Ask Allergy Aunt: How do I make my In-Laws understand cross-contamination risks?

Ask Allergy Aunt: How do I make my In-Laws understand cross-contamination risks?

Ask Allergy Aunt your questions, queries and frustrations dealing with allergies and living a free from lifestyle. She send you some words of wisdom and encouragement to support you.

Dear Allergy Aunt,

We are relatively new to dealing with a peanut allergy for my daughter. I have a question. We are visiting my in laws for 10 days. They want to be onside with the no peanut product policy but still don’t seem to fully get it. Today my mother-in-law buys fresh bagels baked in a non-peanut free bakery and says “oh of course she can’t eat them…” At our own home we just wouldn’t buy something like this … So what do you say? How do you handle situations when you’re in someone else’s house? I truly don’t think she’s trying to be dismissive. She just doesn’t understand the risk. Also my daughter is only a year so she’s handled by others regularly.

Allergy Aunt Says…

When it comes to being in other people’s houses you need to make sure that your child can be safe from allergens. It is great that your In-Laws want to to be “onside” with the no peanut product policy, that is a first step.

It seems that your Mother In Law doesn’t understand the severity of cross-contamination and how far reaching cross contamination can be and the impact it could have on your daughter. The way to deal with this is to continue educating your In-Laws and anyone who comes into contact with your daughter.

  1. Explain to your Mother In Law and anyone else caring for your daughter, plainly, calmly and without emotion (I know, easier said than done however it is necessary to keep your emotions in check).
  2. You need to explain the facts about allergies and how for your daughter a small amount, even a tiny amount can cause a big problem. Tell her you understand it is her house and she can buy these bagels if she wants however, because she has them in the house you have to take precautions x, y and z to keep your daughter, her grand-daughter, safe from the possible cross-contamination from the bakery.
  3. Find stories from other mothers or allergy sufferers of their experiences for your In Laws to read or listen to. Teach them how to administer your daughters medication and what her allergy action plan is. There may be a time when you can’t get there in time and she will have to save your daughter.

Allergy awareness, acceptance and understanding comes through experience. Your Mother-In-Law hasn’t got that yet, so be patient. Do what you need to do to keep your daughter safe in a manner-of-fact, without emotion type of way. This allergy is just a fact of your daughters life and precautions must be taken for her until she is old enough to take them for herself.

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Ask Allergy Aunt: Our Child’s School Teacher Doesn’t Take Her Allergy Seriously, Help!

Ask Allergy Aunt: Our Child’s School Teacher Doesn’t Take Her Allergy Seriously, Help!

Ask Allergy Aunt
Ask Allergy Aunt your questions, queries and frustrations dealing with allergies and living a free from lifestyle. She send you some words of wisdom and encouragement to support you.

Dear Allergy Aunt,

My 9 year old daughter is in Grade 4 this year and has a new teacher that we’ve never had before for our family. Previous to this year, all of her teacher’s have been very accommodating with her peanut allergy and worked hard to make sure she felt safe and secure in the classroom. The new teacher however, does not. His first comments to me upon starting a conversation about the allergy were that he liked Reece peanut butter cups, so this doesn’t really work for him. He has yet to decide if he will honor a peanut free classroom and he has not sent anything home to his students about the allergies in his class (there is also a hazelnut allergy [he doesn’t believe the girl who told him this]). We are in Canada, so our system is on a school by school basis, not like in the US where it is accepted as a disability. My husband and I are meeting with the school admin tomorrow morning… what do I ask/demand/etc? My mind is whirling right now and I’m afraid of leaving something out. Please help.

Allergy Aunt Suggests…

Having a meeting with the principle is exactly the right way to go. Getting the principle to understand and be on your side will go a long way to educating this new school teacher. Most people’s rash comments come from ignorance rather than malice. The best thing to do is take a breath before you answer. One way to make some take notice of what you are saying and the seriousness of allergies is to teach them how to use an adrenaline pen. Teach them how to use it, where to give the injection (big thigh muscle), and how they will have to deal with the reaction because you won’t be able to get there in time. Sometimes a little bit of shock tactics are necessary.

When it comes to the meeting, it is less about asking permission but more about stating the facts of your daughter’s allergy and the precautions that need to be taken. After all allergies are a biological fact that just need to be accounted for. It’s not about taking anything away from the other children, it’s about making the classroom inclusive and tolerant of everyone and who they are.

What is also important is that your child needs to know that she has your absolute support to make decisions about her allergy safety and well being. That may mean saying ”no” to an adult, or anyone. If your daughter knows she has your support to say ”no” she will feel more confident taking ownership of her allergy and that means your daughter is safer in her life.

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