Guest blogger and SAGE Director of Nutrition Lesley Vogel wraps up her two-part series on being the parent of a food allergic child. Here are her tips for adjusting to a new way of life:
"Looking back on our food allergy journey, I can honestly say we are in a good place. So, how did we get to this point? Let me share what I've learned so far.
Here are my 'food allergy mom and dietitian' top four tips:
1- Walk this path with your child, but not for them. You won't always be there, so they must learn to do it for themselves. Empower them to manage their allergy – they will need to do it for the rest of their life.
2- Teach them to talk to friends, chefs and waitstaff about their allergy. Teach them to read labels. Teach them to say no to questionable food.
3- Read every label every time. Manufacturing practices and ingredients can change. Grocery shopping takes longer, but your child's life is worth it.
4- Put signs on your door, your car dashboard, or wherever you need them to always remember your epinephrine. Don't be without it. EVER.
My allergist once said to me, it's not a matter of IF she has a reaction, it's a matter of WHEN. I thought, no way. I'm too careful. I was wrong. Humans make mistakes. Be ready! You CAN manage food allergies in this world, as you wait alongside me, my daughter, and the millions of others affected by food allergies for the day there's a cure!”
Lesley's daughter is now a happy and healthy teenager. She outgrew her peanut allergy, the tree nut allergy remains. She carries epinephrine where ever she goes.
May is Food Allergy Awareness month. For more information and what you can do to raise awareness click here!