Information Overload

By Heather Legg

The other day I was recalling when I first found out about my daughter’s allergy to tree nuts. It was a frightening time and in a sense, life changing. But we manage and we all have learned a lot from it. I thought about the woman I first went to for advice, and where we both are now in our allergy outlooks. I remembered learning so much information and wondering what to do with it all. So what do you do? How do you form your own ideas and modify needs about allergies when you first discover your child has allergies?

I think it is important to find as much as possible about anything you are dealing with, in this case allergies. Then I think you have to sift through all that information and decide what to do with it. For some it’s a mental process, for others, it actually is physical, making files, databases, color coded charts. For some it’s in between. The hardest part, I think, is making it all fit your needs. Not everyone needs to go to the extremes, some people do. You do have to do what you need.

That may encompass anything from requesting an allergy free classroom or lunch table to insisting that your child’s Epipen stays in the classroom and that the teacher checks all labels before allowing your child to have foods like birthday cakes or Halloween treats, or you may be comfortable with a more moderate plan.

You may decide to take it upon yourself to educate others about allergies or to be the person who plans the holiday parties making sure they are allergy free. I remember our allergist told us that my daughter should not go to anyone’s that house that has nuts in it. Well, it’s not part of me to insist that others clean out their pantry before my daughter visits. Sure, I tell them that she can’t have them and my daughter knows that by now, but I can’t limit what others do in their own homes. If I wasn’t comfortable about something, she wouldn’t go.

You may decide to try some alternative treatments the more you learn about them or you may not the more you learn about them. You may react when your child has an itch in his mouth and go to the emergency room or you may know that that reaction is okay for your child and some Benadryl will work. You just need to take the masses of information you get and apply them to yourself, your child and your situation. It can be overwhelming; there are a lot of opinions and a lot of information out there. Take it, sift through it and use it as you see fit.

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