If you are a parent of an allergic teenager, it will come as no surprise that risk taking, peer pressures and desires to fit in are all part of the process. Despite whether or not your child has ever suffered from an allergic reaction, this is not the time to let your guard down. Here are some tips to keep your teenager safe:
Talk to your Teen-Often
Have ongoing discussions with them about how they can be in control of their allergy. Prepare your teen to be independent by having them read food labels, make smart decisions at the grocery store, pack their own lunches, prepare their own food, and order at a restaurant. These conversations should be ongoing and should be frequent.
The more control they have, the better off they will be in managing their allergy independently. Role-play different scenarios and situations so that they are equipped. Teach them how to handle various tricky situations.
Be Frank about Consequences
Teens need to hear about what can happen during a reaction and how seconds count.
Show Close Friends how to use Epinephrine Auto Injectors
Demonstrate how to use epinephrine in case of emergency. Friends need to understand what anaphylaxis looks like, how it manifests, and what their role is in case of emergency.
Discuss their food allergy with their boyfriend/girlfriend
Be upfront right away. If they care about you, they will understand and will take measures to ensure your safety. Your best bet is to tell them in person and talk about ways to keep you safe, such as avoiding the allergen on the days they see you.
Food Allergy Research and Education published research in 2006, from The Kissing Study. This study assessed how long peanut proteins stay in saliva after ingestion. Scientists found that despite using measures such as brushing teeth or chewing gum immediately after peanut ingestion, proteins were still detected in the saliva.
According to the researchers, the most reliable way to remove peanut residue from the mouth was to wait a few hours after eating peanut and to hen consume a peanut free meal
Find Cool Ways to Carry Epinephrine
With so many bags and carrying cases, there are lots of fun ways for your teenager to carry epi. Teach them to never leave home without it.
Allergy Alert Bracelets
The same goes for these fun accessories. With so many stylish designs to choose from, ensure that your teen is always sporting this accessory.
Choose a Board-Certified Allergist
Your teen should feel safe and comfortable asking their doctor anything.
Keep Asthma Controlled
The more uncontrolled their asthma, the greater potential for a more severe allergic reaction.
Model Good Judgment
As a parent of an allergic teen, there is a great deal of anxiety that you need to manage yourself. Instill qualities of carefulness, not fearfulness. Your anxieties will certainly spill over on them, which can have numerous emotional consequences. Teach your teen about management and good communication. Instilling these qualities in your teenager will give them great benefit, beyond food allergy management.