Food Allergy 101: Our Guide for Parents

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Whether your child had an allergic reaction, or you encountered an allergy during a test, allergies are a common thing for parents to have to deal with. In fact, about 1 in 13 children in the USA have a food allergy of some kind. Some can be fairly minor, while others can be incredibly severe.

Unfortunately, dealing with these allergies can often be difficult. Not only for the children suffering from them but also for their parents. There is a lot to know and be careful of when it comes to allergies. If you have a child with an allergy, this article is for you. We’re going to go over a couple of tips and helpful tidbits of information to help you deal with your child’s food allergy.

Get an Education on the Allergy

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The first thing to do as a parent isn’t to panic and worry, it is to educate yourself. You should read books and blogs about the specific allergy your child has, and ask an allergist any question you need. Online forums and message boards can be great for asking questions and getting answers from people who have gone through similar situations.

You need to know what items are safe, and which are not. In addition to educating yourself on how to help your child avoid the food they are allergic to, you also need to be aware of what to do in case of a reaction. This could range from simply giving them an antihistamine, to using an EpiPen or even calling 911 in severe cases.

While doing this research is great for yourself, be sure to also ensure your child is up to speed if they are old enough. If they’re a baby or still quite young, the responsibility falls on you as a parent to keep them safe from their allergy.

Have a Plan For Going Out

When your child has an allergy, having a plan is important. Any time you go out, you need to keep the food allergy in mind. Whether you are going to your parents’ house, to a restaurant, or even to a friend, you need to brief them on the allergy if it is severe. It also couldn’t hurt to bring a little bit of safe food for your child in the unlikely circumstance that there is nothing there that they can safely eat.

In some cases, children can’t even be in the same room as the food they are allergic to, so plan ahead to make sure all of that is taken care of. Even if you are simply going to the park, be aware and careful. Your child may be able to find food such as peanut shells, or other potential allergen-containing foods on the ground. Planning ahead and paying extra attention might seem like too much at times, but nothing is “too much” when it comes to protecting your child.

Don’t Forget About Child Care and School

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When the child is still a baby or you primarily take care of them yourselves, successfully managing their allergy can often be easy. You have control over what they eat and can ensure friends and family members are aware of the allergy. However, once your child begins to go to daycare or school, you lose a lot of control.

As a result, you need to meet with their principal, teachers, and/or caretakers in order to explain the allergy. Be sure to educate them on what can be eaten, what can be avoided, and what to do if a reaction occurs. Many of them are educated on these things, but it can’t hurt just to make sure. You may also need to fill out some permission forms and other paperwork, to allow them to administer medication if need be.

Hopefully, this guide has been able to help you learn a little more about how to live with a food allergy in the family. As long as you educate yourself, plan ahead, and tell teachers and caregivers about the allergy, you will be in good shape to keep it under control.

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