Food allergies are widespread, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a cause for concern. Even if many kids and adults live with the condition, that isn’t a sign that you should just ignore it. The very moment that you suspect a potential food allergy, you should already seek medical attention for it.
That’s because the symptoms of allergic reactions can vary from mild to severe. Mild reactions can involve a runny nose, sneezing, hives, itchiness, redness, or swelling around the eyes and lips. But severe reactions can cause tightening of the airways, anaphylaxis, or an anaphylactic shock, which can be lethal if not addressed immediately.
So knowing what your child is dealing with can help you take the appropriate measures for their safety. For example, if your child reacted abnormally to a food product, you should go to a doctor to see if you can get a diagnosis for food intolerance or a food allergy. This way, you’ll know what you should do next.
If your child is proven to have a food allergy, here’s what you can do to help them prevent allergic reactions:
Avoid Their Triggers
As a parent, it is your job to make sure that your child is only eating food products that are safe for them. After all, you’re the one preparing all their meals and snacks, so it will be easier to be careful of what they eat. For instance, if they have a nut or egg allergy, then you have to be wary not to feed them anything with these ingredients.
Instilling this habit of staying away or avoiding their triggers can help them once they’re old enough to choose their own food. Since they already know what’s not good for them, they’ll find it easier to adjust their diet and food choices because they’re used to such practices. So, help them form the habit.
If there is a chance that your child is going over to a friend’s house or having a celebration at school, make sure to notify the parent or the teacher supervising the activities about your child’s food allergy. This way, you can ensure that your child won’t be harmed because of oversight or miscommunication.
Keep up with Their Treatment
Most food allergies can be managed, provided that the patient and their families know about their condition. This way, the risk of triggering a food allergy is reduced. But some children can outgrow their food allergies over time, which is why it’s important to conduct regular consultations with an allergist.
If the physician recommends a treatment plan for your child, you should follow it religiously. Doing so will help your child have a much better quality of life since they won’t have to be wary of their food allergy constantly. But of course, every situation is different, so as a parent, you still need to be vigilant.
There is no cure for allergies, but it will be easier for your child to manage their symptoms through preventive measures. But even if your child is old enough to avoid their triggers on their own, it won’t hurt to read the nutritional labels on the food products you buy for the house to lessen the risk of causing an allergic reaction.
Be Ready with Their Medication
You can’t always predict what happens next. Even if you are strictly avoiding your child’s food allergy triggers at home, there’s still a possibility that they can be exposed to them accidentally. When this happens, you need to be prepared with your child’s emergency medication, such as an EpiPen.
However, you should note that EpiPens are only used when a person is experiencing anaphylaxis or is in anaphylactic shock. This auto-injectable device is a life-saving instrument that should only be used in emergency cases, so you shouldn’t depend on them for every allergic scare. But it pays to have one or two on hand at all times.
If your child is only experiencing mild allergic reactions, such as digestive issues, runny nose, sneezing, or hives, you can let them take an antihistamine. For asthma-like symptoms like a tightened airway, on the other hand, you can use a bronchodilator or a rescue inhaler as a short-term solution.
Food allergies can be difficult to live with, especially because not all food labels have indicators of what ingredients they contain. But by helping your child become vigilant about the food they consume, you’ll teach them how to avoid triggering a mild or severe allergic reaction simply because of oversight.