Helping Your Child Stay Confident While Managing Food AllergiesJanuary 24, 2014

Helping Your Child Stay Confident While Managing Food Allergies

Families who live with food allergies know how challenging it can be to plan for events and outings in order to ensure that a child will not have an allergic response and will be appropriately prepared if an allergic response were to occur. Because of the risk of an allergic response occurring, it can be extremely stressful for parents to allow children to be in settings where parents are not present. As children grow and become more social, it becomes increasingly important for parents to equip them with the tools to effectively manage their allergies in various situations.

While any substance can be problematic for any individual, there are some common offending foods, including dairy, wheat, soy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Many of these foods, particularly dairy and wheat, are often found in commercially packaged foods, making it important to read product labels very carefully to prevent an infraction. Teaching children to practice ‘clean eating’, or eating foods in their natural state, is not only healthier for them, but reduces the added investigative work they must do when faced with packaged foods.

Some allergies result in rashes, hives or other physical changes, and even behavioral changes. Serious food reactions can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition, which is why it is so very important that children know and understand what foods are not tolerated and to refrain from choosing or accepting these foods from others. Teaching children to problem solve and make healthy choices for their bodies can lesson anxiety and improve the overall management of allergies.

Refraining from offending foods is critical to prevent an immune system allergy response. While in some cases, children may outgrow their food problems, this is not always true. Children must know what foods they are allergic to and how to recognize an allergic reaction. Teaching children to learn to read food labels and confidently choose foods that are safe is an important job for parents. Additionally, children should carry and know how to administer life-saving medication should they have a serious reaction to an offending food substance.

Raising a confident child is an important part of parenting. Dealing with food allergic children adds significantly to the worries and stress parents must live with every day. Teaching affected children to confidently manage their food allergies with increasing independence is a critical part of ensuring their safety. Children who understand and appropriately acknowledge their food allergies will generally find understanding and acceptance from those around them. Parents of allergic children can provide them with the knowledge, skills and support they need to help them live full, healthy and happy lives.