Information and advice for a parent or carer of a child living with allergy

Parent of a 12 to 17 year old

Peers and friends

Hopefully, by this age your child is confident speaking about their allergies. If not, revisit the conversations you have had in the past about not being afraid of their allergies.

How much they tell existing or new friends about their allergies should be left up to them, but make them aware that if friends know what keeps them safe, it’ll make things much easier for them. Many people will have little understanding of allergy but does not mean everyone is unwilling to understand. A good friend who listens can make their pathway with allergies much easier.

Research has shown that by having supportive friends, children and adolescents are less likely to take part in risky behaviour related to their food allergy.

  • Encourage your young person to carry their rescue meds with them every time they leave the house.
  • Encourage them to teach their friends about their allergies, what they should do if they have a severe reaction.  This could be in a school talk or when friends come over to their house.
  • Get your young person to show peers what their emergency medication looks like, where it is kept and what to do if there is a severe reaction.
  • Encourage them to ask their friends to practise using a trainer adrenaline auto-injector responsibly – these are available for free from each company.

Romantic relationships

If your child lives with a food or latex allergy, there are some things you will need to discuss with them before they experience their first kiss or enter a serious relationship:

  • Food particles can stay on the skin for a few hours after the food has been eaten. Kissing can cause some people to react to very small amounts of food allergens up to a few hours after the other person has eaten. This is important to remember not just as your child goes into the world of dating but also for relatives and friends when children are young.
  • Young people with eczema may feel less attractive and more body conscious than their peers. If you think this is affecting your young person’s mental health and interfering with social activities do seek help.
  • Suggest they initially consider food free dates, if a food allergy is a concern.
  • Allergic reactions during sex are unusual but latex condoms may contain milk and latex. Latex free condoms are suitable for both people with latex and cow’s milk allergy. Lubricants may have scents/dyes/preservative and can cause allergic reactions so you may want to advise them to choose ones which are fragrance free.
  • Although reactions to semen are very rare, some research shows semen can contain tiny amounts food protein, so if symptoms occur a suitable condom can help.
  • Being intimate can cause allergies to flare, e.g. eczema often flares due to heat and sweat and asthma can be triggered by emotions and activity.
  • Aeroallergens such as pet hair, house dust mite and different detergents on bedding, materials and clothes may increase allergic symptoms so it’s important to carry medications if trigger symptoms.

Additional Resources

Supporting Children and Adolescents to Independence

Supporting Children and Adolescents to Independence

At Allergy UK, we want to provide support to both parents/carerers, and children and adolescents on embarking the next steps. So we have provided some tips that can be implemented easily, to help your child gain more independence around their allergies.

Rubber Latex Allergy

Rubber Latex Allergy

This factsheet aims to provide awareness of natural rubber latex allergy. The different types of natural rubber latex allergy will be identified, as well as the symptoms that may be seen in each type. Sources of products containing latex will also be highlighted.

Reactions to Alcohol

Reactions to Alcohol

True allergy to alcohol is extremely rare, although cases of skin rash reactions have been recorded. More often, alcohol exacerbates underlying conditions such as asthma, urticaria and rhinitis because it opens up blood vessels. Sensitive people may get wheezy, headaches and skin flushes.

Sanofi UK has provided a financial contribution to the production of this digital destination but has had no editorial input into the design, content or other outputs.

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