What Does Providing Free Allergy Testing Look Like?

The Wahoo Cool for School program set out to provide free food allergy testing to a cohort of kids in need of care in the community surrounding UVA. This served to simultaneously provide access to testing to eligible participants while fostering a connection between the food allergy families in the greater Charlottesville area, the food allergy team at UVA, and the Code Ana Program. We recruited families of children with undifferentiated allergies and provided skin testing free of charge, with the help of the UVA allergy and immunology fellows. This program served a number of families/children with allergies. 

The program was, in some ways, as simple as it sounds. Families presented to the University of Virginia Pediatric Immunology Clinic, and skin testing was performed by a trained allergist, with the help of a UVA undergraduate student (that’s me!). The visit consisted of an initial discussion of the family’s experience with the child’s allergies, the skin testing itself, and a discussion of the results and next steps. A key component of the program was the completion of a food allergy action plan at the conclusion of the visit. As I’m sure those of you familiar with our site and our mission are aware, we try to fortify as many lines of defense against food allergy emergencies as possible. Thus, explicitly completing the Code Ana food allergy action plan and communicating the plan to the child’s pediatrician and school, we were able to provide care plan examples that will hopefully serve as a template moving forward.

Overall, the Wahoo Cool for School Program did what Code Ana does best. The program provided boots-on-the-ground care for a group of people in need, while simultaneously creating a template that could be followed by allergy providers, pediatricians, and schools in the greater Charlottesville area.

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