- A person can be allergic to any food. Some people have allergies to several different foods.
- Education and awareness are very important in managing multiple food allergies.
A Unique Challenge for Families
If your child has been diagnosed with more than one food allergy, you may feel overwhelmed at first. This is natural. The more you become informed about how to manage multiple food allergies, the more comfortable you will feel and the safer your child will be.
It’s not always easy, but your family can manage multiple food allergies and still do the things you love to do.
Managing multiple food allergies often requires an extra level of attention. Since there are more foods to avoid, eating out, travelling, and ensuring risk reduction measures are in place at school may require more preparation.
- Get to know the sources of all your allergens: which specific foods and which types of food to avoid.
- Be “allergy aware.” Since you will often be in spaces where your allergens are present, be sure to understand the importance of hand washing, avoiding cross-contamination, and not sharing food. Learn more here.
- Plan ahead when travelling and bring along some of your own food in case options are limited on the road.
- Find a support group in your community and attend conferences and events by Food Allergy Canada and other organizations.
- Always carry your auto-injector and know how to use it.
Explaining Multiple Food Allergies
Some people have only heard of peanut and tree nut allergies, and may be unfamiliar with other food allergies. For example, they may think that a product labelled “nut-free” is safe for you, when the product contains another ingredient that you are allergic to. You will need to educate them about all of your allergens.
If you are a parent, explain calmly that your child carries an auto-injector and that each allergy can have the potential for serious reactions. For milk and wheat allergies, it can be helpful to explain the difference between an allergy and an intolerance.
Educational materials are very useful. You can print information about your allergens from our website and share them, or share the links. Invite friends and family to attend an information meeting, speaker or support group meeting with you. Be sure to let them know that you appreciate their efforts.
If you are unsure whether an event will be allergy-aware, take steps ahead of time. Examples include bringing your own food, volunteering to help at a party, or hosting extended-family holiday meals at your own home. Many people with multiple food allergies make a habit of carrying safe foods with them, just in case.
Building a Team
Food Allergy Canada’s Newly Diagnosed Support Centre offers many practical tips and support for parents of children with food allergies, including information about communication, prevention and having an emergency plan.
Our WhyRiskIt? page has information and support for teens as well.
It is important to build a team — at school, work and within your family. Supportive friends and family can help others become more allergy-aware. Make sure that everyone in your life knows how, and when, to use the auto-injector as well.