How to teach a child with allergies to be responsible

At school

When it comes to school, you will, of course, do your homework by informing the school staff. But you will quickly realize that there are many people with whom your child will be in contact and to whom you will not have direct access. You must teach your child that whenever they meet someone new, they will have to tell them about their allergies. The same law should apply when attending a party, at a friend's house or in any place where someone might not be aware of his or her allergies. This is where your training with your child will become extremely important. For a parent who does not have an allergic child, this method may seem exaggerated, but informing all those around the allergic child is one of the methods of protection. They must also understand the importance of never sharing food or dishes. They must wash their hands before and after each meal and snack.

When your child knows how to read, you can print the list of keywords to watch in the lists of ingredients for their allergies (see AQAA). They will be able to keep this sheet with them during their day, no matter where they go or who they will be with. This is just another tool and it could help in your absence.

Do not be afraid to repeat. Over time, you will have new scenario ideas related to the evolution of your child's life. Do the exercise from time to time. All important notions must remain fresh in your child's memory. As soon as possible, have them take their epinephrine auto-injector on them. Also, teach them to recognize the signs of an allergic and/or anaphylactic reaction. Tell them to warn you or warn the person who is taking care of them as soon as they think they feel the signs. This way, they will be able to receive the appropriate care on time. This concept is very important since the majority of deaths from anaphylaxis are due to the fact that the person in distress has not received an epinephrine injection quickly or receives it inadequately.

Some things to remember
  • Create role play games
  • Be generous with congratulations
  • The younger the child, the more short, clear and precise the instructions
  • Clear identification of resource persons
  • Both parents must have the same speech
  • Set the example and inform the entourage of their allergies and encourage them to do it as well
  • Do not be afraid to repeat, it could save their life!
  • No sharing food or dishes with other people
  • Must wash their hands before and after each meal and snack
  • As soon as possible, have them take their epinephrine auto-injector
  • Make a keyword card to watch for
  • Teach them to recognize the signs of an allergic and/or anaphylactic reaction
Courage, you are not alone!

Some helpful resources:

The Association of Allergists and Immunologists of Quebec website

The Food Allergy Canada website

Image de Myreille Simard

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