Fear of the Unkown

By Guest Blogger Erin Smith
Family Allergies: Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts and Other

How did you first learn about your family's allergies? My daughter had a reaction after having the flu shot (It contains eggs and may have had contact with latex). Looking back we now know why she was always so sick. Her 1st ER visit was at 8 weeks when I must have eaten an allergen prior to nursing her. My other daughter never had a reaction as I pushed for testing the minute that she developed her first rash.

What's the worst part of having food allergies in your family?
1. Fear of the unknown. When will she test her limits? She is only 3. Right now she believes us, but I know that one day she is going to challenge our authority. I fear that she will try foods just to see what will happen as she does not truly understand the severity of her allergies.
2. Walking the line of educating her about her allergies. I don't want her to grow up hating food or being fearful of trying new things. She is only 3 and does not understand the consequences (possible death).
2. Feeling stranded. We would love to fly to Disney Land or across the country to see family; however, her allergies limit us to driving and taking our own food everywhere we go.

For us, food allergies has lead to many unexpected joys. Can you share one positive thing that you've learned or something good that's happened because of food allergies? Our family has been very understanding. They look up new, fun recipes to accommodate us. We have explored foods that we never would have even thought about.

If you could travel back in time, to when you first learned about your child's food allergies, what advice would you give yourself? Trust my instincts. Our doctor did not want to do allergy testing so early when I suggested a possible milk allergy. Had we not eventually tested her she may have had a much more severe reaction to one of her other allergens.

Do you have any additional comments or questions you'd like to see posted? I'd love any advice on schooling children with allergies. Any tips or things to avoid. I'm very apprehensive about kindergarten!

Note from Tiffany: Thanks Erin for sharing your story! We took our first overnight-hotel trip this summer and preparation was key (bringing all the food, plates, utensils, hot pot, hospital info, etc.). We haven't tackled flying, although it sounds like you have family at a distance. That must be difficult. I've seen a good discussion about schooling children on "Kids with Food Allergies", here. From our FAAN sponsored support group meetings, I hear parents suggest being highly involved, requesting to be the "room mom", and being prepared to bring in treats. Also, another parents suggested having a "safe treat" box in the classroom for unexpected celebrations, and establishing a "no food unless mom sends it in" rule. You might also find ideas for safe treats on the Enjoy Life website, here. If you don't have a Food Allergy Support Group in your area, you could start one. There's a link to a current list, here. Best of luck to you! Thanks again :)