Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Dad! Dads and Food Allergies

Dads and Food Allergies

A common issue that comes up frequently on food allergy support groups is that the father of the child with food allergies seems to not take the food allergies seriously.  A common complaint/worry is: "My husband does not seem to understand that food allergies are a real danger".

There are many good guesses as to why this is such a common and shared issue, and I am sure the reasons are different for every family.

For my own family, it took some time for us to be on the same page. Since I happen to do the majority of the grocery buying and cooking. I was on the front lines daily. The pressure was on me to buy the right products with the right ingredient list. One slip up, and that could mean a trip to the ER.
Reading every label every time may sound easy, but as you probably know, it's not that easy, or that simple.

Because I had taken on the role of head chef, and sole nutrient gatherer, I naturally was the one reading the food allergy books, and scouring the Internet for medical journals, blogs, support groups, and anything that I felt could give me a greater understanding of what products were safe, and which were to be avoided. I also was teaching part-time, and so was the eyes and ears, and "historian" for the allergist appointments.

Being the main food and health recognizance officer for the family naturally led to my greater understanding of the issue. Filling in my husband on the issue did not come as easily... Listening to my daily ramblings on the subject was about as entertaining as watching the grass grow in the fall. 

As time has passed, I learned to forward the articles that I found, include him in the doctors visits, trust that he could make a grocery store run for the right/safe products, and let him research food allergies on his own. We are now both educated about food allergies, and I have found that Dads are very important in the food allergy equation.  They can be phenomenal advocates for their children's safety and inclusion in school, and family gatherings. They can also shop, cook, and dine out safely with their kids, all while modeling good food allergy safety such as: reading labels, asking questions, bringing safe treats from home, and carrying epinephrine.

My kids are still at the tender age where Dad looks cool no matter what he's wearing, or doing. In their eyes he is a superhero. Seeing him carry epinephrine, ask questions, and pack a safe treat will go a long way in creating good habits for the future, when he may seem just a tad less than cool.