You’ve recently discovered that your child has a food allergy. What should you do about it? How drastic of steps should you take in order to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring in your child? Here are some basic steps that parents of kids with food allergies should be familiar with.
1.Study about the allergy.
Learn everything you can about the allergy from books by medical experts on the subject. Become an expert yourself. You know that a severe reaction could result in hospitalization and even death in some cases.
2.Learn how to avoid the food.
Let’s say your child is severely allergic to peanuts and peanut-based products, then you must learn how to determine if such a product exists in foods that your family eats. You must learn how to read food labels. Many labels also have warnings when it comes to peanuts and peanut-based products. Peanut food allergies are very common, and peanuts and peanut oil are used in processed food products frequently, so they are sure to put warnings on their labels. However, if your child has a more rare food allergy, then you will have to be more active in making sure that you know what is contained in the food product. If the food does not have a label that discloses the ingredients, you should probably stay away from the food. If you are going to eat out, you may want to be very, very careful about which restaurants you go to, if you do it at all. You can’t control what goes on in a restaurant’s kitchen, but you can control what happens in your own kitchen.
3.Have your child wear a medical bracelet or necklace.
In case your child has an allergic reaction, and is incoherent or unconscious, it will be helpful to paramedics and emergency room doctors to immediately know how to treat your child’s condition.
4.Inform your child’s school about the allergy.
At the beginning of every school year, you should fill out some paperwork regarding your child’s condition. It should explain what to do, who to contact, and what kinds of foods your child should eat while at school. It is particularly important for the school nurse to be current on the child’s condition.
5.Do everything you can to educate your child.
Your child is the number one person who can make living with the allergy a success or failure. You child needs to know three things: learn what to avoid when eating, learn to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction, and learn what to do about it.
6.Get a prescription from your doctor or allergist to treat an allergic reaction.
Even with all your precautions, you need to be ready to treat an allergic reaction in your child. Your doctor can prescribe a device to inject epinephrine in case of reaction. Epinephrine is an adrenaline hormone that is used for many different conditions; in this case it is used to suppress the immune system. If the condition is mild, consider using diphenhydramine, an over the counter allergy remedy.
7.Kids usually grow out of food allergies.
If you can do a good job, and hang in there during the child’s allergy difficulties, there is a good chance that your child’s immune system will adapt, and your child will grow out of the condition. In some diseases such as diabetes, where you also need to take special precautions with diet and medications, the child will never outgrow the condition. So take courage, there may be light at the end of the tunnel if you can just hang in there.
This article is not intended to replace consultation with a licensed medical practitioner.