Epipen cost and fear of back to school with food allergies

When a student has food allergy going back to school is not such an exciting time of the year for anyone in the family.  The student not only have to deal with the normal anxious feelings of going to school but they have to cope with their mom's or dad's food allergies preparedness madness. The list of to do things is never ending and real fears are often attached to it. 

Food allergy related fears will come and go, new ones will quickly appear and stick inside for a long time, and others suddenly go away without you ever noticing.  Talking about  food allergy fears gets easier with time, but there is no possible way to stop them.

Once food allergies touches your life or the one of someone you love, is like you will forever have to carry a heavy bucket labeled food allergy fears. Sometimes you can quickly empty the bucket but somehow one fear will always manage to get stuck inside and its could feel so disturbing that you just don't want to talk about it. These are what I call the "silent fears".

Some of the most common food allergy "silent fears" others have shared, I have witnessed kids go through, or have personally experienced during twelve school years.  

Children and teens want to feel safe at school especially if they have anaphylaxis food allergies, so they want mom to tell the nurse about their allergies and give the school his/her safety kit but they fear what else she is going to do. Is mom going to tell everyone about my allergies? Is she going to start distributing all those food allergy awareness flyers? Is she going to start putting up posters about how to use an Epipen? Is she going to be there all the time, going to all the school trips, volunteering to do things that no volunteers are needed for? Will she ever stop?

No matter what mom does or how she does it, a child with food allergies will feel that they are different and there is no way to keep them a secret. Sooner or later someone is going to know and they will be treated different by many, excluded from activities,  be embarrassed by their mom, or even forced to sit on the allergy safe cafeteria table with kids he/she hates. They will share some of their fears, but living with food allergies is always attached to a silent fear.

Parents Silent Fears. 
Parents, especially mom's of students with food allergies try to act normal during back to school but in the inside they are terrified. I wish I could tell moms to relax and not to worry so much about but I can't. If you have a child with food allergies, you need to plan, execute and never led your guard down. Always follow your instincts and don't be ashamed of becoming a "helicopter mom". With time you get better at it and will be able to find ways to do things without embarrassing your child,  but some kind of fear will always be there.  Not been able to closely watch over your child will always make you worry about something. If you ever see another parent with a child who also has food allergies even if they seem like they have everything under control, they don't. Every parent is always dealing with a food allergy "silent fear".

How to talk about back to school with food allergy fears so others will listen and what to do without telling anyone. 

Kid: Mom please don't start telling everyone at school about my food allergies, just tell the school nurse. Please don't embarrass me.

Mom: Don't worry, I will only inform the school nurse about it and only those that the nurse tells me I have to.
Kid: Can dad do it?
Mom: That's a great idea I will ask him to do it.

What to do:  Try to get dad to do it and if he can't ask him to speak to your child and help your child not to be afraid of what you will do.

If dad takes the kit to school, Mom (without telling anyone what your are doing) while preparing the medicine kit, don't include inside the kit a medicine that is not a must have, such as an anti-acid or Tylenol. The next day go to school and take the medication you forgot to the nurse. Try to go during school hours so your child won't see you.

How Parents can
Get name, telephone, and email of every teacher your child will have, even the coaches and send them an individualized email explaining your kids allergies. Send a picture of the child embedded in the email. If the teacher doesn't answer your e-mail or the reply you get looks like an automatic reply, call them. You will probably get a recorder, so leave a message like
 "Hi Mr. X I emailed you a note about my child (give name and last name) but I am not sure I send it to the correct e-mail address. Please let me know if you did. The best way to reach me is at: xxx-xxx-xxxx" 

Don't waste time worrying about what others will think or say about you.  Every single time a mom tells someone about your child's allergies you will be told to relax and everyone around you will think or say that you are acting "crazy" "paranoid" "overprotective" "ridiculous" .

1. How can I trust a nurse or an underpaid teacher who needs to take care of another 20 kids with problems to  care of my child?
 2. So many times I just think I was lucky and God helped, because I didn't do was I was supposed to.

  • All moms have already missed  the signs of a severe anaphylaxis reaction at one time or another. 
    • I shouldn't have injected the Epipen... but...He/She seemed fined ..Next time I will just inject him/her with the Epipen... 
    • But if I used the Epipen everytime I think my kid is having a reaction I would be using it every day.  There is not a day that goes by that a moment of panic due to ingested foods forces you to make a decision
    • If use the Epipen ...OHH!!!! you over reacted... If I don't Ohhh!!! you should have. 
    •  I guess we all have to simply say "Thank God"  and/or "we just got lucky...

By the way, when you look back you will always wonder:
-I gavehim/her benadryl and I think it was out of panick.
-I got lucky and I really feel bad because I should have listen to my son and call 911 sooner. ....

I believe the day I realized my son was much smarter than me was when he was about 4 years of age. When the time came to start school, I was silently panicking about the food allergies.  Inside my brain I would have these thoughts/conversations
 1. He is really smart but he is going to be in school with teachers that just met him and they have another 18 plus kids more to worry about.
2. He is really little but I don't know why, but I know he will say what he needs when he needs it. But adults will not do what he says.  They will want to take over the decisions on what to do in case of an allergic reaction.

Why I knew he knew what to do better than a nurse of a teacher as long as he was not "overpowered"
Why I knew my soon to enter Kindergarten child knew when he was having an allergic reaction more than any nurse or school teacher could?
Even as a baby there he was able to somehow always able to let me know that ..."mom relax I know I am OK or vs Mom call 911 or I will call them"
It was confusing, for me, but now that I look back he was always right.

What we Moms tell Teachers to do and What adults caring for a kid with food allergies usually do:
I knew teachers and school administrators were adults and in case of an accidental food allergic reaction adults would take over and do what needed to be done to keep him safe such like I did many times,  "Don't worry just take this Benadryl and you will be OK".

Why do we think we know best? Why do we think we know when a child is having a severe allergic reaction? Why do we tell them, just relax and thing that they are over reacting?

Before he could read my child knew better than I though I did when he was having a food allergic reaction.  When was barely six years of age, I gave him some sweet snacks I had ordered directly from the manufacturer and I was 200% confident he could eat them. He took small bite and immediately spit it out and said mom this is not's making my tongue itch. Trying to follow what "experts" said about kids becoming paranoid or afraid of trying new foods, I keep assuring him that it was allergy safe.  So I did what most adults do, I said "No you are not having a reaction just relax. But I was just saying what
the experts" say you need to do.  Just in case I did what most parents, caregivers, school nurses, and coaches would do: "Here  baby, take some Benadryl, even though I don't think you need to and relax". Then he grabbed the phone and stuck his tonge out and said: " Mom look at my tonge ( it was really swollen) if you don't call 911 I will.

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