Being diagnosed a food allergy can be confusing, stressful, and learning to adapt your life around allergy/allergies can be time consuming at the beginning, putting in strategies and coping mechanisms can help day to day life. The list below can give you some ideas how to make your life easier and safer.
What to do
- Read as much information about your food allergy. Learn about your food allergy and what foods to avoid (also find out if your allergen is in your cosmetics, household products, and wash care items)
- Be aware of your own body, there are lists of symptoms, but each person is different, and symptoms can vary from person to person. Being aware of your symptoms and early onset can be the difference from an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis.
- Learn what you need to do when having a food reaction.
- Make yourself a routine to keep to, especially if there are people in the household do not have allergies.
- If it is your child that has allergies, discuss with them about foods they cannot have, their safety in words that appropriate for their age.
- If been supplied an adrenaline auto-injector pen look at the use by date add to your diary a month before to reorder. some companies have a service where you sign up and send details of your adrenaline auto-injector and they text you a reminder closer to time when the device needs replacing, so you can put in prescription into your doctors. (see link below Adrenaline auto-injectors link)
- Tell your family and friends about your allergy and how they can help if you are taken ill. Teach people about your reactions, your triggers, and especially how to treat the symptoms.
- Medical identification bracelet, necklace, keyrings, so medical personnel know what medical condition you have.
- For your child make sure that the school is informed and that the school has ordered an adrenaline auto-injector pen, food management plan, and an emergency plan. Review emergency plan yearly including in nurseries, school, college, and university.
- Order a free practice training from the website of your adrenaline auto-injector pen, especially for children. (see link below for trainer pens on the various company’s website)
- Join groups on social media for support and food ideas, but please remember not all information will be correct and there is no substitution for medical advice.
- Ask your consultant or doctor as many questions as possible, even if you feel they maybe daft, we all had to learn from the beginning and that is what they are there for.
- Avoid food that causes problems.
- Label reading, asking check labels more than once. In shop for allergens also look at traces and may contain, at home in case while shopping you have misread the label. Finally, always check labels even if the item is something you but regularly as ingredients can be changed without warning or different sizes of item are may in different factories which handles different allergens. If your child has the allergy encourage them to read the labels with you, this gives them experience, a sense of control of their allergy and finally the skills to read labels if they are not with you.
- Learn about cross contamination.
- Learn about your symptoms or your child’s symptoms.
- Always carry all medication with you for your allergy, especially even if just popping out or going to a neighbour.
- Pre-plan trips out and eating out.
- Be aware of unexpected sources of allergens.
- Restaurants, phone ahead and tell them about your allergies. Choose a time that will not busy, so the food is not rushed. Ask questions about your food. Keep food simple, avoid fried foods as grill and fryer are used for everything. Check website for allergen menu.
- Always carry Identification with you.
- Talk to your child childminder, babysitter. When hiring people to look after your child make sure you feel comfortable about your child’s safety.
- Plan a shopping list.
- Carry gloves and antibacterial wipes/ hand gel with you in case must handle allergen or traces, so you can clean your hands if washing facilities are not present. Always wash hand when possible as hand gel or antibacterial wipes cannot be relied on completely.
- Check for food recalls.
- Cook your own foods with whole ingredients.
- Consider food while breast feeding.
- Cook meals everyone will eat.
- Make a meal plan.
- Teach your child to tell you immediately if they have eaten something by mistake or if they feel poorly.
- Learn how your child’s language, for example my skin feels tickly, this could mean they feel itchy.
- Teach your child the skills they need to talk to adults if they feel unwell.
- Always teach your child to keep their medication with them.
- Teach your child how to use their adrenaline auto-injector. Trainer pens can be ordered for free off the company of your pen maker (see link below)
- For a child explain the process from symptoms, adrenaline auto-injector, emergency treatment from paramedics, ambulance, and hospital. If a child is aware of what will happen this will reduce anxiety.
- Always talk to your child and encourage them to ask questions or raise any concerns they have.
- Take care of your mental and emotional well-being, also be aware of your child’s mental and emotional well-being. It is ok to feel frustrated, upset, anxiety, but if you feel overwhelmed talk to your GP.
- Have an ICE contact on your phone see links below.
Medical ID ICE Android Google App Store
Medical ID ICE Apple Google App Store
This information is only given as guidance and not extensive. Information to be used at individual’s responsibility. Always seek medical advice.
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