If you suspect your child has a food allergy, it's critical that you have your child tested. However, even more important is that you allow your child to play an active role in the process as well as any diagnosis that may follow.
Have a Family Discussion
As soon as you recognize an allergy red flag, you need to arrange a sit-down with the entire family. As you all gather together, let everyone know what foods you suspect your child might be allergic to. The more the whole family is involved, the more you can work together to protect your loved one.
Talk About Testing
Let your child know that you have scheduled an allergy test for them. Ideally, try to schedule an appointment with the allergy provider before the actual testing date. You can use this pre-appointment as a way for your child to ask any questions about the process and to settle any uncertainties they might have.
Ask for a Treatment Demonstration
If the test results determine that your child does have a food allergy, ask the provider for a treatment demonstration. If your child will need to use an epinephrine autoinjector, a demonstration is critically important so that you, or your child, will know exactly what to do in the event of a severe reaction.
Look for Role Models
It's not uncommon for a child to feel a bit isolated if they are diagnosed with a food allergy. They might see their friends enjoying certain foods and not fully understand why they can't too. Since food allergies are so common, try to find someone they can look up to or even someone they know who also has a food allergy. Merely knowing that they aren't alone can do a lot for your child's confidence.
Create an Info Card
It's a good idea to create an info card that your child can keep on them at all times, such as in their backpack or their wallet. The info card should list all food allergies that your child might have. The info card is excellent in the event your child is in the care of someone else or in the event your child needs a bit of a reminder of what types of foods they should stay away from.
No matter what type of questions or concerns you or your child might have, an allergy care provider will be able to answer them for you. With the increased knowledge, you can have greater confidence that you and your child are equipped to handle their medical needs.
Call professionals like the Allergy Asthma Specialists for help diagnosing and treating your child's allergies.