When you first get a food allergy diagnosis, whether it is yourself or your child, it can be overwhelming. There is so much going on inside your head and it is hard to process all of the information. I wish someone would have given me a detailed plan when my son was first diagnosed. Sloane's first set of tips were to identify the issue, break it down and then tackle each issue one by one. The end result will be that you can live life and not let anything hold you back.
You first need to understand the food allergy diagnosis. One good way to start is to set up a consultation with a board certified allergist. Be sure to create a full page of you or your child's health history. This includes any food allergic reactions that happened prior to diagnosis. Then there should be a second page with all your questions, which may include; what does this food diagnosis mean? What do I need to avoid? What is my Anaphylaxis Action Plan? You need to have that "I know feeling" when you leave that office.
Communicating your food allergies with others can be a challenge, but it is very important to be clear, factual and firm. Sloane Miller said, "You have nothing to prove." "This is real, this is serious and this is how you take care of it." You should never apologize for your food allergies. I know this is something that we all tend to do, but this is not your fault or your choice. Food allergies are real and serious.
Forming positive food relationships is very important. Surround yourself with "safe" friends. These are friends that never question your food allergies. It is also good to have food allergy allies. These are others that have food allergies themselves and can understand what you are going through. The best place to start is a local support group. Find one in your area here.
If you have a young child with a food allergy, it is very important to prepare your child. There are many online resources available for children that are age appropriate. As your child gets older, you need to continue to talk about their food allergies and make sure they are always prepared. There may be certain things that they do not feel comfortable talking to you about, such as dating and kissing. It may be easier for them to talk to their allergist about certain aspects of their food allergies. It is a must that your child has a direct line of communication with their allergist. When your child goes to the allergist, have them write down their questions. This way they leave the office feeling like they got all of their questions answered and the parent also feels better knowing that their child isn't out there guessing and wondering. A recent study done by Mylan revealed that only 47% of parents tell their teen that when going on dates, they should tell their date about their life-threatening food allergy. Read more here.
If you are having a difficult time coping and managing you or your child's food allergies, try talking to a professional. There are excellent food allergy coaches and consultants out there that can help you get the food allergy confidence that you and your child need. Click here to see if a list food allergy coaches.
Watch this video by Sloane Miller: