Today’s Guest:

me, Nina Modak 😀

WEBSITE: right here, you’re in the right place 😉

TWITTER: @eatallergysafe

Today’s podcast episode I mixed up a little. I decided, at the last minute, to do a Facebook live episode. I wanted to talk about how to tell other people about your allergies. I walk you through my 5 step method to stop being embarrassed and keep yourself or your allergic child safe.

What You’ll Learn:

All about my 5 Step Method:

Step 1: Be Bold!

Feeling like you are inconveniencing another person can make us feel embarrassed. Asking another person, especially if you don’t know them very well to take steps outside of their usual routine in order to cater for you can make us feel nervous. But when it comes to your allergy, you need to set this aside and be bold, even if you don’t feel it.

You are your own allergy advocate. Be bold, step outside of your usual comfort zone and don’t think about what other people might think about you.

I remind myself that that no person’s feelings are as important as your life.

Step 2: Be Calm, Be Factual, Be Honest

Being calm is a lot easier said than done. Believe me, I know, I’ve been there! But even though it is a challenge to keep calm when someone is spouting nonsense about what they think they know about allergies, it is still essential. Why is it essential? Because when you are emotional at another person, they will become resistant to being open to understanding your position.

Think about it like this, if someone is flapping their arms in your face and getting more and more erratic, what do you want to do? You want to get away from them. You aren’t willing to listen. Through their erratic and emotional behaviour they elicited a resistance in you.

My goal when explaining about my allergy is to get other people to listen and follow my instructions to the letter so that my life is not put at risk. In order to give myself the best chance of success, I don’t want to alienate people before I’ve even started explaining.

When I do explain, I am factual and honest. There is no point playing it down, in the worst case it could be a life and death matter, so I need make others aware of this fact so that they take it seriously.

People need to understand WHY they need to take precautions. When I explain it calmly, factually and honestly people usually listen to my “why” more carefully and will take the appropriate precautions.

Step 3: Show People How Easy It Is

Once I have given people the facts, I need to lead by example. I need to continue to be vigilant in asking questions and checking ingredients, but I also show them that I don’t worry about missing out. I show them that maybe I can’t have one food, but I can have an alternative.

One of the best things about allergies is that you know what makes you sick. That means you know what to avoid! That’s what makes it easy to manage!

Step 4: Be Approachable

Like you may have felt a bit embarrassed to tell others about your allergy, carers/friends/family/etc may feel embarrassed to keep asking about what might or might not be safe.

I make sure that those people I’m trying to educate know that they can ask me as many times as they need to about what may or may not be safe. After all they may be terrified about sending me into hospital. Other people asking questions is great because it means they are being educated and more importantly wanting to be educated.

Step 5: You Can Say “NO”

Sometimes, even when I’ve gone through all the the above steps, there are some people I just don’t trust believe me or understand what I’m saying. You will probably know what I’m talking about, that allergy 6th sense. Trust this instinct. It will most likely be right. There is no point taking unnecessary risks with your life.

I always remember that I can say “no” to any food I don’t trust. I always know that I can walk out of a restaurant (and have done) if I don’t trust the waiting staff or the food, I know that I can always refuse food at friend’s or family’s houses. I always remember that their feelings are not as important as my life and I am in charge of my allergy. I know my allergy better than anyone and so I need to be my own advocate, sometimes that means saying “no, thank you.”

Allergy Parent’s Step: Educate Your Allergic Child

Your child will most likely be living with their allergy for the rest of their life, so the sooner they know what they are allergic to, how to ask questions and that they can say “no” to food they don’t trust (even if an adult is saying it is, the safer they are going to be.

Don’t ever hide your child’s allergy from them. Your allergic child is going to be the best advocate for their allergy, so like you are with other people you need to teach your child calmly, factually and honestly about their allergy.

No child is too young to start learning about their allergy, put it in simple language so they can understand. Encourage your allergic child to ask questions, to practice reading ingredients labels even if they can’t read yet. Teach them how easy it is to manage their allergy, and that they aren’t missing out, they just have to do things differently! In the end, their school friends will want what they’ve got ;p!

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

To get more EAS content sent directly to your device as they become available, you can subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio!

One of our little goals we would love to achieve for is to get into the iTunes “New & Noteworthy” Section, it means we get free front page advertising on iTunes, how great for allergy awareness! But we can’t do it without you. Please subscribe, rate and review on iTunes so that the people at Apple will take notice of our podcast

And lastly, if you have any questions, thoughts, or guests you want to see on the show, please contact me via the contact page.

Want to share your story? Got a suggestion?

Have you got a story you’d like to share with the rest of the EAS community?

If you’ve had an allergy win, big or small, if you’ve learned something about managing allergies/coeliac disease/IBS/etc that you believe would benefit others I want to hear from you!

Use the contact form to the left and send me an email. Tell me who you are and little about your story. Then we’ll go from there!

Alternatively, is there someone you’d like to be a guest on the podcast? Maybe a family member, friend, celebrity, business owner or blogger for example who has been particularly inspirational to you. Send me an email (using the contact for to the left) with who they are and why you find their story inspirational/uplifting. Also a contact details if you have them!

Then I’ll do my best to get in touch with them!

Thanks everyone!

Best wishes,

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