All. The. Allergies.
My eight-year-old has ALL. THE. ALLERGIES. He has nine anaphylactic allergies (none of which are airborne) and handfuls of environmental allergies. After his allergy testing, his doctor said she has never seen so many allergens come back with results so high.
For the last few years, his allergies have been so bad, we had meet our healthcare deductible by March. He would stick a Lego sword into an apple and lick it (WHY???), accidentally eat a candy with an almond, or develop an allergy to a kind of peach he’s eaten 500 times before – we’ve dealt with it all. The number of allergies were growing exponentially, and it made us realize we needed to make a plan.
When deciding what action to take, we knew D would have to exist in the real world. In his little life, we wouldn’t be there to protect him every moment. He would attend school, go to sleepovers and snack at birthday parties. Starting at about 5 years old, we decided the only real way to proceed was to teach him that he’s responsible for making healthy choices and understanding how to stay away from the things that can hurt him.
We educate, educate, educate. We use caution but don’t keep the items he’s allergic to away from our home. There are nut butters in our cabinet and apples in the fruit basket – this helps him to understand that the foods that can hurt him are going to be around, and he needs to make good choices and stay away from them. Though we know we are ultimately responsible for his health, we have taught him to administer his own EpiPen and how much Benadryl he needs to take. He knows which symptoms require which medication and how to ask for help. We are so grateful that he understands his allergies and we’re lucky they developed when he was old enough to be taught how to handle them.
We know it’s not a perfect system, but we’ll continue to educate and help him become as responsible as possible. We started allergy shots about 6 weeks ago and look forward to desensitizing him for many of his allergies by spring. Until then, he’ll be able to survive in the real world – one educated decision at a time.