6. Read the label of every food item in your house (pantry, refrigerator, and freezer) and throw out foods that either contain or are exposed to your food allergens

After your child is diagnosed with a food allergy, you have to approach food in completely different way than you have before.

Every time your child takes a bite of food, they risk being exposed to their allergens.
Think about that for a minute.

To do this correctly, you are going to have to read every ingredient on every label in your house. Get used to it. You'll have to do it at the grocery store, too. Please make time for it – it is crucial.

Teach your child the importance of reading labels, and have them do it with you as soon as they can read. Make sure your child knows that the only way to keep themselves safe is to read the label of the food they intend to eat.

Make label reading a game when they're young
The first word our child could read was “Peanut”. As we would go through the grocery store, I would pick up various boxes of cereal, cookies, granola bars, etc., and we would search for “peanut” on the label. As soon as we found it, she would read it out loud, and then at the top of our lungs, we would both yell, "EEEEEWWWW! YUCK! PEANUTS!" And then we would double over with laughter, because we had just yelled in the middle of the grocery store aisle! This type of game is better done at a time when moms with sleeping infants are not nearby.

Even now our food allergic daughter loves to look for peanuts, tree nuts and eggs at the grocery store. She'll point them out, say, “Ew, yuck!” and do a little shudder just to emphasize her disdain for these foods that are so dangerous for her.

Don't let accidental exposures happen at home
The truth is, there will likely be times when your child is accidentally exposed to their allergen at a restaurant or at school. Don't let it happen at home, too. Get the risky foods out of your house right now. Then read labels at the store so that you keep risky foods out of your house.

Right now, food allergies can't be "cured" in the same way as environmental allergies
For environmental allergies (such as dust and pollen) you can take shots containing tiny doses of what you're allergic to and build up a tolerance to it over time. Right now, this is not true for food allergies. There was a clinical test whose preliminary results indicate that there might be a way to build up a tolerance to peanuts. You can view the press release here   Peanut Allergy Treatment is Encouraging

While this is very exciting and promising, these tests are at a very early stage. During your child's lifetime, allergy shots for food allergens might be available. But right now complete avoidance of the allergen should be your goal.

So, get rid of everything in your house that either contains or is exposed to your child's food allergens. The next checklist item tells you how.
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