Personal eating utensils -Provide the child with food allergies their own easily identifiable cutlery, utensils, plates, spoons, etc. This way you know that their own plate does not have any traces of cheese for eg.
Be clean - Wash all utensils with detergent and water before and after handling the food allergen. This includes cutting boards, pots, pans, stirring spoons, knives and surfaces. Many people think that a quick wipe over is fine but children have had anaphylactic shocks from the same knife being used to make a peanut butter sandwich for one child and then a sandwich for the food allergenic child. Pay particular attention to traces left in a serated knife. * Even a minute trace of allergen is enough to cause a fatal anaphylactic shock!
Provide a safe haven - People who are not dealing with food allergies dont understand the complexities involved in just the preparation of food for the child with food allergies. When we began, for our own peace of mind we became a 'nut, egg and dairy free' household. As things became a bit more manageable we re-introduced dairy and eggs. You need to do what is best for your family and child. Don't be afraid to declare your home a 'nut' free zone to visitors bringing food. Your home should be a safe haven where you can feel relaxed, we all know how stressful it can be taking your child outside the home where any dangerous food awaits.
Airborne food allergens - Some foods such as peanuts, eggs and fish become particularly allergenic when they are being cooked. When we cook fish we cook it outside on the bbq so there is less risk for a reaction to our son. We were an eggless home for 12 months because I feared repercussions of cooking an egg. We have eggs now, but are extremely careful with them and the way they are cooked. I try to only cook them if my son is outside or asleep in his room... and I have the exhaust fan going the whole time. I never cook anything with eggs in the oven with something that I am cooking for him.
Throw out the trash - Be aware that toddlers love to explore the garbage. To a parent with no food allergy concerns a household garbage bin poses no real danger. However, for the parent of an anaphylactic child, household garbage contains an endless array of potential dangers - an egg shell or an empty milk carton could contain traces of food enough for a dangerous reaction.
*Ever wondered why peanuts are in so many of our packaged foods these days? Yes they are relatively cheap, but more importantly- when peanuts are roasted at a high temperature they become more flavoursome - they also become more allergenic. Interesting isn't it? The rise in food allergies, particularly peanut allergies coinciding with the increase of companies using peanuts to bring flavour to food.
Wash hands often - when preparing food for your child with food allergies as well as when eating that allergen. For sensitive children, contact on the skin can cause a reaction.
Kiss of death- Kids are the most innocent and adoring creatures God created and who doesn't just want to kiss them all the time. Be aware of who kisses your child and what they have been eating. If Poppy has just enjoyed a feast of peanuts, don' t let him plant kisses on your child who is anaphylactic to peanuts.
The last thing I want to do is bring more fear to a parent who has a child with multiple severe food allergies. It is a difficult role enough. My aim is to bring awareness and hope! It is a difficult journey but with common sense and education it is a journey that we can help each other travel.
Labels: Food Allergy Info, Keeping safe, Staying sane