Once again, I’ll start by saying that I may step on some toes with this post, but I’ll put it as simple as I can…Educate Yourself!! There is so much information out there to know how to accommodate and “raise” your food allergic child. Common sense can take you a long way, but some of you are opting for simple and convenient. There’s nothing simple and convenient about a food allergic child. I’ts work!
Food allergies in children is very dangerous.
Notice I didn’t say “can be” dangerous. It IS dangerous! There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. It’s as simple as that. These are our children and we can not be nonchalant about their lives. So if or when our child has a reaction, let’s make it guaranteed that it was not due to a careless mistake that we made. I’ll be the first to admit, mistakes will be made and that’s just life as we know it, but we certainly do not need to make those mistakes any easier when our children’s lives are at stake. Let me give you a few tips to get you on the right track.
Tip #1: THROW IT OUT!
Our Nat was diagnosed with food allergies when she was a year old. Actually, only a few days over a year old. The first thing we did when we returned home from the clinic that day was THROW IT ALL OUT!!!! That’s right!! We went through all our kitchen cabinets and started reading labels. Anything and everything that had the word “Peanut” or any type of tree nut listed on it went into the trash. Didn’t matter if I just bought it or if my mother across the street liked it (she’s Nat’s daily caregiver….WHY WOULD I GIVE IT TO HER?), it all went to the garbage.
Tip #2: READ THE LABEL!
Okay, so let’s say you read the label this week and it’s fine. So I’m guessing you think it’s okay to not ever read the label again. NOT!! Nilla wafers is such a good little cookie to buy and it’s always great when you can buy the generic, cheaper brand. Well, guess what? Our Nat loved the Walmart brand vanilla wafers, until they started adding milk to the ingredients. Yep, just out of the blue, milk got added. So we couldn’t buy them anymore. But, what if I had never re-read that label. Hmmmm???
Tip #3: DO NOT COLOR CODE!
What? Color Code? Yep. “The blue packaged cookies of that brand are okay.” No, No, No! We don’t color code people! And it’s not the cookie company’s fault for not “color-coding” that safe cookie package to a specific color for your convenience. That’s why we are taught and need to understand the importance of reading food labels. Color coding, to my knowledge, has never been a part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. They have attempted to make it easier to read and understand the allergen content of that package, but you have to Read it, not look for the Safe Color!
Tip #4: EDUCATE YOURSELF!
Not that I’m knocking any of these allergist out there, (but yeah,…I might be). We know from experience. It took until about the 5th allergist that we were assigned…(teaching hospital ) for us to realize that some of these doctors allow you to leave their presence without knowing anything more about allergies than when you got there. Doctors need to understand that they are dealing with people who are not on the same educational and/or mental level as they are and should take the time to attempt to educate their patients or the patients family members on what needs to be done to ensure the safety of their child, i.e., reading food labels, researching ingredients, etc. They certainly should not just dole out a prescription for an EpiPen and send them on their way. Ask questions people!!!! Do Not Allow these doctor’s to make you feel inferior. STAND UP FOR YOUR CHILD! In fact, if you feel you are not getting the information you need from your doctor…Google It! I assure you there is an article out there somewhere with the information you are looking for. The Food Allergy Research and Education website is my go to.
I hope that this post, in some way, gives you just a little insight to a better understanding of what it takes to ensure the safety of a food allergic child. It’ s work and definitely not for the weak.
Show them you have what it takes!