The WHAT IF’S of Living with Food Allergies

So how do we organize, implement and monitor our child’s safety when they have multiple food allergies? I call it “The WHAT IF’S” of Living with Food Allergies.

I once had a lady ask me as we were sitting in the doctor’s office for a visit, “Why does she (Nat) have a medical I.D. bracelet on? Is she a diabetic?” Of course, you can probably guess my reaction. However, I kept it cool and simply stated, “No, she has food allergies.” The lady’s response, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought she had a major medical condition.” Needless to say, I gave no response and attempted to end the conversation there because I knew my response would not be appropriate for the middle of a crowded waiting room.

Why is it that food allergies are not considered a major medical condition? Or are they? They certainly are in our Allergists office, but not quite so in many others. My child wears a Medical I.D. Bracelet because people need to know that she has a condition that could cost her her life if she eats the wrong thing. There are even those out there that don’t even need to eat the allergen. Getting peanut dust on their skin or breathing it in could cost them their life. Now, let’s take a look at those WHAT IF’S and see why they may save a child’s life.

WHAT IF you are traveling with your food allergic child and you end up in an accident where you are rendered unconscious, but your 3 year old is unharmed in the back seat? EMS arrive on the scene and remove your child from the car to the ambulance and begin an assessment. You are not able to voice to them about your child’s food allergies. The EMT has just eaten a pack of peanuts for a snack and there is peanut dust residue on their clothes. That would certainly be a dangerous situation for your child. Perhaps that’s a far fetched example, but it’s one we take seriously. Those emergency personnel members need to know about your child’s medical history, whether it be for food allergies or any other medical condition. An I.D. bracelet will certainly alert them to that.

WHAT IF you place your child’s medication (Benedryl, Epipen, etc.) in a zippered pouch for traveling and the zipper get’s stuck? They are having a reaction and you need to get the medicine but the zipper is stuck and you have no scissors or any way to get into the bag. Using a bag or pouch with Velcro could mean the difference between life and death.

So you can see where I’m going with all this. To do the best you can at keeping your child safe, just go through all those WHAT IF’S that you can think of. Get through all the scenarios and you can certainly give yourself thumbs up for a job well done. That’s all you can do and you’ve done your best!

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