Did you know there could be a Pattern with food allergies? Do you know what that Pattern is? I know I’ve harped on this before and it seems I’m going to give it one more “Harp”. Food allergies are our life and I guess it’s just an issue that rings close to my heart. I’m going to write this as it comes off my tongue and not worry about all the “SEO” issues. I’ve written two other posts that sort of hit on this subject but I guess you’d have to correlate the two together to actually get the jist of the subject matter. So here goes.
I’m a member of quite a few support groups on facebook concerning food allergies. As my blog has outlined, our 10 year old daughter has had food allergies since birth. We’ve been through a great deal to get her where she is today. As I have always been one to look for support from where ever possible, facebook groups have certainly been a big help.
When your child has a reaction to something and you just can’t figure it out, posting it to facebook can almost always get you some answers. Plus, they are just a great place to vent when you need to, to others who know exactly how you feel. However, there are times when you begin to read other’s posts and how they almost lost their child to a reaction or someones else has posted an article that details how a child died from an accidental ingestion of their allergen and you begin to think if this is all really worth it. Is it really worth my reading about these children dying due to food allergies when it could very well happen to my child?
Sometimes it’s just depressing!! Why in the world do I want to hear about that? Why do I keep putting myself through all this reading of depressing posts and articles? Is this really helping? Well,…I came to the conclusion that it WAS! I was beginning to see a pattern emerge. It was definitely something that I could relate to and I began to ponder the pattern and see where it could definitely be a help to others. The pattern was definitely flawed and needed a Great deal of work to be improved. We are talking about a child’s life here so it’s definitely not anything you take lightly.
So what is the Pattern?
Here’s my version. The Pattern was just an obvious “Here’s my child and they are allergic to this, and this and this. Ok, have a good day and play nice”, or “I’d like to get the bbq chicken and pasta without the cheese. I can’t have cheese”.
Now, does that look like an actual Pattern?
Let’s take a Daycare for example. There may be 30 kids in this daycare and your food allergic child is among those 30. There may be 4 teachers or even maybe 5 for those 30 ( I don’t know the ratio exactly), but that’s still a great deal of responsibility. If you drop your child off and simply give them a list of foods they cannot have and you tell them about their reactions, that’s all they have to go on. They put your child among those 30 and your child looks exactly like the others. Those teachers or teacher, must remember what you’ve told them or they must remember to always look at the list you gave them to make sure your child is not being given any food they shouldn’t have. How hard could that be with 30 kids,…right?
Now, let’s take your favorite restaurant for an example. You’ve been their multiple times and you’ve gotten very relaxed in “thinking” that they know you well and you no longer feel the need to have to tell them about the food allergies.
See the Pattern yet?
We MUST be more diligent in letting others know about our children’s food allergies or about your own. I continuously read about these children dying or having anaphylactic reactions when there was so much more that could have been done. Now, let me go ahead and make one thing clear before I start getting foul comments on what I’m about to say. In no way am I attempting to criticize anyone or any parent’s choice of raising their children or how they wish to treat their allergies. I am simply going to explain what I see and how I feel that more could be done to improve the way we inform other’s about our children’s allergies.
Make sure your child’s teacher or school knows about your child’s allergies to the fullest extent. Explain what happens when they have a reaction, make certain they have action plans done, have a 504 Plan in place, MAKE YOUR CHILD STAND OUT! My daughter began wearing a medical I.D. bracelet when she was a year old. They even make shoe tags that you can weave on their shoelaces. I had bright yellow stickers made that listed her food allergies on them. I would stick one on her shirt, lunch bag, bookbag, etc. Anything I could so other’s would be sure to see it. In other words, I MADE HER STAND OUT from amongst the other children. When that teacher looked at her, she knew that my child had a food allergy. I tried to give them visuals that they could see at all times. I never wanted them to forget that they had a food allergic child in their presence.
It’s the same way when you go out to eat at a restaurant. You MUST continue to tell the staff about your allergies or your child’s allergies and make sure that they know each time you order about each allergy. Telling a waiter or waitress that you can’t have cheese, is NOT telling them about the food allergies. So what if they don’t put cheese on your food, but what about cross contamination. What about a small careless mistake that could be avoided if they only knew that you or your child was that allergic to cheese.
It may take a little more effort, it may take a little more time, and it may take a little more patience. Should all that even be an issue when it comes to your child’s life?
What Pattern do you want to learn? It’s your choice.