Summer fairs and food allergies

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers, Big Kids, Tweens, Teens, Activities: Babies, Places To Go, Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Medical Conditions, Mealtime

Depending on who you talk to, Summer officially started yesterday evening. In short order, the street fairs and other summer festivals are set to make their debuts, if they haven't already. Amidst all the fun, thrills and excitement, the lights and sounds--and smells--of the fairs, there's another main reason people of all ages travel to such things: The food. It's deep-fried, a lot of it, it's greasy, and it sure is tasty. It also presents some precariousness for a parent of a child with a serious food allergy. After all, who knows what exactly is in that stuff? Most of the time, we'd rather enjoy it and not know.

Dr. Amal H. Assa'ad, a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology warns parents to inspect every molecule of food their children may come in contact with, and recommends children with severe allergies such as peanuts and tree nuts carry an Epi-pen with then at all times. I would add to that, from personal experience (I have one of these life-threatening allergies) that you SHOULD ALWAYS WEAR YOUR MEDICAL EMERGENCY ID BRACELET. As my CPR instructor noted, if my throat is closed up and I can't speak, and I'm not wearing my bracelet, no one is going to know I have a nut allergy and to give me the Epi-pen shot.

I hate to say this too, but parents should consider packing and bringing snacks they know are safe to any event, whether it be a potluck or a street fair. Sure, the food is tempting, but most of the people selling it didn't make it, don't know what's in it--oils, for example, are known to be terrible allergens but most servers don't know if what they're serving was made with peanut oil or soy oil--and don't understand how severe the consequences can be when the provide misinformation. Bringing your own food is sure to be healthier, too. Dr. Assa'ad also recommends that parents who suspect a child may have any sort of allergy get it checked out immediately. Honestly, as a kid, I never did. I just had the reaction and we thought, ok, we'll avoid that FOREVER. It's not a great way to navigate through the endless purveyors of things that smell delicious, but could be deadly.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.