There is no cure for food allergies and I’m sick of people telling me that there is.
By “people” I mean friends, strangers, educators, health professionals, news reports and Google.
The latest ridiculous claim states that feeding your child peanuts early in life could help to prevent them developing an allergy later in life. As all allergy parents know, food allergies don’t often spontaneously develop. Our kids are born with deathly allergies to certain foods.
Called the LEAP-on study (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy), approximately 600 children in the U.S. were examined for peanut allergies. Food allergies is a growing problem in America. Researchers found out that among the children who avoided peanuts, 35 percent tested positive for an allergy with a skin prick test however among those exposed to peanuts it was just 11 percent.
They did emphasis that further research was needed before these results are used in any guidelines.
Food allergies have reached epidemic proportions in Australia leading to restrictive food bans in many primary schools. As an allergy mum it’s hard to understand how the timing of introducing certain foods could affect whether or not a child will be allergic. My son was born with food allergies. He couldn’t keep one drop of my breast milk down, that’s how sensitive he was, and still is.
I find the overly simplistic nature of most food allergy cause and cure advice frustrating. I can’t help but feel annoyed when someone tells me how to cure my son’s food allergies. Do they think I haven’t heard of it? Do they think I haven’t considered it or tried it?
None of these “cures” and “treatments” work:
Introducing foods earlier;
Choosing organic foods;
Having a messy home full of germs;
Eating a wide variety of foods while pregnant;
Avoiding certain foods while pregnant;
Jumping up and down while eating certain foods;
Mind over matter;
Carrying crystals containing life-saving super powers.
It’s truly frustrating and worse, it’s parent-blaming. The suggestion is that children are suffering from food allergies because parents are following or not following the latest health advice on when to introduce foods. Except it changes every year.
Here are a couple of facts:
1. We don’t know what causes food allergies;
2. We don’t know how to cure food allergies.
All we do know is how to manage food allergies. This is done by educating people who don’t know about food allergies and helping sufferers learn how to manage their own food allergies when they come of age. That involves carrying their life-saving medication with them at all times and exercising vigilance when it comes to food. There’s no way around it.
Sure it’s a bit of a bummer but it’s not like they have a choice. You just do what keeps you safe. This constant discussion about possible causes of food allergies and baseless suggestions about ways to avoid them help no-one. They oversimplify what is a very dangerous condition. What’s going to keep those with food allergies safe is more people understanding the reality of living with them every day.