Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Food Allergies

Managing food allergies can be challenging for everyone in your family, from the child who has a life-threatening allergy to the parent who is constantly worrying anytime food is around. Whether you just received your diagnosis or have been living with food allergies for years, food allergy anxiety is a common struggle that can interfere with your life.

How to Navigate Food Allergy Anxiety

Acknowledging your anxieties, and understanding where they come from can help you process the emotions and find a way to deal with them. There are many useful tips and resources available to help you with your anxieties, but always know that you can speak with a medical professional for additional support. 

Recently Diagnosed? 

When you get a diagnosis, be it a sprained ankle or a food allergy, one of the first things you will likely do is have questions and seek out answers. Start by making a list of all the questions you may have about your child’s food allergies. Your list can cover some of these questions, which are also topics found in our other blog posts:

  1. Where are they commonly found? 
  2. What do I look for on ingredient lists? 
  3. How do I talk about them with a doctor? 
  4. What does this mean for my family when traveling?
  5. What treatment options do I have?

All of these questions may not be answered right away, but getting them out of your head and onto a piece of paper will start the process of finding the answers and coming up with a strategy to manage your food allergies. 

Create a plan 

Establishing plans for inside and outside the house can help ease daily anxieties. In addition to your emergency response plan, which anyone with a food allergy should have, household rules such as what is allowed inside the house, birthday party strategies, and safe snacks to always have on hand, can help keep your emotions in check as you go about your daily lives.

  1. Create a list of items not allowed in your household
  2. Have your emergency response plan. 
  3. Learn how to recognize an allergic reaction.
  4. Make a list of your local Urgent Care or ER.

Build confidence 

Talk openly to your child about their food allergies. Help them understand their allergies, and how they can manage them safely. Give them the confidence to order food safely at a restaurant, visit a friend and advocate for themselves, and even look into treatment plans and discover ways to overcome their allergies for good! 

Find a support group 

You are not alone in facing anxiety around your child’s food allergy. Reach out to a local support group to have conversations with other parents, share stories and tips, and find someone who understands your situation when times are tough. For families in the Tolerance Induction Program (TIP™) or considering treatment, there are several regional Facebook groups in areas around the United States. If you don’t live in these areas, there are also two general groups: Kitchen Table for those in treatment and Pantry for those on the waitlist.