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Today, after suffering from an accidentally self-induced allergic reaction to some sort of nut in fancy cookies offered to me by a dear friend, I found myself curious about the intricacies of my unfortunate genetic predicament. So, ever-so-studiously punching terms into what I fondly call the University of Google, here is what I came up with:
I learned most of this information from firsthand experience, and I find it necessary to point out that children with food allergies should not be treated too differently from children who are lucky enough to not have any food allergies. When I was in middle school, there was a specified table for people who had a peanut allergy, lovingly dubbed “the peanut table”. Separating children from their peers because of something they can’t control? I always felt like an outcast when forced to sit there. Don’t let your children feel like they are freaks by over-emphasizing their allergy. Obviously, it is important to be careful when you are eating out with your child, or when your child is at a birthday party, but it is even more important for them to feel like they fit in. Teach your child to always make sure of the ingredients in their food when they are out, and also to always carry some form of Benadryl (the most convenient kind for me are the Benadryl tongue strips, but I like the pill form as well). For more severe allergies, request that the food be prepared in a different setting than any surfaces that have been touched by peanuts (or any other allergen). Learn what safe foods are available to your child, but don’t limit the recipes. There are plenty of delicious peanut-free recipes out there! Last but not least, let your child live their life. As a 17-year veteran of my allergy, I have definitely learned about the right and wrong foods to ingest, and also the action plan I need to follow if I ever happen to ingest peanuts (rinse rigorously, take Benadryl). Happy eating!
Jamie Imperial is a sixteen going on seventeen year old aspiring journalist with a penchant for putting snarky comments into everyday conversation. She enjoys her daily hippogriff rides, watching/critiquing movies and reading books. She probably won’t text you back.
Sources: www.foodallergy.org/page/glossary , http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=517 , http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/svc/alpha/e/eosinophilic/doctors_comment1.htm , www.childrensnational.org (Wood-_Peanut_Allergy_DC_Childrens.pdf) , http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peanut-allergy/DS00710/DSECTION=symptoms