The more that family and friends understand your allergies, the more they can support you and help you stay safe. Remember: most people want to help. Here are some tips and resources for communicating with them:
- Be patient. For some people, food allergies may be a whole new concept. Start with the most important information and keep it in simple language.
- Speak in a calm manner. Explain that although food allergies are serious, they can be managed. Avoid scare tactics.
- Involve your child. If you have a child with food allergies, be sure to include the child in conversations, and have them speak for themselves whenever possible. This will instill confidence in your child as it helps to get your message across.
- If you’re having trouble getting someone to understand or take your child’s allergies seriously, try a different approach. It often helps to give information from trusted sources, such as your child’s doctor or an educational handout. Sometimes, asking someone else to speak with the person can help, too.
- Print out key information. This may include you or your child’s Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan and our Signs and Symptoms and Emergency Treatment pages. Our Allergens pages provide allergen-specific info.
- Be there. Let family and friends know that they are partners in your allergy management, and that you are open to their questions.
- See our webinar on how to talk to friends and family for more information.
- Find a quiet time to talk to new caregivers, when you will have their full attention.
- Use simple and direct language, and keep the tone friendly.
- Bring an auto-injector training device and practice using it together.
- If a potential caregiver seems unsure about whether they can care for your child, find someone else. Your child should be in the care of someone who feels up to the task.
- Discuss your child’s Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan, and give the caregiver a copy of the plan. Make sure that they understand how to recognize anaphylaxis and how to respond.
Play Dates and Parties
- Ask what food will be served and whether an adult will be supervising meal and snack time. Offer to send along a safe meal and treat for your child if needed.
- If the host is responsible for preparing food for your child, ask them if they know how to ensure the food is free of your child’s allergens. If they are unsure and willing to learn, take the time to teach them.
- If you are leaving your child in the care of others, give the host your child’s auto-injector and emergency plan. Be sure that they know how to use them, and how to recognize an allergic reaction.
- If you feel that the host is not comfortable being responsible for your child, offer to stay at the party with your child.
- Involve your child in the planning and discussion in advance of the party. Prepare them so they understand what they can eat and what they will not be eating. Focus on the positive.
Schools and Childcare
Our Newly Diagnosed Support Centre, also has a wealth of information on school, childcare and more.