As a mother of a child with food allergies and a food allergy educator, I can recite to you in detail what happened with many anaphylaxis fatalities over the past several years. But I don’t use the specifics of these stories to dwell on the thoughts of worst-case scenarios. I use them to teach others and to remind me to be vigilant with my child’s care. I encourage you to do the same with these stories.
Honor the memory of those we have lost. Don’t let their story end – use this opportunity to promote awareness and protect others.
I urge you to not let fear grow, instead grow in your preparedness. Now is a good time to focus on your daily routines and avoidance strategies. Have you become lax with something? Is there a situation that you have thought about addressing, but keep putting it off? Now is the time to speak up. Explain how to reduce risks and what is necessary to keep you or your child safe.
Ask questions. Specifically, ask productive questions that can be answered.
If you are not sure what symptoms are considered severe, talk to your doctor.
Understand the details of your Emergency Care Plan.
Know how and when to use epinephrine. Be confident. Have it on hand at all times. Always carry 2. Review with your child, friends, family, co-workers, teachers, etc. how to use it. Practice, practice, practice.
Know your risks and how to avoid them.
Love your kids. Teach them self-management. Encourage them and empower them.
Make our community stronger. Bond and make connections with others in the food allergy community. This can be via social media or those in your own town. Join a support group and find out how your local group works to raise awareness. Help your community be more allergy-aware and understand how to support those managing food allergies. You can be the person who makes a meaningful difference in someone else’s life.
Let go of the fear. Focusing on tragedies is not productive. Focus on prevention efforts and self-management. Concentrate on solutions. Put effort into controlling what you can.
Live in the present moment. Remember to live life. Don’t be paralyzed by fear. If the fear is overwhelming and you find yourself struggling, search for a healthy way to cope with it. Ask others for help. Practice self-care.
Create positive change. Find motivation in the tragedy of a precious life lost too soon. Give that life meaning and purpose.