What You Need to Know if Your Child Is Diagnosed With Severe Food Allergies
Receiving a diagnosis of a severe food allergy for your child can be devastating. Some foods are incredibly difficult to avoid. Your life will be forever changed by having to plan where you’re going and where your child will eat. It's also important to always have emergency medication on hand. Learn all you can about this allergy in order to help protect and educate your child and those around you.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
Most parents end up discovering that their child has a food allergy by noticing some form of a reaction. A reaction can be minor, and there are times when a food allergy will present a life-threatening reaction. A rash is a common symptom. Other symptoms include congestion, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, stomach upset and trouble breathing. It’s important to note that consumption of the allergen may not produce a reaction every single time. A child can tolerate peanuts the first time they consume them. The next time, they could be anaphylactic.
Be Prepared for Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis occurs for a very severe allergy. This will result in a child having trouble breathing. They may also vomit, have trouble staying focused or awake or become dizzy. If you know that your child has an allergy, you may want to ask your child’s allergist for an epinephrine auto-injector. It’s a good idea to always carry more than one EpiPen with you. A child may need more than one dose of the EpiPen before feeling better. Always follow up an injection with a trip to the doctor or ER.
Avoid Allergic Reactions
Moving forward, you now have the information necessary to help prevent future reactions. Reading every nutritional label on every product you purchase is a great place to start. When you eat at someone else’s home or in a restaurant, do your research ahead of time. You can offer to bring a safe dish to pass. You can speak with the chef to find out if a safe meal can be prepared for your child. Don’t be afraid to turn down an invitation or find another location if you aren’t comfortable with your child’s safety.
Managing a food allergy is something that can be effectively done. It takes a little bit of time to learn everything that you need to know in order to make safe decisions about your child’s care. As they get older, you can teach them to advocate for themselves as well.
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