2 in 100 children have an allergy to nuts, and 1 in every 200 adults. Australia has a very high rate of nut allergies, with every 3 out of 100 children living with them.
Currently, the most common is a peanut allergy, and having an allergy on intolerance to nuts is the most common allergy in the world. And with more people going dairy-free, nut milk is becoming more popular, which can be problematic for children with nut allergies.
While some children grow out of their nut allergies, many do not. Additionally, there are wide ranges of reactions to nuts, from feeling ill to lethal. As such, a peanut allergy in children is nothing to take lightly.
In this blog post, we'll talk about some of the ways to help your child live with their nut allergy, as well as how to help your child manage it when they're out of your care.
Read on for more valuable information.
Talk to Your Child About Their Nut Allergy
You cannot expect a child to be completely responsible for their nut allergy. But, you can work with a child to help them understand how to make proper food choices. Neither yourself nor your child's teacher can watch them all of the time. As such, it is important your child is aware of what nuts are and what they can do to them.
Once your child is old enough to understand that they have a nut allergy, it is useful to explain to your child why they cannot eat certain foods. You may wish to show your child the nuts they are allergic to so they know what to look out for. If your child is so allergic that they cannot even touch nuts, you may wish, instead, to show photos of these nuts.
You should also point out common foods that have these nuts in them. For example, peanut butter, almond milk or certain Asian dishes. If your family's culture is one that has lots of peanut heavy foods, it is worth it to explain which ones your child cannot eat.
Your child may feel left out because they cannot eat certain types of foods, but let them know that many people suffer from allergies. You may even wish to explain that some kids cannot have things that they can, such as milk or dairy, for instance. If you have a nut allergy, you may wish to use this as a way to bond with your child, saying it is something you two have in common.
As your child grows, help them understand to take precautions around nuts and with certain foods.
Managing a Child's Nut Allergy in School
In the next couple of paragraphs, we'll discuss managing your child's allergy in school, as this is where they will spend the most time away from you.
Always Talk to Your Child's Teacher and School
The majority of schools do their best to accommodate children with allergies. Your child will not be the first, nor the last, to discuss an allergy with a teacher, an aide or the school's head. As such, it is important that you do not feel embarrassed to advocate for your child.
Each school year, you'll want to let the staff know your child is allergic to nuts. While most schools will ask anyway, a reminder never hurts.
If your child is so allergic to nuts that they need an EpiPen if they come in contact with it, ensure that your child has one or two at school, and ready, at all times. You should also discuss with staff whether someone is capable of administering it.
As a child ages, they may be able to administer it themselves. But young children, and children that have become incapacitated by their allergic reaction, may not be able to do so. As such, it is important you know someone on campus is able to give the shot to your child.
Do not assume that because there is a nurse at the school or because teachers should have First Aid training that they know how to give your child an EpiPen properly. Do not be shy in asking, or teaching, your child's teachers or aides to give your child an EpiPen.
Team Up with Other Parents Whose Children Have Allergies
Because nuts are an incredibly common allergy, you'll likely find that your child will not be the only one in class with one. Depending on the size of the school, it is very unlikely your child will be the only child in the school to be allergic to nuts.
If other children are allergic to nuts, talk to their parents to help remind other parents to label food brought in for children to share. Many schools encourage parents to bring in food for bake sales, class parties or to celebrate students' ethnicities and traditions. As such, always ask parents and teachers to label any food with nuts so children with the allergies know not to eat them.
When your children are very young, if you're able to do so, try and volunteer during these days to ensure that your child stays away from these foods.
You may also wish to find out the other allergies in the class and ask parents to label all foods with these ingredients. You don't need to find out which students have which allergies, just know that some have them. As such, make it a class policy to label foods with these ingredients. If your child is the only one with a nut allergy, your child will definitely not be the only one with a
Some common food allergies include:
Use Medibands to Help Identify Your Child's Allergy to Others
Medibands are a fantastic, inexpensive and effective way to make sure that people know your child has a nut allergy. These bands, made in a range of styles and colours, allow people to see immediately that your child has a nut allergy.
The Medibands for allergies are perfect for kids who are either very young or non-verbal, as it immediately lets people know your child has this specific allergy. They are always in bright colours and have the allergy written on the outside of the bracelet, to show that your child cannot have nuts.
Even if children are aware of their own nut allergy, this bracelet can help children who may forget, or whose understanding of their allergy is limited.
If your child has further issues that need to be addressed or known in case of emergency, there are even more selections on the site. Your child can get fashionable bracelets that have an engraved section with even more information about them as necessary. A young or nonverbal child can still have their needs addressed during an emergency, thanks to these more detailed bracelets.
The detailed bracelets are also great for older children who are able to vocalize their nut allergy. If, for instance, your child is also allergic to certain medications and is rendered unconscious in an emergency, these bracelets are fantastic. It can also help them remember all of the medication they are allergic to in the event they must receive medical care until you can arrive at the scene.
If a bracelet is bothersome to a child, or they don't like the way it looks, Mediband also offers a wide range of necklaces. Older children may also wish to use a wallet card or keep their details on a keyring, especially if they drive themselves to school.
Always Have an EpiPen Available, Should They Need It
An EpiPen, short for an epinephrine autoinjector, is used for those who have very serious nut allergies. It is used for those who will go into anaphylaxis if they either eat nuts or come into contact with them. Not all children with nut allergies need an EpiPen, but those who do must take it seriously.
If your child needs an EpiPen, it is important that you have them placed in key locations. Older children should carry one with them in their backpack or purse. But even children who are old enough to carry their own EpiPen should have them in key locations.
For example, if your child may need an EpiPen, it is important that their school has one that is easily accessible. If your child often goes to a certain friend's house without you, the other parent should also have easy access to one, as well as the knowledge of how to inject it.
Children who attend after school activities should also have their EpiPen with them and easily accessible. Ensure that any dance teachers, football coaches and any other person in your child's life know how to administer one if needed.
When Eating Out
Thankfully, most restaurants will mark items that have nuts in them. But, it is always a good idea to double-check if you have any question of whether or not a dish is safe for your child.
If your child is so allergic to nuts that even being around them can cause a reaction, you may wish to avoid or limit eating out in Thai or Chinese restaurants. Butchers, as well, often have lots of items pre-seasoned with nuts, so avoid taking your child into one.
Peanut Allergy in Children and Keeping Them Safe
While a peanut allergy in children is incredibly common, it is still important that you understand how to ensure they do not come in contact with nuts. It is also important for your child's school, and the directors of any after school activities, are aware of the consequences of your child's allergy.
It takes both a village to raise a child and to ensure your child stays safe at all times.
Check out our Medibands, which we have specially designed for men, women and children. Parents may also wish to have a look at our FeverMates, which help them take accurate temperature readings without a fuss.