What I wish I had known when we were diagnosed:
1.) Read the labels EVERY TIME. Things change in manufacturing facilities and what may have been safe one day may not be the next. Reading a label even when I have bought a product a million times is crucial.
2.) Get Educated. When I first started digging around to learn more when we were first diagnosed, it scared me to death and I couldn't read it. Now that I've been living with PA for a while, I read everything I can get my hands on. Even the "scary stuff" is beneficial to learn something from. Education has allowed my "Mommy instincts" to develop more fully.
3.) Get a Medic Alert Bracelet. When he was still a baby, I did not see the necessity in this. Now that we have one, however, I wish I had done it from day one. Tyler's bracelet identifies his allergy and give directions in the event of an emergency. It reminds those around him of his allergy and what to do and also sparks conversation of those who are not familiar with his problem.
4.) Develop an Emergency Plan. This helps everyone in his life know what to watch for and what to do if it happens. Plus, it makes me feel a lot better about leaving him in the care of others.
5.) Have a peanut free home. A child needs one place they can go and feel completely safe. Home should be a place where they know there is no danger of peanuts or peanut residue harming them. It's the one place they can completely let their guard down and be a kid!
6.) Some children react if they are in the same room with peanuts. While we have never had this issue, I think it is due to the fact I simply don't allow Tyler in the same room as peanuts. I've read numerous instances of children becoming very ill if someone is simply sitting across the room eating a PB & J.
7.) My husband and I are peanut free even if we are away from Tyler. Even a microscopic speck of a peanut can cause a reaction. So, in the somewhat rare instance that we are away from Tyler, we don't eat peanuts. The residue left on our skin or clothes could pose a harm to him. Even though we both love peanuts, we love Tyler more.
8.) Grief is normal in the beginning. I was a little surprised at how hard I took the news initially. But gradually, like anything traumatic, it gets easier with time. Allow the grief process to work itself out without being totally consumed and depressed by the allergy. You control the allergy, not the other way around.