Going Gluten-FreeJune 12, 2013

Living Confidently with Food Allergies

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Posted by Living Without medical contributor Michael Pistiner, MD, MMsc

When kids believe in themselves they can do great things. As parents, we work hard to raise self-confident children who are proud of who they are and what they do. This goal becomes even more important when our kids have an important job to accomplish.

Children with food allergies have a big job that never stops - keep safe and be kids. Not only will they navigate the everyday challenges that come in the halls of their schools, the soccer field, and their friend’s home, but they’ll do it while having a food allergy. As parents, it’s our job to give our kids the tools they need to live confidently.

I was already a pediatric allergist when my son developed his food allergies. I knew all about reading labels, sources of cross contact, recognizing anaphylaxis, how to give an auto injector--the works. I was blown away by how challenging the first several months were for my family and how many mistakes I made. I was inspired and determined to make it easier for others -- why should we all start from scratch and recreate the wheel one family at a time?

Since then, I’ve been dedicated to educating families, kids, and our surrounding communities. For over two years, I’ve had the honor and privilege to work on a team that developed a handbook for kids and families with food allergies: Living Confidently with Food Allergy

 A North American collaborative effort led by Anaphylaxis Canada, Living Confidently with Food Allergy is a free, easy-to-read handbook that uses evidence-based information in a practical way to give parents the tools to keep their children safe, as well as address their emotional needs. Our multidisciplinary team fuses the skills and training of a pediatric allergist, a child psychologist (Dr. Jennifer LeBovidge), and the Anaphylaxis Canada team (Laura Bantock, Lauren James, Laurie Harada) to deliver a concise, easy-to-use tool to help guide you in your day-to-day food allergy management.

Please spread the word about this free handbook. Share it with all those who care for your child and all those you know with a food allergy. We want to continue to educate and empower the special-diet community!

You can download Living Confidently with Food Allergy for free at AllergyHome.org or Anaphylaxis.ca.

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