It will come as no surprise to any food allergy family that research has proven that food-allergic parents experience increased levels of daily stress, anxiety, and social isolation. It can be challenging as a food allergic family to ask for help. We are sharing with you our top five tips on how you can support your food-allergic friends.
- Invite them to gatherings Food allergic families, especially mothers, live with a sense of loneliness because friends and family are afraid of inviting them to both formal and casual, last-minute get-togethers out of fear they will harm the allergic child. Instead, invite the family and ask how you can help keep their child safe, trust us they have a plan ready to go!
- Support them at your schools’ Help create a non-food centered reward system in all classrooms, not just the ones with food-allergic children. Ask that all adults be trained to recognize and respond to anaphylaxis. Work with them to create an inclusive school free of bullying.
- Take it seriously as you would any other life-threatening disease. Food allergies are not a lifestyle choice, and managing them is can be a stressful fulltime job.
- Ask the specifics of their child’s food allergy. Ask if there any safe snacks you can have on hand for their child. Show them where you will keep it and how you will prevent the snack from coming into contact with the child’s allergens (known as cross-contact).
- Teach your children how to be inclusive. Teach them not to share food, wash their hands before and after handling food, and what to do if they suspect their friend is having a reaction.