Controlling the home environment plays a key role in managing a young child's
allergies. The first and most obvious place is the kitchen. There
is often a need to manage environmental allergens as well.
Dust, animal danders, grass, trees and pollens
can exacerbate eczema and hives. They can interfere with the detection
of food related allergies, and can make a child just plain miserable
with cold-like symptoms. Your allergist can test for a wide range
of allegens to help you hone your approach.
a safe kitchen.
Storing Food at Home.
It would be optimal to avoid bringing the allergy-causing food into your
home. This is not always possible, especially in the case of a child with multiple
allergies to common products. In this case, we suggest:
- A special shelf.
Store all allergy-safe products on one shelf- in the pantry and
the refrigerator, if possible. This allows your child to safely help
herself to foods, giving the child a sense of independence.* Be sure family,
friends and babysitters know about this special shelf.
- Stickers on Food Packages.
Place pantry stickers (see products) on packaging indicating what
is safe and not safe. Place stickers on the same spot (top right corner)
on all boxes
Isolate Cooking Utensils and Supplies.
To avoid cross contamination
of foods, designate allergy free cooking utensils and supplies to prepare
safe foods. Studies show that hot,
soapy water is adequate
to break down an offensive allergen on surface areas, however some cookware
may retain residue from previous meals, such as griddles, skillets
and cutting boards.
Identify these and purchase versions dedicated to preparing and cooking allergy-free foods.
Cook from scratch.
minimizes the chance of an allergic reaction because you know exactly
what is in the food. It offers you more control over your child's food allergies.
There are many on-line resources for allergy-free foods. (See safe food for
links) Experiment! You will be surprised how easy it is to
substitute eggs or wheat. In time, you will learn what type of recipes can
Cook the same meal for everyone.
Having everyone eat the same food is less work for you and makes the
allergic child feel “normal”. If cooking just one meal is not possible,
have at least one other member eat the allergy-free meal, too. (probably
Make several desserts and freeze them. This ensures that your child has
a special treat to eat when everyone else is having one.
this section are excerpted from “Getting Started with Food Allergies”:
A guide for Parents, by S. Allan Bock, M.D. and Anne Munoz-Furlong