If your child has a serious allergy, make an appointment with a pediatric allergist or immunologist. Your doctor can give you a referral.
Your pediatric allergist will do tests to find your child's allergy triggers, create a treatment plan for those allergies, and tell you what you need to do to manage your child's allergies.
Because your allergist has such an important role in your child's treatment, choose one you and your child feel comfortable with. A good allergist will give you information and support in order to help keep your child as safe as possible.
Consider joining a support group related to your child's allergies. Pediatric allergist Anne Miranowski, MD, recommends them. "Support groups are a great way for families to meet people who are going through the same experience," she says.
When Eleanor Garrow-Majka learned that her son had severe allergies, she couldn't find a support group in her area. So she started one. "It's so important to have support, especially in the beginning, when your child has just been diagnosed," she says. "It was such a relief to find out I wasn't alone."
Garrow-Majka is now the vice president for education and outreach at the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.
Friends and Family
Ana Suarez, whose son has serious food allergies and asthma, says her extended family is her main source of support.
Suarez was not surprised when her son was diagnosed with food allergies, since food allergies run in their family.
"Involve your family and good friends, if you can," Garrow-Majka says. "Explain your child's allergy triggers; show them how to use epinephrine and how to read food labels. The more information everyone has, the better."