When it comes to managing your child’s food allergies, you are probably learning every day. You’re learning what questions to ask, what foods are deceptive, and what signs to look for if a reaction starts to occur. But what about your child? If they’re of an age to identify the foods in front of them, you can begin to show them ways to help manage (with supervision) their own food allergies.
1. Teach them what they’re allergic to. Just as you teach your child their address, parents’ names, and phone numbers, teach them what they’re allergic to. You can even have allergy-alert bracelets made for them to wear, which will reinforce this knowledge too.
2. Teach them to speak up. Make sure your child feels comfortable saying to any grownup handing them food, “I am allergic to _______________.” Even if the adult is handing them watermelon and your child says, “I’m allergic to strawberries,” at least the adult will know NOT to give the child a strawberry.
3. Teach them to identify. If your child is allergic to strawberries, make sure they know other items strawberries lurk: in strawberry jam, for instance, or in a “mixed berry” dessert.
4. Teach them to be aware of their bodies. Make sure your child is aware of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. If they begin to notice an itchy mouth, trouble breathing, a rash, nausea, or anything out of the ordinary after eating they need to know that these are signs of an allergic reaction.
5. Teach them what to do. Make sure your child knows what to do if he or she accidentally ingests something they are allergic to. This may include letting an adult know to call 911, having someone use an epinephrine auto injector (do these work for food allergies too?) or having someone keep a close eye on them to make sure symptoms don’t get worse.
When it comes to food allergies, knowledge is key! Make sure your child is as knowledgeable as they can be for their age about the things they’re allergic to. Need to make an appointment? Contact us.