KFA Starter Guide
KFA Publications & Online Media
Support Net ®
KFA eNews Archive
Food Allergy Basics
Diagnosis & Testing
Emotional & Social Issues
Food & Cooking
Managing Food Allergies
Medication & Pharmacy
Product Safety & Labeling
Research & Clinical Trials
School & Preschool
Travel & Vacations
Food Allergy Resources
Food Fights...Not Again!
Tired of wrestling with your child's food allergies?
Here's some advice on keeping them under control:
By Laura Wise-Blau
When most parents arrange a play date, they hope their child has fun. When I make a play date, I hope my child doesn't end up in the emergency room. As a parent of a food-allergic child, every day is a trial. Birthday party? I'll need to make substitute cupcakes, send a replacement for the ice cream, and hope there's no candy in the goody bags. School? Better make sure the teacher has plenty of alternate snacks, knows how to follow the emergency plan, and is a good sport. Restaurants, movies, festivals, holidays, vacations? Lots of planning and a good cooler.
It isn't fun. A study by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) found families living with a food-allergic child suffer more emotional stress than those with children who have epilepsy or asthma.
Sadly, I'm not alone. "There has been a tremendous rise in food allergies," says Roger Friedman, M.D., clinical professor of allergy, immunology and pediatrics at Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus. "When I started 20 years ago, it was unusual to see a patient with an allergy to peanuts. Now I see one or two per week. Twenty years ago, it was unusual to find a child with a peanut allergy at school. Now, it's typical to have one peanut-allergic student per class."
The Good News
"There is some exciting news. In the future, we will have better treatments," Friedman notes. "Immunotherapy will someday be possible, maybe as soon as two to five years from now. There are studies and trials working on medicines to desensitize allergy sufferers. Anti-IgE therapy will turn off the whole allergy system for those with allergic asthma, rhinitis and other food allergies."
In the meantime, parents should have faith: "The encouraging part is that the number of food allergy fatalities is very, very small, especially when you compare the numbers to our overall population," Friedman says. "Yes, it can be dangerous, but it can be managed."
From About Health, reprinted with permission by McMurry.