As the holiday season approaches, it is imperative that we educate relatives on food allergies, and communicate the severity of an allergic reaction. While relatives do not wish to do harm to their loved ones, food allergies can be difficult to understand. Therefore, we’ve decided to rerun this post. We have received very strong feedback from the day it was first posted, and hope we can help even more people!
Here at FAL we want to educate as many people about food allergies as we can.
Sometimes family members are not very accommodating of food allergies, especially elderly relatives. It’s not because they don’t care, they do, they simply don’t understand. Today, we have for you a letter template to fill out and send to relatives before you meet them. Here it is!
Dear [NAME OF RELATIVE],
There are few others in this world who love (NAME OF CHILD) as dearly as you do. We are thankful that you are such an important part of his/her life.
As you know [NAME OF CHILD] is allergic to [ALLERGEN]. Therefore, I wanted to discuss with you briefly what [ALLERGEN] allergies mean.
What the food allergy means is that [NAME OF CHILD] body treats even a minuscule amount of [ALLERGEN] as an enemy. If [NAME OF CHILD] eats or is exposed to [ALLERGEN] he/she can get very sick.
[ALLERGEN] allergies are NOT a disease. [NAME OF CHILD] is a normal, active child.
The signs of an allergic reaction are:
- abdominal pain or cramps
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty swallowing
- fear or anxiety
- flushing of the face
- heart palpitations
- itchy red spots (hives) on the skin
- itchy/watery eyes
- loss of consciousness
- nasal congestion
- pain or tightness in the chest
- scratchy throat
- swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue
Sometimes, exposure to an allergen could cause the windpipe to swell up, and the blood pressure to drop dangerously low. This could develop just seconds after exposure to [ALLERGEN]. An allergic reaction is an EMERGENCY…it needs to be addressed IMMEDIATELY! If left untreated, it could be fatal within minutes.
When we meet, we can talk about what the course of action is, if this were to happen to [NAME OF CHILD].
It is for this reason that I view and handle [NAME OF CHILD] diet very differently.
While at times it may seem I am very overprotective of him/her with regards to food, or it may seem I am not letting [NAME OF CHILD] savor and enjoy food like other children, I HAVE TO DO THIS in order to keep [NAME OF CHILD] safe.
I am requesting your support for while we are together, so that while having a good time, together we can do everything to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.
For reasons due to allergy, he/she may miss out on a family recipe or other goodies. Regardless of the food, he/she always enjoys being around you.
If you would like to cook using a recipe that is allergy safe for [NAME OF CHILD], please let me know what you need. I will get the allergy safe ingredients. Having food cooked by [RELATIONSHIP OF CHILD TO RELATIVE] is always so special and I am sure [NAME OF CHILD] will always treasure this.
We are looking forward to the visit. Thank you for honoring this request.