power Point slides, personal stories and video excerpts featuring her and a number of Parker students in the new Netflix series Rotten to better acclimate students with the concept of food allergies in general. She also addressed the prevalence of food allergies in America, detailed common symptoms and signs of a reaction, described the concept of anaphylaxis and educated all how to best support a friend or family member with a food allergy.
Students learned about Dr. Gupta’s 2011 survey work, which revealed that eight percent of children in the United States have some form of food allergy. That is one in every 13 students or approximately six million children nationwide. They also learned about the eight types of food allergens: tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat, eggs, meat, shellfish and fin fish and also learned by show of hands that all eight types exist in our current student body.
Knowing that students with allergies are most successful when their classmates better understand their food allergies so they can better support them while they are at school, Dr. Gupta asked students with food allergies to use the auditorium’s microphones to share some of their symptoms with their peers. Itchy throat, watery eyes, hives and red dots on the skin were some of the varied symptoms student’s cited. Dr. Gupta then described the most severe allergic reaction to food, known as anaphylaxis, which requires immediate treatment with an EpiPen.
To further drive her message home with this student audience, Dr. Gupta shared a series of videos she produced several years ago, shot on Parker’s campus featuring Parker students geared at educating all students about food allergies and how they can best support one another in the future.
Many thanks to Dr. Gupta for sharing her time and expertise with the school community!
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.