You Know You are an Allergy Parent When…

This article is part of an editorial series focusing on pediatric allergies and brought to you by our partners at Columbia Allergy. Opinions are of our own.

I never thought I’d be dealing with anything beyond seasonal allergies with my offspring. Alas, here I am, with a child who is multiple food allergic and more experience with trips to the ER and stays at the ICU than I would imagine. If you’re a fellow allergy parent, I feel you. As our son nears school-age, one of the top concerns on our minds is whether we can safely send him to school. Thankfully, there is increasingly more awareness surrounding and viable treatments for allergies, eczema, and asthma. As we were discussing our son’s treatment plan with allergist and immunologist Dr. Jain at Columbia Allergy Clinic, it really hits home just how much we have been dealing with these past few years, as well as how long and complex of a journey we have ahead of us. Still, we consider ourselves lucky, in the fact that we are finding ways to minimize the risk of severe reactions and hopefully provide some normalcy to our child’s life. Join our journey over the next several months as we continue to navigate and tackle the impact that allergies have had on our lives, and share how the right treatments can breathe new hope into our little ones’ lives.

You Know You are an Allergy Parent When…

  1. You are always on edge. Always.
  2. You’re constantly cleaning everything – especially tables, chairs, floors, toys, cutlery, cups, … basically anything that might come into contact with or potentially ingested by your LO.
  3. You have a mental checklist of things to prepare for every time you leave the house. EpiPen, anti-histamine, allergen-free snacks and food, separate sets of cutlery, water bottle, back up water bottle, etc.
  4. You are breastfeeding or have breastfed way longer than you had anticipated.
  5. You study the ingredient labels of every. Single. Thing.
  6. You carry out food introductions (only the things cleared by the allergist) with measured out portions.
  7. There are still tons of food items you have not introduced to your LO, simply because it was tested in the IgE or skin prick.
  8. You have gone through many IgE and skin prick tests as well as daunting food challenges. 
  9. You find something that your LO can eat, you stock up on it.
  10. You have tried pretty much all lotions/creams, wet wraps, dry wraps, oils, scratch sleeves, etc. – anything meant for sensitive or eczema-prone skin.
  11. You’re heartbroken every time you say “don’t scratch”, and you say that about 98,398 times a day.
  12. You’d give almost anything to take the itch away from your kids.
  13. You have a dedicated nanny or caretaker because you cannot send your children to daycare/preschool/nanny share. 
  14. You have zero savings, mainly because of points 7-11.
  15. You go on vacation, you need to make sure you have access to allergen-free food sources or that you can somehow bring enough “safe foods” to last the entire trip.
  16. You are relentlessly on a quest to improve your children’s lifestyles and on a constant hunt for ways to inject as much normalcy as possible into your children’s lives.
  17. You are always learning something new because the world of allergies is ever-evolving.
  18. You are starkly aware that each reaction can be completely different from the last – how they start, how fast they progress, and how long they last. 
  19. You have surprised yourself at how far your resilience and patience can be stretched. 
  20. You have hidden from your children just to eat your favorite snacks (that contain allergens). #MomGuilt
  21. You have been washing your hands just as many times before the pandemics as during the pandemic.
  22. You are (or are contemplating) homeschooling.
  23. You don’t care about coming off as an over-protective/neurotic/wacky parent.
  24. Your children have never eaten food that’s not prepared by you or your spouse.
  25. You cook/bake every day, even though you hate cooking/baking.

… and many more.


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