If you knew that after every outing your child would come home with diaorreah, would you go to these places? What would you do?
It's probably too easy for me and other allergy parents to become cynical in our approach to others. So I thought I'd try and put together some top tips for how others can help. Although our son has numerous known anaphylactic allergies, all his food is carefully selected to ensure it does not cause him harm. Lollies, crackers and jellies - although these may not cause a anaphylactic reaction, could cause our son to have digestive or skin irritations that lasts for days.
1. If you have kids, please please please don't let them walk around with food. I try and teach our son to sit and eat. Then we clean his hands and he is free to play. Although our motivation is allergy-based, I'm sure that there are advantages of teaching children to appreciate their food and thus lessen likelihoods of obesity. There's advantages of a cleaner house, cleaner toys - definitely worth the training!
2. Although our son is incredibly cute, and probably irresistible, please don't hold his hands, please don't touch his face unless you know that your hands are 100% clean. If you've handled any food, DON"T TOUCH OUR SON! I know physical touch is incredibly important, especially for little ones. May I suggest that a pat on the back or on the shoulders is a better option.
3. If you see some food or drink spilled somewhere, please help to clean it up - we'll be eternally grateful, as will your host.
4. If you see leftover food or wrappers lying around, please help to clean it up.
5. Don't try and give us your theories on allergies - I've heard it all: "It's because our society is too clean" - actually our family was not that clean before; "You just need to give them a little bit more each time and their body will get used to it" - actually that's how our son would most certainly die since every taste or contact brings us closer to that ever life-threatening threshold; "if you do/don't eat it during pregnancy..." - actually I ate heaps of milk and eggs, and hardly any nuts... so where's the trend there?
Having said all this, I have to admit that we have a wonderful bunch of friends around us. Some are more allergy-aware than others, but all of them want to do the best by our family. Hey, we were definitely NOT allergy aware until our little boy demanded we be. So thank you to all of you.