Friday, August 7, 2009

Food Allergy Parents...Don't Forget to Breathe

If your kids are headed back to school soon, you are feeling stressed right about now. Besides the added pressures of new shoes, book fees and extracurricular sign-ups, food allergy parents have tons of forms to fill out, teachers and staff to speak with, worries to combat.

With all of the food offered at school, whether for a class party or even for a science experiment, it's easy to get caught up in worries about what might happen. I feel anxious each year, though as my daughter gets older the anxiety lessens somewhat. Still, depending on where we live and what policies our schools have, back-to-school can feel like yet another battlefield for us to conquer.

I've felt the frenzy and all of the fears, especially right before my severely allergic daughter started kindergarten. That year I had to beat down the door of the principal's office to be heard about their FA policies--of which they really had none.

I was able to help craft a food allergy protocol that really worked for us and the other food-allergic families. The year had a few hitches (100th day of school "snack mix" comes to mind) but overall it went great.

It will for you too. If you've done all of your own homework with med forms, medications and talking to staff, you've done your best. As the nurse told my husband and I as we left the hospital with our newborn daughter all those years ago "Don't forget to breathe."

It's always good to be cautious and on top of things, reminding the teachers and staff about your child's allergy needs. But don't forget to breathe. While we have every reason to have stress about our kids' allergies, calm but firm parents get taken more seriously. Trust me on this one.

I hope everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer and that all your back-to-school preparations go smoothly.


Rhonda Lewis said...

Thanks Jenny. I can sure use a reminder some days. I love reading insights and suggestions from other food allergic parents. Your site always contains great tidbits of information that I have come to rely on.

Unknown said...

We had a tough school year last year where our agreed upon Healthcare Plan was violated over and over. I've already been in touch with the superintendant who sent me to the principal. She hasn't responded to my e-mail from several days ago. This is at the top of my to-do list this week...but, okay, I'll take a deep breath first.

Thanks for the calming post!

Jenny said...

Hi ladies. Rhonda, I'm glad you find my blog helpful. :) Thanks for the comments! FA Assistant, I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles. I know you're not the only one, small comfort though that may be. I've been there myself--unresponsive principal, going to the superintendent, etc. (This was at a former school.) I wanted to tear my hair out.

Keep up the good work, FA ,and let us know what happens at your school!

Jane Anne said...

Thank you so much for these words. I read them on Friday (on my phone) but could not get my comment to go through. My son is getting ready to start kindergarten. This was a wonderful reminder to me. I am trying to approach everything with a good attitude instead of constant worrying.

Anonymous said...

This post describes me. Yes I have already been thinking about school and it's stressful because of allergies (peanuts and tree-nuts). Plus, every year there is a new teacher and I have to explain our story again..


Natalie Jane said...

Just found your blog. I am trying to prepare a presentation for the parents at my daughter's preschool orientation tomorrow. Everyone thinks I am over-reacting about her peanut allergy. If I hear one more..."but my niece has a milk allergy and it is no big deal..."

Milk = the flu
peanuts = anthrax.