Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When Your Child Has Food Allergies

When Your Child Has Food Allergies. Mireille Schwartz. 2017. 240 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: This is a book written by a parent, for parents. So it is full of practical, honest, first hand information about how to cope, and thrive, with a child who has a chronic food allergy.

Premise/plot: Who is the book for? Parents, primarily. But also grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, and dare I say food service workers? What is it about? Food allergies. Specifically it is about how to create safe environments for children with food allergies. It deals with home environments--going beyond just the kitchen. It deals with school environments. It deals with eating out at restaurants, going to holiday or birthday parties, going on vacation, flying on airplanes, etc. It teaches parents how to be advocates and protect their children from allergens. It isn't always going to work, however, so each and every chapter--in reality more like every few pages--the message is always, always, always have an epi-pen with you; always contact 911 and get help if you're having a reaction.

The book is divided into four sections: "What You Need to Know," "Ways You Can Offer Support," "How Your Child Can Live Fully and Safely," and "Ways You Can Protect Your Child."

The big eight are: milk, eggs, finned fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy.

The book contains several lists: "Mild Early Warning Signs," "General Symptoms of Food Allergies," "When to Call an Ambulance," "Symptoms of Anaphylaxis," and "Symptoms of Eosinophilic Esophagitis."

My thoughts: I thought this one was packed with a lot of information. It covers every area--at least every area that I can think of. It deals with diagnosis, symptoms, medical treatments, emergency care, emergency preparedness. It deals with how to talk with your child, with family members, with friends, with parents of your child's friends, with teachers, with principals, with school nurses, with waiters, with chefs, with babysitters, with anyone and everyone that might come into contact with your child. Don't keep your child's allergies private, tell anyone and everyone. You never know.

I thought the book was thorough. I had heard of cross-contamination. But I'd not thought of how this might involve pets and pet food. I had heard of the Big 8--the eight foods that are the most common allergens. But I'd not thought of looking for the big eight outside of food. For example, some inks contain soy!

This book definitely drives home the message that everything--every little thing, every big thing--takes deliberate thought and planning once someone in your home has an allergy. The book mainly deals with severe allergies which are a matter of life and death. The book mentions in passing milder allergies which are not life threatening but are still uncomfortable and best avoided. For example, a severe allergy reaction would lead to a person not being able to breathe. A milder allergic reaction might be breaking out in hives. You won't die from hives, but, certainly you don't want to purposefully expose yourself to anything that will lead to them!!!

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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