Learning that your child has a severe peanut allergy can be alarming and stressful. Young children typically do not have the skills to manage a life-threatening allergy, so as a parent it is your responsibility to keep your child as safe as possible. Consult with your ENT Specialist and use the following tips to protect your child when he or she has a severe peanut allergy:
Always Carry an Epinephrine Auto-Injector
When your child has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts, it is important to always have an epinephrine auto-injector on hand in case of emergency. An auto-injector shot administers a specific amount of epinephrine into your child's system-- this medication can help reverse dangerous allergic reaction symptoms such as a closed airway or other problems breathing. In addition to always carrying your own epinephrine auto-injector, make sure your child's school, day care, or any one else who cares for your child also has easy access to one.
In the event that your child is exposed to peanuts and you have to use the epinephrine auto-injector, seek immediate medical care even if the most serious allergic reaction symptoms subside.
Read Labels Carefully
As the parent of a child with a severe peanut allergy, carefully reading the labels of all food products is absolutely essential. Even after finding products that are completely peanut free, it is still important to read labels since recipes can change without notice. Even if everyone else in your family can tolerate peanuts, it is in your best interest to not bring any food items that contain peanut products into your home, as they can contaminate your kitchen and cookware and possible cause a severe allergic reaction in your child.
Inform Others of the Severity of Your Child's Allergy
Letting others know about your child's allergy can go a long way in preventing accidental exposure to peanuts. If you choose to eat out at a restaurant, speak to the manager or chef to find out if a dish has any type of peanut product or is cooked in peanut oil. It is also important to ask if their kitchen may be contaminated with peanut dust, or if their equipment is used to cook dishes with peanut products.
If your child attends school, it is very important to speak to his or her teacher and the school nurse about his or her severe peanut allergy. Schools can often arrange for children to sit at lunch tables that are carefully cleaned and disinfected after each use to ensure that there is minimal chance of any exposure to peanuts in the cafeteria. Some schools also have policies that prohibit students from bringing any peanut products to school as a precaution for those who have severe peanut allergies.