Discovering that your child has a severe food allergy can be a frightening experience. It is nothing less than terrifying to watch your child react violently to a meal you have prepared countless your family.  Determining the source of the allergen and preventing further contact can be a frustrating but not impossible situation.  If you suspect that your child is suffering from a food allergy, consider the following strategy for developing new norms for your family.

Recognizing Symptoms

According to, symptoms of a food allergy can range from milder symptoms such as eczema, sneezing or an itchy mouth to more severe symptoms such as breathing difficulties or facial swelling.  These more severe symptoms are typical of a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis.  In the event of an anaphylactic reaction, always seek immediate medical care.  With either mild or severe symptoms, enlisting the services of an allergist can prove to be very beneficial. 

Finding a Physician 

If you suspect your child has a food allergy, contact your insurance provider or primary care physician for a referral to an allergist.  An allergist is a physician who treats issues of the immune system including allergies and asthma. Your child's allergist can help you to determine the trigger of your child's allergic reaction.  He might suggest that your child undergo a skin prick test or simple blood work to identify the specific source or sources.  Your doctor can then work with you to develop the safest way of managing the allergy. (For more information about allergists, visit websites like

Strategy for Success 

Once your child indeed has been diagnosed with a food allergy and your doctor has provided instructions for caring for your child, you must then develop a strategy for avoiding the trigger allergen.  This task is much easier said then done.  You might be shocked to learn the frequency with which your child's triggers are listed as ingredients in processed foods.  

While total abstinence from the trigger food may initially seem overwhelming, take heart.  Countless parents have gone before you.  Connect with parents through social media or a local support group.  Often, these parents can prove to be invaluable to your journey as they can offer insight into what what fast food meals are allergen-free or what food products taste the best.  They can also share recipes or provide a list of restaurants that are accommodating to people with allergies.

Having a child with food allergies can undoubtedly be frightening for any parent.  However, your confidence will increase with practice.  You will soon be able to plan meals and snacks effortlessly that do not compromise taste.  With time, keeping your child safe will become second nature!