Over this year we have been looking at the link between Asthma, Allergies and Eczema.
Our first article looked at what the latest research shows us. Researchers have found that allergies are more likely to develop when a person or child’s skin barrier is dysfunctional meaning it is weaker than it should be. To read all that we found, read Eczema, Asthma and Allergies Part 1: Why Does My Child Have all Three?!
Then, in May of this year we sent out a request on Facebook and Twitter to allergy parents. We asked them to share their stories of eczema, asthma and allergies. Some parents were allergy sufferers themselves as well as looking after children with allergies. We had parents from all around the world writing into us, from England to across the pond in America. Their stories are written up in Eczema, Asthma and Allergies Part 2: Your Stories.
From this research we’ve gathered some of the top things you need to know.
9 Things You Need to Know to Keep Your Child Allergy Safe
1. Get diagnosed quickly and with the right treatment plan
If you think your child might have an allergy, go and see a doctor. Repeated exposure to an unknown allergen will not only make you or your child very uncomfortable or sick, it will stop you from enjoying life. Make sure you see your doctor and get any symptoms checked out. The sooner you know what is making your child sick the sooner you can eliminate it from their diet. The right treatment plan will help you get the medication they need and know which allergens to avoid.
2. Carry medication with you everywhere
You never know when you might have an allergic reaction. Even when you are incredibly careful, sometimes accidents happen and cross-contamination may not be avoided. Make sure you have your child’s medication with them at all times! This might mean with you, with a teacher, a school nurse, a friend’s parent, a family member or on the child themselves. In the case of anaphylaxis, quick action is paramount. Make sure you are safe, not sorry.
3. Keep informed
Keep yourself informed about your child’s allergy, because no one will know it like you will. Make sure you keep yourself up to date with the medication you or your child should be taking or carrying. Make sure to keep up to date of ingredients changes by always checking the labels. Keep learning about situations that might arise leading to your child’s allergy safety being compromised, such as starting school, visiting friends, going out to dinner, going on holiday etc. Forewarned is forearmed!
4. Educate those around you
Your child’s allergy needs to be known by those they come into contact with. Use this as an opportunity to educate others around you about allergies and how they can best look after your child and keep them safe. Most people don’t know anything about allergy care. Nobody know’s your child’s allergies like you do, so make sure whoever is caring for your child knows the allergens, how to use the medication, about cross-contamination, and what to do in case of a reaction – including administering an adrenaline pen if necessary. (If you need to shock someone into listening, do it! It’s your child’s life on the line and you are their Mama Bear!)
5. Educate the allergy sufferer
Children don’t stay children forever, that means allergic children need to learn how to keep themselves allergy safe. Educate them as you are learning about their allergies. Make sure they know what will make them sick and possible places those allergens could be. Teach them how to use their medication and when to use it. Make sure they know that they can say “No” to any food they are unsure of. The more autonomy and ownership they can have over their allergy, the safer they will be able to keep themselves. (And the earlier they start to learn it, the easier it will be when they are teenagers!)
6. Read and re-read ingredients labels
Double, triple and quadruple check the labels on everything you bring into your home; from food products to cosmetics to cleaning products to stationery to everything! Depending on your child’s allergy, there is the possibility of allergens in anything and everything. Ingredients labels can also change on the whim of a manufacturing company and they don’t always advertise that it’s changed. Make sure you check ‘safe’ products on a regular basis too.
7. Keep on top of flare-ups
Keep on top of allergy flare ups, eczema and asthma flare ups. Make sure you follow the treatment plan laid out by your doctor so that your child can stay healthy and happy. Don’t ignore flare ups as this could lead to them getting worse! (Also make sure your child learns to keep on top of flare ups such as showing them where the eczema cream is when then need it.)
8. Have support
Allergies can be very tiring to manage, especially if you are new to it. Make sure you can have someone you can turn to for a support, whether that be a spouse, family member, or fellow allergy parent. Have someone you can talk to so that you can let out some of the tension. Being on “red-alert” all the time is draining. You need to make sure you have a rest to keep yourself healthy and aware.
9. Avoid allergens!
Most importantly, AVOID ALLERGENS! You know what your child is allergic to so stay away from them. Make sure your allergic child knows not to come into contact with them and make sure others know not to come near your child with known allergens.
How do you keep your allergy child safe? Let us know know your top tips by leaving a not in the comment below.
Want to learn more?
Want to learn about allergy safe cooking? Why not have a look out our recipes page, click here.