5 Lifestyle Decisions for Families with a Food Allergy
If you’ve ever experienced the devastating effects of a severe food allergy, then you know it is a serious issue. Kids with life-threatening allergies must be concerned with avoiding exposure to allergens every single day, and their families must make lifestyle decisions to keep them safe. We asked parents about ways they ensure their children’s safety in regards to food allergies. Here’s what they had to say:
- Find relief. In traditional school systems, there are a lot of allergy triggers. From peanut butter snacks in the classroom, to cooking in the cafeteria, there’s no safe haven for kids with food allergies. Not only is this an unsafe health environment, it can effect them academically as well. A choice of different education options, including online schools and homeschooling can give families the power to keep their kids safe every day, and allow them to thrive academically.
- Send special snacks. It may seem like a no-brainer, but not all parents/homes/etc. are equipped with snacks that meet the requirements of your child’s diet. Whether they haven’t been to the grocery store that week, or just don’t stock items that you normally do, packing a few safe items is a great habit. You may already have your own go-to items, but there are plenty of resources for snack ideas, and you may stumble upon a new favorite.
- Make a ‘no thank you’ food list. Teaching your child what they can’t eat isn’t such a simple task. Peanut allergies, for example, can span from avoiding the all-too-familiar peanut butter and jelly sandwich to foods that are cooked with peanut oil—and there are a lot of those. Keep a cheat sheet with your child’s things so if there’s ever a question, they can easily find the answer.
- Share information. Those who aren’t familiar with food allergies may minimize the significance of it. Whether they encourage a child to have a little bite, or avoid the issue of allergies altogether, the results could be tragic. Another great asset to have on the cheat sheet that you give to teachers, coaches, and other parents is the reaction that particular ingredients cause (i.e. swollen tongue, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc.).
- Be prepared. No matter how much you try to avoid the attack(s), they may still happen. If you’ve taken your child to a board-certified allergist, they may have prescribed an inhaler and epinephrine for such unexpected attacks. It’s important that these items are with your child at all times, and that the adult in charge knows how to use the medication.
Do you have a child with a food allergy? How do you handle talking to teachers, sending your children to friends’ houses, and planning meals? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @LearningLiftoff.
Featured Image – Dean Hochman / CC by 2.o
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.