Taking a trip down memory lane this week reminded me of everything I’ve been through and everything we’ve been through as a family while dealing with allergies, whether food or chemical. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things that I think are helpful and want to share:
- When talking to your children about food, use the words “safe” and “not safe” often, even when they are too young to understand. I did this with my son and by the age of two, he understood if I said a food was not safe for him, he could not have it.
- Check every label, even if you bought the same product yesterday. Things are constantly changing. What was safe yesterday, may not be safe tomorrow.
- Check the label in person. I ordered something online for my son that appeared safe. When the item arrived the label was different by one ingredient and was no longer safe for him.
- You will find allergens in unexpected places, so always make it clear that an allergy exists. For example, eggs can be found in anesthesia used during medical procedures.
- If you have more than one child, dedicate a cabinet to the child with food allergies. This is helpful because the child will learn where their safe snacks are, and if you have a babysitter or family visiting, they will also know where to find food for them.
- I also purchased these stickers, yellow smiley face for safe and red sad face for unsafe. Again, this helped John tell the difference between food that was safe and food that was not safe and also let our babysitter know what food John could eat.
- If a situation makes you uncomfortable, avoid it. You shouldn’t have to jeopardize your child’s life to save some hurt feelings. We skipped a family birthday party because eight of the 10 foods they were serving contained eggs. John is severely allergic to eggs, so we told them straight out we can’t be there because of what you’re serving. People will eventually get over it, you will not eventually get your kid back.
Below are some of the products I find really useful, especially for school:*
- I have two of these PracMedic EPIPEN Carrying Cases, one for us and one to leave at school. Each has two Auvi-Q auto-injectors, Benadryl and a syringe for administering Benadryl. It makes it easy to carry all of your medications in one place.
- Sometimes John has different teachers during his lunchtime and I feel much better knowing that everyone is informed of his food allergies just by looking at his Allermate I Have Food Allergies Fun Characters Eco Friendly Insulated Children’s Food Safety Lunch Box.
- I send all of John’s lunch and snacks in these Fit & Fresh Kid’s Reusable Lunch Box Container Sets with Built-in Ice Packs to keep them cold. There is the option to have his food put in the refrigerator with everyone else’s food, but I’m not taking the chance of something getting mixed up and him getting the wrong food that’s not safe for him.
- I send my son to school with a Cartoon Medical Alert ID Bracelet on so that anyone he encounters is aware that he has food allergies and what his allergies are. Teachers are always in and out and I don’t want there to be any questions.
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