If you have been told that your child has a food allergy, it can be overwhelming and you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind about what your child can and cannot eat, what other caregivers should and need to know to keep your child safe, what you do if your child has a food reaction, and what will life look and feel like for your child and your family as you try to adjust to this new reality.
But there are resources out there to help.
A new handbook, Living Confidently With Food Allergy: A guide for parents and families, has just been released. This handbook is the product of a two-year-long North American collaboration lead by Anaphylaxis Canada and written by Dr. Michael Pistiner, Dr. Jenny LeBovidge (child psychologist), and Anaphylaxis Canada’s Laura Bantock, Lauren James, and Laurie Harada. This is a free, easy to use, evidence-based handbook designed to give parents the tools they need to keep their children with food allergies safe while addressing their emotional needs.
The handbook is meant to provide to families important information about food allergy, suggest ways to educate their child and others, and offer helpful tips and support. There’s a Frequently Asked Questions section right up front, and then sections dedicated to important and common topics like managing a food allergy at home, how to recognize and treat a food reaction, food label reading, play dates and parties, and more. To help you understand and build skills, there are a number of real-life exercises. The authors have also compiled a list of trusted resources about food allergies that you may find helpful. You can download activity sheets, exercises, and resource sheets from www.Allergysupportcentre.ca and www.AllergyHome.org/handbook.
As is the case for most online tools and resources, this handbook should never replace specific advice from your child’s doctor. You should always speak with your child’s pediatrician directly if you have questions or are worried about your child.