Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the staple food of childhood. A quick and easy lunch for all parents to make for their children. Sounds like a perfect afternoon meal for a kid, right?
For most children, that would be a great meal. But for a child who is allergic to peanuts, that sandwich could be a death sentence.
Peanut and tree nut allergies are on the rise in the United States. An estimated 1 in 125 children have some kind of sensitivity to one or both. Some parents find out when the child is very young, some don't find out until the child starts school and has their first reaction.
What should you do when your child is diagnosed with a peanut or tree nut allergy?
First thing you need to do is ask questions of your allergist. Your doctor can give you literature to read, web sites to visit and information on things you'll need to manage your child's allergy. One thing your allergist will prescribe is epinephrine in case your child comes in contact with peanuts or tree nuts. Be sure to have your doctor explain how to use the injector pen you will receive when you fill your prescription. Do this immediately, do not wait. You never know when you will need it. Be sure to use the practice injector at least once a month to be sure you know what you should be doing during an allergic reaction.
Next thing you need to do is notify your child's school, daycare, and family. Be firm in your reporting of his allergy. Don't make it sound less than it is, be sure to make everyone aware that your child is not allowed to be near, have, or handle anything that has peanuts or tree nuts inside. In severe cases, just handling something with peanuts or tree nuts in it is enough to set off a reaction.
Finally, you will need to become a label reader. Not just the calories and fat content, but the ingredients themselves. You'll need to become an ingredient guru. Knowing what's in your food will make it easier to keep your child away from those things that might have peanuts or tree nuts in them. Did you know that peanuts could be in foods you'd never guess would have them? Some chili manufacturers use peanut butter as a thickener. Peanut traces can be found in candies that have no nuts at all in them, if the manufacture also makes a peanut or tree nut variety. Peanut flour is used in many pastries and cakes. Even several brands of sunflower seeds are processed on equipment that also processes peanuts and tree nuts. Being aware of what is in your child's food will make keeping him from having an allergic reaction easier.
Finding out your child has a peanut or tree nut allergy isn't the end of the world. But it does mean being more diligent in regards to your child and their food.
Dawn Arkin is a stay-at-home Mom who writes in her spare time and is the mother of a young child with peanut and tree nut allergies. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.BabyNameVote.Com/ which is a site for Baby Names .