Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

A Visit to the Allergist May 17, 2013

Filed under: Preparedness — malawer @ 10:22 am

We just had our annual check in with the allergist and something interesting happened…

 

In  preparation for my son’s visits, I always jot down questions for the allergist throughout the week leading up to the appointment and ask my husband if he has anything he’d like me to address.  At the appointment, I typically speak with the doctor in semi-private while my son reads or draws on the other side of the examining room.   I think I was always protecting him from potentially scary information and for answers that were more complicated and involved than he needed.

 

Now that my son is 8 yrs old, I’ve started asking him if HE has anything he’d like to discuss with the doctor.  I expected him not to have much input seeing as he had been in good health all year with no allergic incidents.

 

But, as it turns out, he had quite a bit he wanted to know.  Many of his questions were school and socially-related scenarios.  He was insistent upon writing down his own queries and asking them of the allergist himself.  Our allergist did a phenomenal job of answering them so that my son could understand fully and, in the scenario-driven questions, that he knew what to do.

 

This interaction was eye-opening.  Understandably, being a child – especially one with food allergies – things are often out of his control.  This simple interaction gave my son renewed confidence, a voice.  It bolstered his understanding of his food allergies, complete with its limitations and sometimes limitlessness.  It quelled his worries.  And importantly, it boosted his confidence about speaking with adults in general and, of course, for managing his food allergies.

Bottom line:  Involve your child in the process of visiting the allergist.  Allow them to take some control over their food allergies.  You’ll be fascinated by what interests and worries them and will delight in the confidence and power they maintain over their food allergies in the process.

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Some of you were curious about the kinds of questions my son asked over the last couple of visits.  Our allergist listened patiently to each question and his responses were clear and thorough each time.  If you’re curious, ask your own allergist these questions to get answers specific to your individual case.  Here are some of his questions over the last couple of visits:

 
  1. How can I stop my asthma from interrupting my day?
  2.  Do I have to sit at the peanut-free table all the time?
  3.  When can I start having (school-provided) hot lunches?
  4. Can I touch an acorn (maybe in science class or at the playground)?  And, what do I do after I touch it?
  5. What should I do when people bring snacks after my sports and how do I know if it’s safe?
  6. Is it safe for me to be around someone at a Nationals’ baseball game who’s eating peanuts?
  7. What if my friend has eaten something with nuts before we play together?  Can I still play with him?
  8. Am I allergic to the outside part (shell) of an egg?  Can I touch them to dye them or help my mom cook?
  9. When can I start drinking regular milk?  I’d like to try ice cream.
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9 Responses to “A Visit to the Allergist”

  1. lynnedarcy Says:

    good one!! xoxoxo

  2. Heidi Bayer Says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing, what were his questions? I’m always amazed at what they come up with!

    • malawer Says:

      Thanks for writing in! I just updated the post to include some of his questions. My son really looks forward to having a chance to speak to the allergist directly and in his own words. It was a great experience!

  3. Lovely post! So good for kids to get involved in managing their food allergies!

  4. I absolutely LOVED this post! I will be sharing this through my websites @ http://www.theallergymom.com and http://www.severeallergyconnect.com where I am the community advocate for anaphylaxis and severe allergy. This was a well written post with a great message! Thank you!!!!

  5. Shayla G. Says:

    I’d love to know some of his questions, and some of the answers the allergist gave. My allergic son is only turning 4, but I bet some of your son’s questions would help us all learn more! Thanks.

    • malawer Says:

      I’ve just posted some of his questions. (Thanks for asking.) While I’d love to share our allergist’s responses, I don’t want to misguide anyone. The answers may, at times, be specific to my son’s case and numbers, so it’s always best to check with your own doctor. Even at 4, your son may have some questions and the simple process of asking questions may begin to make him feel in control of his food allergies. Good luck!


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