What your Allergic child needs as they grow

As many of us have have changed over the years so have the needs of our food allergic child. As the parent of a first born infant, we were (for the most part) able to keep our allergic child safe. Years passed and our allergic toddler became preschool bound ; the issues of compliance at school became more difficult and more and more we fought for Nut free schools. Those with less common allergies had more stress, as it was very difficult to make a school dairy free or gluten free  – we had this issue with fish. As my allergic child went to elementary school I was able to pack his lunch and pray that he never ate anyone else’s food. Then, we had to get through to the “party years” birthday parties and celebrations without me trying to helicopter around right behind. I sent the special cupcakes and it worked usually  – at some point I became guilt ridden and used bribery for other material items as a trade off. Overnight Camp was even doable with a few minor reactions – with 1 in 13 children affected by food allergies – at least the camp became Nut free. These years lingered on and on and the sibling who had out grown his allergies had a more difficult time eating and had to do without or wait for those special times when he could eat the “poison” elsewhere .

Where everything got sticky and anxiety packed for me as a parent was at age 12  – the “I am going to ride my bike to the corner with my buddies and get candy (of course, candy that was on the OK list). This generally required a 10 min speech from me along with the expected shove of epinephrine/Benadryl into his pockets . These years were very difficult and to be honest I don’t know how I got through them. Though, in this pocket of time, a couple amazing things happened – his dairy allergy and egg allergy were outgrown. This just left Tree Nuts and all Fish – well no problem we, can do that , lol !

So here we are now at 16 ; he’s driving around hanging out with friends and frequenting restaurants . How does an allergy parent keep it together and give their child the independence they need while trying to stay reaction free? Setting your child up with all the necessary items they need for success ! At this age as a teenager, please have these things available to them :

-Epinephrine

-Antihistamine ( if on allergist action plan).

-Carrier to hold Epi injector, etc ;Ouch Pouch on Esty has great choices that are great for males also.

-Cellphone that has a tracking device so you can tell where they are.

-Knowledge of their allergen(s) and how to identify them and where they may be hidden in foods (FARE, Food Allergy.org).

-The CONFIDENCE to talk to restaurant staff, ask questions and discuss their allergen/menu choice.

-Feeling comfortable to call you to ask your opinion about a choice.

– Friends that are supportive and understand that if there is a reaction to inject and then go to ER.

 

It seems like it will never get easier and we will always worry ; and we will because we LOVE them ! The years have flown and we must give them WINGS as well as the understanding that nothing tastes as good as SAFE 💙.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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