Hudson Valley Parent

HVP November 2018

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Page 22 of 39 n Hudson Valley Parent 23 recurrent vomiting when I ate a trigger food. I only got my first epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) when I was in college." Now she helps her sister manage her niece's food allergies. Olivia is allergic to cow's milk and Camila to cow's milk, soy, egg, peanut and wheat. "When my youngest niece turned two, the kids and my sister came to my house. I visited KidsWithFoodAllergies. org to enter all of Camila's allergies and get safe recipes," says Dr. Brown. "A food allergy action plan was written out in great detail that provided us with a good algorithm on what medication to administer based on the symptoms." Plan ahead when eating away from home Dr. Brown's detailed approach can help others stay on track. "I have a game plan when eating out. The first thing I do is to call up restaurants and tell them about my food allergies and see if they can accommodate me. For BBQ or other food events, I also make a point of calling the hosts ahead of time and telling them about my food allergies. If they can't accommodate my requests, then I bring my own food or eat before the BBQ or other events." That will work for others, too. Dr Brown says. "Have a game plan before heading out to a restaurant or party to be aware of the food that will be served and what is available on the menu. If the restaurant or party host cannot accommodate your child's specific food needs, be prepared to have him eat ahead of time or bring your own food for him to eat." "It's also helpful to bring along a dish that you know is a safe option for your child," Dahl says, and this can take the pressure off the host and ensure that your child doesn't feel excluded. There are tons of yummy options available at Have a plan for when accidents happen Create a food allergy action plan for your child that includes a smooth strategy on what medication to administer to your child based on his or her symptoms. Decide who is responsible for administering medication when a parent or trusted teacher is not around. But just in case the best planned strategy falls apart, Dr. Brown gives this advice. "I always have Benadryl (dissolvable) and at least two epinephrine auto-injectors with me at all times. Accidents can happen." She also recommends checking in with Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). This resource provides excellent information about food allergies, understanding food labels, what to do when eating out and information about cross contamination. Dahl also reminds those dealing with food allergies that communication is key. "Talk to the host and explain exactly what your child is allergic to, what reaction to look for in case of accidental exposure, and what to do if a reaction occurs. Ensure that if your child requires medication such as an antihistamine or an epi-pen, the host has access to those things should the need arise. If it is age- appropriate, have a conversation with your child about the foods they need to avoid, how to avoid them, and how to express to an adult if a food is unsafe for them." Start at the grocery store Dahl says help may be as close as your local grocery store as many of these now have registered dieticians on staff. "If parents have questions about foods or if you are hoping to accommodate a person with food allergies at your party but are unsure of what to look for, these professionals can be a great resource as you shop." Olivia L. Lawrence spends her free time gardening or enjoying nature.

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