No one wants to compromise a child’s health. But some parents of kids with allergies say they’re challenged by people who don’t understand that even trace amounts of a food can trigger a potentially fatal allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis.
Allergies, especially food allergies, can be a serious matter. Food allergies are on the rise, and the reaction some experience, especially children, can be severe or even fatal.
I have found that some people just don’t get it. Try as they may, they do not understand the seriousness of the reaction. Perhaps they don’t understand how something that is good and nourishing for their body can be deadly and poisonous to someone else.
I also once heard a lady telling a small group of people that what her children had (Celiac disease) was a food allergy. This concerned me enough that I called her out on it. Her response was that no one knew or understood Celiac disease, so she told people that her kids had a food allergy since allergies are more common. I tried to explain to the group that this was very damaging to children that do have true food allergies since for some children a minute amount of allergen could mean death if not treated.
I once had someone ask me about my daughter’s peanut allergy, “It’s not serious is it?” I asked what she meant be serious. “Well, it’s not fatal or anything?” I let her know that it could be. I was glad to have this conversation with this person. At least now I know to never leave my daughter in her care.
As a parent of a small child with a severe food allergy, leaving my daughter with others is probably my biggest fear. All children eventually have to learn about their allergy and make sure that the ingredients are checked for everything they consume. Until then, this is up to the caregivers. This is old hat in my entire family since I have a younger sister that also had food allergies. We are quite the spectacle at holiday dinners and special gatherings–swooping in to check the ingredients of all the dishes like a hawk swooping in to capture its prey. However, I know that most people don’t understand and aren’t as vigilant as we are.
After having allergy shots myself for five years as a child, needles and shots don’t bother me a bit. I proved that last summer when I had to inject my daughter with her epi-pen and then take her to the emergency room.
As a parent, I must be prepared to check all food ingredients, say no to a lot of things, carry a bag of peanut-free snacks wherever we go, make sure my daughter has medication with her at all times, and handle an emergency situation if need be. It is also my responsibility to make sure that anyone else taking care of my child can do the same until she is able to do that herself. It is a big responsibility, and unfortunately there are a lot of people that are not able to take it on.
- My kids’ allergies have turned me into a bag lady (theglobeandmail.com)