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21Mar

Mother of two, Stephanie Gatewood, 43, from Virginia, US, knows only too well how stressful food allergies can be. Both of her children suffer with severe peanut allergies. She has a blog called Peanut Free Parenting and has written a book called When Peanuts are Poison.

Pictured above: Stephanie Gatewood

Pictured above: Stephanie Gatewood

Speaking about how her children’s severe peanut allergies affected family life, Stephanie says that the situation was hard to come to terms with at first.

“My husband and I were scared and we felt lost. The responsibility of keeping a toddler safe from something as innocuous as food was overwhelming.

“With time and education, we feel much more confident in our ability to keep the kids safe, but we still have niggling fears when they’re in the care of others.”

Education is the Best Defence

Stephanie’s two children - Claire, age 5 and Alex, age 7

Stephanie’s two children – Claire, age 5 and Alex, age 7

To help keep her young children safe, Stephanie taught them about their allergies so they had a better understanding of the risks.

“The best defence against food allergies is educating your child so they know how to advocate for themselves and will say ‘no, thanks’ to food that is offered to them. Make sure they are always supplied with their own, safe food that they enjoy, which will better enable them to avoid temptation.

“I showed my son how to check ingredients and constantly remind him that only Mummy or Daddy can give him food. I explained that he had a peanut allergy and if he ate the wrong food, he would get itchy, throw up and feel terrible.”

Take Precautions

If you have children with life-threatening allergies, take the necessary precautions at all times to ensure their safety.

“Make sure your children avoid eating the allergen. This is best accomplished through reading food package labels and teaching your child how to do this. If you have any doubt about whether a food is safe for your child, do not give it to them.

“Always ensure your child is no more than a two-minute round trip from his epinephrine auto-injector and that he’s always in the care of an adult who knows the symptoms of anaphylaxis, can inject him with epinephrine, and can call for an ambulance.”

Medical ID is Essential

Wear a medical ID bracelet

Encouraging your child to wear medical ID will help ensure your child’s safety and also give you peace of mind.

“I think it’s important that all children with a severe medical condition, such as food allergies, wear a medical ID, either on their shoes or even better as a bracelet or necklace.

“Having your child wear a medical ID bracelet serves as a great reminder to everyone that your child has food allergies. It also affirms to others the seriousness of food allergies and that they are indeed a severe medical condition.”

Sponsorship

This piece was sponsored by The ID Band Company, who supply a fantastic range of emergency ID jewellery for children and adults with allergies and other medical conditions. Worldwide delivery available.

Medical Disclaimer

If you have any concerns for your child regarding allergies please consult your GP.

  

Ruth

An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website http://whatallergy.com/ and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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