Being diagnosed with an allergy would be difficult or any grownup, but it can be extremely frightening for a child. In a way, there is often relief once you get a diagnosis. After all, you can then take actions to alleviate the suffering the child may have been experiencing because of the allergy. However, you need to have many discussions with your child about the allergy. Here are some tips for how to go about having these talks and ensuring that your child understands how to protect herself.
Use Simple Terms for Young Children
If your child is very young, start the discussion with very simple words that will be easy for them to understand. Make a reference to the last time that they got really sick, even if it wasn't from the allergy. That will help a child immediately identify with wanting to avoid getting sick again. Explain that "safe" foods will help them avoid getting sick in that way, but "unsafe" foods may make them feel very sick. If the allergy is something outside of food, explain that avoiding the "unsafe" object is important to also avoid getting ill.
Focus on the "Unsafe" Things
Some children who are suffering with allergies are likely to be angry at first, and they may not want to hear about the allergy. As tempting as it may be to then ignore it altogether, you'll be doing a disservice to your child if you do not bring it up repeatedly. Do this by emphasizing the importance of avoiding "unsafe" things. Start to point out "unsafe" things in the home, then venture outside the house to point them out in common places you plan to take your child.
Help Your Child Create Questions for the Allergist
When preparing your child for a visit to the allergist, let your child know that this is a great time to ask questions. Help your child prepare a list of questions for the allergist, so the child can hear answers directly from the physician. Children understand that doctors have experience and a position of authority, so your child may take it very seriously when the allergist tells your child that she can't have peanut butter or whatever the substance is that she is allergic to eating or touching.
Finally, keep in mind that your child must be informed about her allergy if she is going to have the power to protect herself. No matter how much you may wish to protect yourself from the reality of the allergy she's facing, you cannot be with her all the time, so she needs to be informed so she can better advocate for herself when you're not there to protect her.
For more information or assistance, visit clinics in your area, like Billings Clinic.
My name is Shawna Banks and this is a blog that focuses on health issues that affect women. I became interested in women's health when my sister began having medical problems. After her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor. After her diagnosis and successful treatment, I helped her research the different kinds of health conditions that are common in women. By becoming knowledgeable about these types of problems, we can keep ourselves healthier. I hope that when you read this blog, it will help you to identify symptoms that shouldn't be ignored. If necessary, you can schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.