Alternative thought and allergies

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I have a friend in Sandusky, Ohio who with tears in her eyes told me about her daughter who has a fatal food allergy. Fish. Difficult allergy to have in a town that loves to fish in Lake Erie. If this child even smells fish cooking, she ends up in the emergency room. The school won't take fish off the menu so she sits in the opposite end of the school building when fish is served.

People cook fish regularly. Restaurants fry fish and the exhaust fan blows the fish odor out the roof. You never know when you will drive into a fish odor fog from a local restaurant or someone frying fish in the back yard.

I felt my friend's pain and could feel the fear she feels for her daughter. She can't be there all the time to keep her safe. Even if she is there all the time, she can't always keep her safe. She dreads phone calls. It might be another emergency.

I had never given much thought to food allergies before our talk. If anyone had asked me, I would just say that food allergies aren't a big deal and that it probably just means a rash that goes away and they shouldn't eat that food.

What changed for me when my friend told me about her daughter was I got into the emotions that she felt. I can relate to the fear about being unable to protect your child, the helplessness when your child is ill and there is nothing you can do, and the frustration of dealing with the school and public.

If your child has a fatal food allergy, you need the people around you to understand that this is not a minor problem. You cannot simply explain scientifically about the allergy. You have to get them emotionally feeling what the allergy means to you and your child.

If you do that, you will have more cooperation with other parents, friends, and family.