At the beginning, it can be an isolating and anxious time trying to support a child emotionally as well as trying to ensure that any treatments and avoidance measures are properly used. Parents may require further advice and support to cope most effectively with the condition. By using the support of staff at your GP practice and from other organisations (such as Allergy UK), you and your child can feel more confident and in control.
It is important to remember that at the centre of the team managing your child’s allergy are you and your child. Your roles are vital in not only keeping up treatments, but also keeping track of how well symptoms are being controlled. Thinking ahead, and taking responsibility with your child for managing their allergies, will improve a child’s quality of life and also help them develop coping mechanisms and find ways of minimising symptoms.
While you and your child are in charge of maintaining treatments and managing your child’s allergy, this does not mean that you are on your own in dealing with your child’s health needs. We now understand much more about allergy, and once diagnosed and referred you can get access to many people within the healthcare profession to help and support you. Sometimes you may need to bring to your doctor’s attention additional concerns that you have, or request to see additional specialists mentioned here.
By attending follow-up appointments and reviews, you will have the chance to ask questions and find out about the latest developments and research. Some children grow out of an allergy while, for some types of allergy, new treatments are being introduced. Thus, returning for regular reviews means the allergy team can decide on the best treatment for your child.
People outside of the healthcare profession are often eager to offer support and help when they know a child is suffering from a medical condition. Sometimes though, this means providing them with enough information so that they understand the difficulties and problems that these diseases cause.
There may be many different people involved in your child’s life, and who might need more information about allergy and how to help if your child has an allergic reaction. They may be a relative, childminder, teacher, school nurse, friend, dinner lady or even a bus escort, in fact, anyone who is responsible for your child’s care at any time during the day. This is where Allergy UK can help; by contacting our helpline, we can advise you on providing the right information so that they know how to help your child. It may be that one or more of these people needs to administer medication or help your child avoid the problem allergen(s). Allergy UK has a number of leaflets available with details about specific allergies and other useful information which you can give to others to help explain about your child’s condition.
It is vital that your child knows whom to tell if they feel unwell and if they think they may be having an allergic reaction, but it is also just as important that the person they tell knows what to do It is therefore useful to have an Allergy Management Plan for your child that can be left with anyone caring for your child so that they can refer to it if your child has an allergic reaction.
At Allergy UK we understand that sometimes you need support and help with your child alongside the very important medical care you are receiving. Many organisations exist to help parents of children with allergy and conditions caused by allergy. They are often run by parents whose children also have allergies and who have experienced the same issues and challenges that you are having.
Support groups and organisations can help by supplying useful literature and information, telephone helpline advice, videos, websites and fund-raising for various activities. Sometimes they are able to explain about products that are useful for specific conditions, and can give day-to-day information which is not medical but still could be useful for you and your child. They do not remove the need for medical care, but may be able to provide additional tips in managing allergies and allergic conditions.
Medical professionals are often linked in some way to support groups, and expert information is also available; your GP will be able to suggest suitable organisations you could contact. Allergy UK also works alongside many groups to try to develop and promote good practice in managing allergies and preventing allergic reactions. For further details please contact the Allergy UK Helpline.
Last updated: March 2012