It’s been a about nine months since we have been living in the pandemic of COVID-19, and until now, we are not sure of exactly when the vaccines will be coming and what our new normal will look like in the coming months. As you probably already know the pandemic already had a negative impact on many people, physically, emotionally, and financially. A substantial rise in depression, anxiety, and stress is being seen since the beginning of Covid. This time can be more challenging for households dealing with food allergies as they are already under that food allergy anxiety.
How is Covid Impacting Those with Food Allergy?
Food allergy affects approximately 6 percent of the pediatric population. It is known that parents of children with food allergies and other chronic illnesses experience higher levels of anxiety and stress than parents of children without. During this pandemic, the additional stress in food allergy homes may be due to the thoughts of lack of safe foods, lack of allergen substitutions, or fear of not finding safe food. The other stress-provoking thought in families is dealing with the allergic reaction because physicians are taking consultations on a priority basis, and parents wonder if they can safely go to the emergency department in case of a reaction or not.
It is natural for these changes during the Covid pandemic to impact stress levels about food allergies.
Dealing with the Stress
- Communication with the kids
The foremost thing to do is to communicate with your kids about how they feel and give them time to clear any queries in their minds. Try to validate their feelings.
- Focus on building new skills
Utilize the stay-at-home time and identify things your child can learn. For example, if your child is beginning to read, start to teach them about reading labels, or if your child is older, include them in teaching how to cook allergy-friendly meals. Try to develop routine plans involving your child, like maintaining regular sleep, meal schedules, and promoting medication adherence.
- Connecting with peers
Find ways to connect with friends and extended family, virtually either one-on-one or group video calls to promote feelings of connection.
- Engaging in Calming activities
It is essential to calm your mind; try to take time for at least one calming activity per day. It can be different for every person. You can try the one which suits you like reading, exercise, outdoor time, meditation, relaxation techniques, etc.
- Positive thinking
Try to take things positively that you and your child enjoyed in this pandemic season. For example, spending time with family, having meals together, getting more time to spend outside doing physical activity.
So, learning strategies to cope with stress is the only way to reduce it. We hope that the vaccine will be safe, effective, and widely available soon so that we can live a relatively normal life again.
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