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How do you get allergic DC to understand they are allergic?

(11 Posts)
notso Mon 03-Feb-14 15:28:45

DS2 is 3.1 years. He was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at IIRC 13 months.
Under the advice of the clinic we are avoiding all nuts and nut traces.
DS has only had 3 definite reactions, the last was a week after he turned 2. Even if he remembered it was just from being kissed by someone who had eaten peanuts so I don't think he would make the association IYSWIM.

Now he is older and has started pre school nursery, I am trying to teach him not to take food from other people and that he cannot touch peanuts.
I am finding it difficult, because everywhere he has been has accommodated his allergy, he hasn't experienced missing out because of it.
Will he just 'get' it? Any advice welcome.

woodrunner Mon 03-Feb-14 19:51:44

Tricky. Maybe just say very plainly:

for you, nuts are like poison and make you very very poorly. Nuts can hide in other children's food, so don't eat their food in case a nut is hiding in it. Only eat food mummy has said you can eat.

That way you can OK food for him to eat at parties etc or at nursery.

notso Tue 04-Feb-14 11:25:44

Thanks woodrunner.
It is tricky indeed. I will just have to keep saying it. I am going to make another appointment at the allergy clinic to see if they can help too.

ThePiritonPosse Tue 04-Feb-14 11:29:53

My DD is now nearly 5 and we've spent the last few years teaching her ho to manage out and about with other giving/offering her food eg. at parties.

She is allergic to eggs (never anaphylactic thankfully) and intolerant to cows milk protein and soya.

She knows what it feels like to have a reaction and that is isn't nice (swellings etc) and she knows that she has poorly poops (diarrhea) if she eats the wrong foods. This has made it easier to explain that some foods make her poorly so she needs to always check if she can have them, especially if it isn't mummy or daddy giving them to her.

At first we taught her to say 'can I have this?' when someone gave her food. But well meaning mums misunderstood and thought she was just being polite, as in 'please may I have this?', which people answer with an automatic response along the lines of 'of course you can sweetheart' and we had a few slip ups like this.
For example, at the school pick up in the playground, a mum letting her DD hand out sweets to friends because it is her birthday but has no idea that my DD has allergies.

We're now teaching her to say 'am I allergic to this?' and this proving much better because it makes other mums stop and think before they automatically reply. Also, now she is older she will ask me 'did you check the ingredients, mummy?' which, whilst annoying at times, is very reassuring that she knows that foods need to be checked.

ThePiritonPosse Tue 04-Feb-14 11:32:34

Also, I'd show him pictures of peanuts online so he knows what it is that he is allergic to. If you don't have them in the house he might have never seen one.

notso Tue 04-Feb-14 11:56:05

Thanks Piriton that is a really good idea to teach "am I allergic to this?"

It has been relatively easy to keep him in a nut free bubble so far. I am finding the loss of that a little scary.

ThePiritonPosse Tue 04-Feb-14 12:07:20

The first time I took DD to a party and left her there (albeit with a very sensible and clued-up mum) I was a total wreck!

Training her to ask has really paid off though, and it meant that by the time she started school she really understood and knew to ask adults and that she has to help herself to keep herself well.

notso Tue 04-Feb-14 12:34:18

I guess it helps that your DD can relate her allergies to feeling ill which is not nice for your DD but makes explaining easier.

I have been letting DS choose treats from the shop and looking at the labels with him to see if it is poorly food or not but he usually just says "It's not poorly Mummy, it's yummy"

SavoyCabbage Tue 04-Feb-14 12:41:31

I also taught my dd to ask from quite a young age. And also not to ask or depend on the answer of a child, as other children would always be telling her there were no peanuts in things. I taught her to say 'can you check the packet'. Then when she learnt to read I showed her how to do it herself.

I also told other parents that I didn't want them to make special food at parties as I wanted her to know that sometimes there are things she can't eat. It's just a part of her life.

There was a boy in dds class who went into meltdown every time he wasn't allowed anything that people brought into school for birthdays and things as his mother thought that everything should be nut free so he wasn't at all prepared for the 'real world' of school.

neolara Tue 04-Feb-14 12:47:00

We talk about it a lot to my peanut allergic 4yo. She knows she has to check any new food for nuts. When we go to the supermarket, we look at the nuts. If we are in a corner shop and there are chocolate bars with peanuts in them, I show her and we talk about it. I tell her if she eats peanuts she will become very, very sick and we will need to take her to hospital. We have played about with the practise epipen. We've watched videos on how to inject jext pens. She was fascinated.

notso Tue 04-Feb-14 12:56:54

I was fully expecting DS to have to get used to that Savoy but so far, everywhere has just provided snacks he can eat for everyone I think people are a little afraid to have foods he can't eat just in case. Especially as he has reacted through contact not just eating peanuts.

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