A new national best practice guide to allergies in schools is shifting focus from food bans to awareness, but Wagga educators don't plan on ditching their nuts bans any time soon.
The new national guidelines on allergy protocols for schools and childcare centres were released by Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia on Thursday.
New recommendations include increased staff training requirements for use of EpiPen and ApaPens, a shift to case-by-case food requirements and a move away from food bans as a one-size-fits-all solution.
"An 'allergy aware' approach is recommended rather than focusing on banning specific food allergens," the new guidelines for schools reads.
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CEO of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia Maria Said explained the policy is the first nationally consistent training and management plan Australia has had, and focuses on a community-wide approach to allergies.
"The new best practice guidelines strengthen staff training requirements and include training requirements for those preparing, serving and supervising meals," she said.
"In addition, these guidelines recommend twice yearly refresher training including hands on practice with adrenaline injector trainer devices."
Wagga mum Carly Johnson welcomed the new, thorough guidelines and a national approach to allergy best practice.
Mrs Johnson's son Xander has suffered with an anaphylactic allergy to hazelnuts since he was a toddler, and she saw the seriousness of the allergy first hand in his most recent reaction.
"He required two EpiPens within 25 minutes and oxygen for 45 minutes," she said. "He had hives, he wasn't able to breathe and his throat was closing up.
"It's extremely scary and makes you think. You don't want that to happen to your child because it really is life or death."
Xander attends Wagga Christian College where they have an 'allergy aware' approach, but also a school-wide ban on nuts.
Principal at WWCC Phillip Wilson said the community-wide approach to allergies and the thoroughness of the new guidelines are "fantastic".
He said the school will adopt the new measures but won't get rid of the nut ban currently in place.
"I wont say we would tell everyone to start bringing these foods in, I would be leaving it the way we're doing it at the moment," he said.
Rod Furner, director of Wagga's Spring Kidz childcare, welcomed extra training recommended for childcare staff in the guidelines, but agreed they won't be ditching the ban on nuts because they prepare all food on site.
"We can control the allergies from this end and the nuts is a big one for children so that's the only ban we have really in place," he said.
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