6 Tips for Protecting Children from Food-Related Allergic Reactions
Allergic reactions to food can be life-threatening, especially for children. If your child has been diagnosed with a food allergy, here are six tips you can share with private household staff and others to keep them safe.
Thoroughly Understand the Allergy and Its Risks
First and foremost, make sure you speak with your child’s doctor(s) about the condition and educate yourself thoroughly on your child’s particular allergy and the risks it poses. Understand how an allergic reaction occurs and progresses, as well as what you should do to stop it. Rely heavily on respected scientific and medical sources, as misinformation can be costly.
Read All Food Labels Carefully
Even if you’re almost positive that a certain food does not contain anything that will cause a reaction in your child, you should always check the label carefully for allergens. In some cases, such as with nut allergies, look for any warnings about having been made in a place that also processes your child’s trigger foods.
Introduce Any New Foods Slowly
When trying a dish your child has never had before, take it slow. Have them try a little bit and wait for a while to see if any symptoms of a reaction occur. Even if the first test is successful, it’s best to make sure your child does not eat quickly so that you can limit the amount of allergen ingested if symptoms do start to appear.
Provide Alternative Snacks When Necessary
Because you can’t control what other children are eating, it’s important to give your child access to safe alternative snacks. Birthday parties, holidays, special school events, etc. are just a few examples of occasions on which you might want to provide some allergen-free snacks for their day.
Always Be Prepared for Emergencies
No matter how careful you are, there is always the possibility that your child will be exposed to a trigger food and suffer an allergic reaction. Talk to your child’s medical providers about what to do in this situation and what you might include in an emergency response kit. If emergency medication (like an epinephrine injection pen) is recommended, make sure you, your child, and any caregivers have doses available at all times.
Properly Inform Others, Including Private Household Staff
Awareness is absolutely crucial when it comes to reaction prevention. If your child will be spending time with friends, teachers, household staff members, or others, make sure they are well aware of the allergy—especially if there is a chance they will be serving food.
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