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For most of us, the holiday season is filled with good cheer. With multiple parties, gifts, and holiday decorations it is hard not to get in the holiday spirit – unless you are a parent of a child with food allergies.
If your child has food allergies, it is only natural to be concerned about your child as parties at school, with relatives, and with friends may present challenges. The following are some tips to help you and your child keep your holiday spirit and keep food allergies at bay.
Eight foods account for 90% of all food allergies. They are the following:
Complicating things further is that children can have multiple food allergies – so, while a friend or relative wants to substitute soy products for milk products, it may not be a safe idea. The following are some suggestions for dealing with your child’s food allergies.
Speak with your child’s teacher when the school year begins and check in again before any holiday season. The teacher, the school nurse, and the school office all should be aware of your child’s food allergies. Instead of candy or food treats, suggest that stickers, hi-bounce balls, or similar non-food items replace them.
Always send a safe snack with your child when there is a party at school or at a friend’s home for after school parties. Entrust the teacher with a bag of safe snacks in the event there is a party you didn’t prepare for in advance.
Rehearse with your son or daughter on how to say “no thank you” when offered food they are allergic to and remind your child repetitively that if they are unsure about a food and they must always politely decline.
Be prepared in the event that your child does have an allergic episode. Make sure the school has an epinephrine injector on hand to deal with anaphylaxis. Parents should always have two injectors on hand as epinephrine is the first-line for treating anaphylaxis. It makes sense to also prepare your child for how an epinephrine injector works, and what happens if it is used. Repeat this role-playing often to ensure your child has the knowledge to lessen any fears from allergic reactions and fears about epinephrine.
The Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center was founded in 1952. Today, the center has expanded to multiple offices in the Charlotte area for your convenience. Each office has one of 15 board-certified allergists providing patient care. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 704-372-7900.