Chances are you have suffered an episode that led you to the ER and or to the allergist. The allergist is the specialist that tests, diagnoses and treats allergies and asthma and all the symptoms and conditions related. You are now diagnosed and on a protocol that includes most probably prescription medications, epinephrine auto-injector, a food allergy action plan or an asthma action plan.
Where to go from here to continue living a happy and healthy life and creating an inclusive environment?
Educating the patient starts with the physician but it doesn’t end in the examining room. There are support groups where you can share each other experiences, ACAAI (American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology) and the AAAAI (American Association of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology) the official organizations that share useful information on their websites. It’s a teamwork that starts with your physician, clinicians and nurses that will help you understand the function of medications and the option for allergy shots if needed. They will provide you with action plans and any other form that schools and after care facilities will need.
Adapting your life to the new condition can be overwhelming at first, especially if the patient is a school-aged child. As a parent you’d want to have her/him under control at all times, yet all you’ll need to do is to educate your family, friends and all care-takers that spend time with your child. They will have to learn how to identify symptoms in order to administer epinephrine when needed, and not let the conditions escalate to emergency level.
Having a pet allergy doesn’t mean that you will have to give the pet away, being diagnosed with exercise induced asthma doesn’t mean you will not be able to practice sports, being allergic to a food doesn’t mean that you will not be able to eat anymore or share happy moments like birthday parties or family gatherings.
After understanding the steps and precautions to take as a family to prevent an allergic reaction, feeling overwhelmed will be a thing of the past.
Inspire, motivate and speak-up.
Now that you learned the in-and-out of your child condition, it’s time to educate others. You will encounter all sorts of reactions, and you’ll have to have much patience and determination. Many people have misled or incomplete ideas of what allergies are, not everyone is empathic or will be willing to cooperate, but the safety and wellbeing of the patient are paramount.
Support and encouragement are always the best way to empower.