Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Allergy Education and Understanding

I am an allergy mom (a term I am sure will soon rival that of soccer mom).  I was an early adopter, one of the moms who opted in early, before it was trendy.

Allergies really are increasing, and especially so among children, so we allergy moms are multiplying. Faster than rabbits.  And I've found that allergy moms nowadays are generally more informed than the average patient.  We make it our business to keep up with current research, new products, companies that are known for cross contamination, and generally any other tidbit of allergy wisdom we can find.  Because the more we know the safer our little people are.

As an allergy parent, we are also often cast into the role of educator.  We constantly help the people surrounding our children learn more about how to avoid allergic reactions, how to recognize them, and how to treat them.  And just like any other teacher the willingness of our students is varied.

The hardest part of educating people about food allergies is determining their current knowledge level.  Many people think they understand much more than they actually know, and assume that their knowledge is adequate.  They are reluctant to add new knowledge to their current library for fear they will have to purge excess wisdom from their limited hard drive space.

As such, I've devised a reference to be used for rating the allergy savvy of persons with whom you encounter in your child's life:

1) Food allergies? What are those?
2) I read an article about them once.  It would be absolutely horrible to never have another Reece Cup!
3) I have a friend/relative who has allergies. She's always watching what she eats.
4) I took a training class about allergies.
5) I'm an allergist.
6) My child has a food allergy.

This is the knowledge hierarchy.  More or less.  Unless you live with it, in your face, everyday, it's hard to fully comprehend the impact this has on every facet of the family's life. Yes. It impacts the entire family.

Remain open to education.  We allergy moms, we are always scouring our world for greater allergy knowledge.  We know more about allergies than most, but we're still trying to learn.  And we are happily willing to help educate anyone who wants to know more.  The more people who understand, the safer the world is for children with food allergies.

Everyone wants their child to be safe.

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