Life as an Allergy Parent – The Things We do to Give Our Children a Shot At a Better Life

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This article is brought to you by our partners at Columbia Allergy. Opinions are of our own.

Long before COVID-19, my husband and I were already washing our hands incessantly and wiping down every public surface with disinfectant wipes, but for a vastly different reason – food allergens. Our young son is one of a growing number of children that has food allergies. According to the CDC, food allergies in children increased by 50% between 1997-2011 with peanut or tree nut allergies more than tripling between 1997-2008 alone.

“What’s with all the hand washing and wiping down surfaces?”, you (and many, many others) might ask. Not only does our son have multiple food allergies, but he’s also had multiple life-threatening allergic reactions – including once in a clinical setting. Nowadays, it’s not just the prevalence of food allergies that’s increasing, it’s also the severity. Hospitalizations and treatments for food allergies are on the rise, and many children that outgrow their food allergies are not doing so until later stages in life. Trust me, “code white” is not something that we would EVER want to hear again.

This is not the quality of life that we want for our son.

The thought of sending our multiple-food allergic child to school sends chills (multiplying) down my spine. It’s tough enough dealing with the everyday pressures of being a kid in today’s world, but imagine having to do so in an environment that is literally covered in substances that can literally send you to the hospital (the fact is, no matter how good the janitorial staff, literally every surface in a classroom is going to have some form of contact with one of the 8 major food-allergens).

So now what? Are we destined to live in solitude or some sort of allergen-free commune? And don’t get me started on the costs involved. Is this our new reality? No! As it turns out, food allergies can be treatable. And while the treatments (more on this soon) can be scary at times, from our experience, with the right doctor, they are effective and safe.

I’m not going to lie – having a child that is multiple-food allergic makes the world terrifying at times. But, much in the same way that vaccines are now allowing us to see a light in the tunnel from the Covid-19 pandemic, food allergy treatments are giving those afflicted with food allergies and their families hope. And while we’re in for the long-haul in our case, we at least have the end in sight, even if it’s at least another 5 years away.

 

 

 



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Pauline
After spending over a decade overseas, Pauline repatriated to San Francisco in 2019 with her husband, a Bay Area native, and their toddler son. Pauline grew up in Toronto and has held various corporate positions – from governance to marketing and public relations to brand management and strategy – in the theme park and entertainment industry (the business of fun!). When she is not mom-ing at home and on San Francisco Bay Area Moms, Pauline enjoys traveling, photography, sports, music, going to the beach, and visiting attractions.

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