Help Identify Food Allergies in Other Children
It’s easy to become an advocate when your child develops a food allergy. Life after the diagnosis often means being vocal about your child’s allergy to everyone they come in contact with, doing constant research and finding ways to make life easier within society for everyone with food allergies.
Another way you can help is by noticing signs and symptoms in children who have not been diagnosed. With your knowledge and experience, you’re in a prime position to help this population.
Much of your life is now focused on how to manage your own child’s food allergy and potentially supporting others within the food allergy community. But it’s important to realize that not all children with a food allergy have yet been diagnosed or treated. Work you do to create awareness will help this group, just as much as those who have been diagnosed.
Keep in mind studies have found some differences in diagnosis by race and income, so some children may be more at risk of having an allergy without knowing it. For example, research found that black children had a 25 percent lower likelihood of getting a diagnosis, while also reporting higher food allergy rates.
Yet, rates of food allergies and anaphylactic reactions have risen significantly over time. With so many children developing food allergies and many of them being undiagnosed, people like you who are aware of allergies and symptoms are an important resource.
Keep a Friendly Eye Open
When you have your child’s friend eating at your home, or you’re spending time with a group of children, check for signs of food allergies. By being attentive to the signs and symptoms, you may help identify an allergy that has gone unnoticed. Since food allergies can cause life-threatening symptoms, undiagnosed food allergies can be dangerous. You could potentially save a life by paying attention.
We have a post on recognizing signs and symptoms for you to review.
It’s especially worth paying attention when children are eating one of the top 8 food allergens, which include:
How You Can Help
If you notice severe symptoms in a child, you should seek immediate medical attention. When the signs are mild to moderate, let the parent know what you have witnessed and that these signs could indicate a food allergy. If possible, it will help if you can let the parent know what the child ate before reacting.
You can start the conversation by asking if the child has a known food allergy. If not, you shouldn’t diagnose the child yourself but instead suggest that the parent take the child to see their doctor or an allergist. You could potentially make a recommendation for a good allergist in the area.
It could be helpful for you to let the parent know the potential dangers of a food allergy so they understand the weight of the situation. If possible, offer to be part of the family’s support system if the child is diagnosed with a food allergy. Hopefully, you can include the family in a group of supportive parents.
You may also consider finding ways to educate about allergies to groups of parents who may be unaware their children could have food allergies. By spreading awareness however you can, you’ll help those who are still undiagnosed to recognize signs and symptoms.