Having a food allergy used to mean dining out was limited to carrying your plate from the kitchen to the porch or, at best, eating at the home of a close friend or relative who could guarantee your food offenders were nowhere in sight.
Today, however, eating out is a lot easier -- and safer -- for the 2 million Americans who suffer with a mild, moderate, or even a severe food allergy. One reason: Restaurants are more aware and more prepared.
"The awareness of food allergies has definitely increased...
Because your allergist has such an important role in your child's treatment, choose one you and your child feel comfortable with. A good doctor will give you information and support to help keep your child as safe as possible.
Pediatric allergist Anne Miranowski, MD, suggests you join a support group related to your child's allergies. "Support groups are a great way for families to meet people who are going through the same experience," she says.
When Eleanor Garrow-Holding 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-Holding is now the president and CEO of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team.
Friends and Family
Ana Suarez, whose son has serious food allergies and asthma, says her large family is her main source of support.
Suarez wasn’t surprised when her son was diagnosed with food allergies, since they run in their family.
"Involve your family and good friends, if you can," Garrow-Holding says. "Explain your child's allergy triggers; show them how to use epinephrine [auto-injectors] and how to read food labels. The more information everyone has, the better."