It’s no secret to any child or parent that a severe allergy or anaphylaxis diagnosis can be quite intimidating, although we know allergies to be very manageable – it is a scary thought nonetheless. Whether its food allergies, insect sting allergies or allergies to medicines, animal dander, mould, chemicals or latex, with some preparation and forward planning an allergy diagnosis should in no way be preventative of you or your loved one living life to the fullest.
This involuntary perception of allergies causes two unique offshoots of worry for parents, the first being their own fear and anxiety over their child’s health and the impact this allergy will have on their life and everything that entails. The second, parents simply worry about their child’s own worrying. As you can see and may have, or are currently experiencing, it becomes very easy to allow stress, worry and anxiety to take control. Rapidly spinning a manageable situation into an unscalable mountain.
Fortunately, there are many practical steps you can take to normalise the allergy lifestyle for your child and help them to embrace their allergy as a unique part of who they are. Our advice is also intended to help you in relieving your own stress and anxiety too so please do try some of our suggestions if you are, or find yourself struggling in the future.
Join or Build a Support System:
Allergy rates are on the rise, which is a topic for another day, but for now it means you’re certainly not alone in managing an allergy for your child. The advent of social media and previous years’ lockdown means finding and joining a support group of likeminded people has never been easier. That said, be cautious in which groups you join and company you keep. The aim here is to reduce anxiety, a poorly moderated group may act as a vortex of anxiety with each member playing off another’s worried thoughts. Find the right group though, and you’ll be flooded with honest, relatable advice and conversations. Which will do the world of good for you and your child as you navigate the waters of their allergy. Particularly for your child as they will now have a group of friends they can relate to in a unique and relaxing way, helping them to better understand their allergy.
Your Child’s Allergy is Not Your Own:
Parents tend to adopt their child’s allergy, meaning that once an allergy diagnosis lands, nuts (for example) are stricken from their diet entirely too. Worrying about your child’s allergy, monitoring their food intake while eating out and ensuring you always have their adrenaline auto-injectors & allergy medication is a lot to keep on top of. The mundane nature of these responsibilities can make us disregard their impact on our minds but remember, on a subconscious level you are acutely aware of what a mistake might mean for your child and that mental pressure takes a toll. Carrying that same avoidance of the allergy into your own life, when your child isn’t around, can be detrimental to your mood. Go out and experience things by yourself or with family or friends that you enjoy but are unable to do with your child who has food allergies from time to time.
Change ‘What’ To ‘Even’:
‘What ifs?’ can send us into a nasty spiral if not kept in check. One leads to another, which leads to another and so on until the original what if is long past the rearview mirror. Luckily the simplest trick for this is to turn those whats into evens. For example, let’s say administering a shot from an EpiPen is the focus – and you’re worrying ‘what if I mess up the shot?’. Well, simply practice the administration with a trainer pen (available free from company websites or pharmacy with a prescription) until you or whoever may be looking after your child is comfortable and it feels natural. Follow the advice of always carrying two epinephrine auto-injectors, and suddenly – ‘what if I mess-up the shot?’ becomes ‘even if I mess up the first shot, I’m confident in what I’m doing and I have a backup’.
Be Kind to Yourself:
This world is likely new to you and even seasoned Allergy Parents slip up sometimes. After all, if your child eats 3 square meals a day until they’re 18, that’s almost 20,000 meals you’re responsible for vetting! If you can count the number of times, you let something slip through the net on two hands (or twenty!) you’ve done an excellent job, you care deeply and that’s proven simply by reading this article. So, let yourself off the hook if mistakes happen – Just operate under the assumption that one day they will, and you’ll be ready and confident in following your emergency allergy action plan. You’ll be surprised at quite how much peace that simple mantra can bring.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Allergy Lifestyle Limited (t/a) Allergy Lifestyle) uses reasonable endeavours to check the accuracy of information provided however no warranty is given that they are error-free.