Food Allergies 101: How to Set Protocols to Protect Your Children

Living with a severe allergy is a constant challenge. If your child has been diagnosed with a food allergy, you understand how important it is to always be prepared for an unexpected reaction. This is especially true during the school year, when you may not be with your child to protect him during a food allergy reaction.

This is why it’s important to create a protocol of action to let other adults know how to react if your child is exposed to a severe allergen. A protocol can help ensure that the appropriate treatment occurs as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Peanut Allergy

Consuming even a small number of peanuts can cause the immune system to overreact if your child has a severe peanut allergy. While minor symptoms include stomach ache and hives, life-threatening reactions include trouble breathing and swallowing, swelling of the tongue, and loss of consciousness.

These severe reactions, known as anaphylaxis, and can occur minutes to hours after peanuts or peanut products have been consumed. Mild reactions can be treated with an antihistamine like Benadryl, but anaphylaxis must be treated with a doctor-prescribed epinephrine, or Epipen. If no Epipen is on hand, or the symptoms quickly return, your child should be immediately taken to the emergency room for treatment.

Milk/Egg Allergy

Milk and egg allergies can be especially challenging for children, since so many common foods contain one or both ingredients. A mild allergic reaction to either food might just cause stomach discomfort, but a severe anaphylactic reaction will cause one or more of the body’s systems, like the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system, to malfunction.

An Epipen injection is an effective remedy, but as with other serious allergic reactions, your child should be brought to the hospital if the symptoms are not alleviated or they return.

Make a Plan With Your Physician

Your pediatrician is the best person to help you develop a food allergy protocol for your child. An effective protocol should include the specific allergens to which your child is allergic, the most likely signs of a reaction, when epinephrine should be used, and all relevant medical information.

Call Dr. Stephen G. Nelson at (727) 525-2161 to make an appointment for your child’s allergy protocol. Dr. Nelson will work with you to ensure your child is safe throughout the school day, even in the presence of food triggers.