Sentiments for non-food allergy parents from the food allergy community, plus using books to teach children about food allergies.
More often than not, the reality that the average food allergy parent lives in goes unnoticed in the non-food allergy world. How do I know this? Not long ago, I was there. I was a non-food allergy parent. Oblivious to the danger and fear that food allergy parents face daily. This is exactly why I put this blog post together.
I’ve compiled a list of a few sentiments that, as someone who has only been a food allergy mom for a little over a year, wishes the non-food allergy world knew. Sure, the list could have been way longer, but as hard as it was (I like to talk, can’t you tell?), I wanted to present my audience with a few key takeaways. Here are my 5 Things Food Allergy Parents Want You to Know.
1. Do not blame us. Why do food allergies happen to adults? Why such an increase in food allergies in children? That’s the million dollar question! No direct link, lifestyle choice, medical history, environmental factors, diet or where you live in the world can, without a doubt, be pointed to as a main reason why someone has food allergies and someone does not.
2. There is no cure. Food allergies are a life sentence, especially when it comes to a peanut or tree nut allergy. Only about 20% of those with a peanut allergy will outgrow it. Some food allergies, like milk, egg and soy, have a better chance of being outgrown. Clinical trials exist (for a select group) to help boost food allergy tolerance. You can learn more here. There is also a patch, specifically for peanut allergies, that is on the horizon. This again, is not a cure.
3. Ask us questions. Please, engage in a conversation with a food allergy parent with an open mind. Often, untrue notions, wives tales and false information is brought to the table. When you receive information “straight from the horses mouth,” you are hearing first hand knowledge from those who live within the food allergy community daily.
4. Empathy and understanding go along way. Individuals who take the time to put themselves in our shoes, even if it’s at the basic level of being a fellow parent, do not realize how much of a positive impact they have on the life of a food allergy parent. It’s the simple things…asking us if a certain food is safe, sending us a menu ahead of time, letting us bring safe food, all amount to what may seem like a small task, but in the eyes of a food allergy parent, have a big impact.
5. Food allergies are truly a matter of life and death. We are not being high maintenance. We are not requesting actions due to being entitled. We are not being helicopter parents. We, as food allergy parents, recognize the daily danger our food allergy children face. We’ve seen our children almost lose their life due to the smallest ingestion of a known allergen. We, as food allergy parents, have ridden and still do ride, a roller coaster of emotions…fear, anxiety, worry, depression, acceptance, isolation, confusion.
Educating Children on Food Allergies
Food allergy education, for non-food allergy children especially, can be difficult and hard to grasp. You are trying to teach them about an invisible threat to a peer. It’s kinda mind blowing…a food that they enjoy, if even ingested in the tiniest amount, has the potential to seriously harm someone they may know.
What better way to teach children about food allergies than through books? Thankfully, fellow blogger Babies to Bookworms has taken the time to review and list a handful of easily attainable books that do a wonderful of educating both allergic and non-allergic children.
Jump on over to Babies to Bookworms to find some Unique Books to Teach Kids About Food Allergies.