Common challenges

Newly diagnosed families

There can be a sense of relief when you have discovered the source of your child’s allergic reactions but a confirmed diagnosis also brings with it many emotions and new challenges. Some of the early challenges faced by food allergy families include (but are not limited to):

  • Changing food habits at home including food preparation, food elimination, pantry and fridge re-organisation.
  • Daily safe-food preparation
  • Sourcing and visiting different food stores (in order to source special foods)
  • Changes in eating out at restaurants and cafes
  • Changes in visiting family and friends homes (in terms of food preparation and awareness)
  • Food allergy awareness for siblings, family members and friends

Life and Developmental stages

With each life stage there will be different challenges for families, children and young people:

Birth – 4 years

It is most likely your child is diagnosed with their food allergy early in life, although some children are diagnosed later, and even as adults. It is particularly difficult during this time, mainly because the primary care giver is solely responsible for food allergy management. This can be a stressful time because as your baby becomes mobile you need to monitor what they are touching, wiping down surfaces, making sure they don’t take food from other children (or off the floor!). You are your child’s food allergy advocate. As their language develops it does become easier and you can start to educate your child about their food allergies, once they become aware you will find them saying phrases such as “I can’t have nuts”, “I need to check with my mum before I can eat that”, as examples.

5 – 10 years

 

Transitions

  • Preparing and starting day-care
  • Preparing and starting a Pre-kindy program
  • Preparing and starting Kindergarten
  • Any time when your child may shift to a new school
  • Preparing and starting high school
  • Teen management of food allergies