Episode 61: Being Supportive of Families with Children Living with Allergies

In this episode of The Family Couch, we talk with Jaclyn Tran about the effects of allergies on the child, the family, and the family support system.

We jump in and discuss what it means to have allergies and how they affect our bodies.  Tran provides that there are seasonal allergies, where a doctor will tell you to take medicine and go about your day.  There are also severe allergies that result in anaphylaxis. These are IgE-meditated, which means you eat a food and you can die.  It can just take one drop of food. People also have food sensitivities which can really harm them. True food allergies are IgE-meditated, and food sensitivities mean that you’ll have discomfort but not die from it.  You can have both at the same time, and if so, you need to distinguish what is causing what. Tran recommends writing down the ingredients. “Natural ingredients” can be 100 different things. Tran wants to educate people about real food and what they’re putting into their bodies.

Tran provides that IgE-meditated is like your body’s fight or flight response.  This is when you eat or breathe something and your body thinks it’s under attack.  Your body starts to release chemicals and experience symptoms. This can touch on cardiovascular, skin, gastrointestinal, etc.  Tran explains that an allergy can happen to anyone, anytime. If you’ve had a food once and been a little itchy, this does not mean the next time you eat the food you’ll only be a little itchy–you could go into full-blown anaphylaxis.

We discuss what a parent can do if they aren’t 100% sure of their child’s allergies but they suspect they may have one.  Tran recommends a skin-prick test. These are only 50% accurate, so Tran considers them a roadmap. She recommends writing down what your child eats and their reaction to it.  Reactions can happen 6-8 hours after the child eats something. Tran recommends writing down each food and ingredient.  Tran provides that cross-contamination often comes into play.  If the child can bring their school, this is best. If not, an IEP is recommended to let the school know about the allergies and what plans are in place.  In cafeterias, food may touch something that the child cannot have, or the cafeteria employees may use latex gloves when the child is allergic to latex. These are things that just slip people’s minds.  Tran further describes that an allergy is a disability. These needs to be addressed before school starts. Tran recommends letting the teacher know, even if the parents are afraid of what will happen.

We next talk about parent-shaming for families with child-allergies.  Tran states that children have the right to an education. The child can go in the classroom and learn.  Tran emotionally describes that this isn’t just one day for a child–it’s every day. When a child is diagnosed with an allergy, especially multiple allergies, it affects the whole family.  The first few years are difficult but it does get better. Holidays are difficult. Tran mentions a study that said that the parents of children with allergies have a low quality of life because of the constant worry and stigma.   There is frustration when others assume they know all about your situation and what you should do. Tran lets families know that she is there to help them work through the changes.

Tran mentioned that she homeschools her children, but we discuss what a parent can do if that is not an option for them.  She recommends having the IEP set up so the school pays attention. She also says to set parameters. Tran gives the example of needing 48 hours if there will be a party so her child is not excluded.  Bringing an AllerCoach with you as a liaison with the school is a good idea. If you notice any changes in your child’s behavior, such as not wanting to go to school or crying, you need to address them.

We discuss a time when Tran’s son started Kindergarten and she noticed a change in his behavior as school progressed.  He started off being very excited and then slowly declined in his behavior. Tran went to the principal who said his behavior was normal.  She had to pull her son out of bed every day because he did not want to go to school. One day he told her he wanted a knife to cut out his stomach.  Tran had a therapist come to their home, and they addressed what he meant by that, which was that he wanted to take the allergies out of his body. One morning, Tran showed up to the school late with her son when the kids were already at recess having lunch.  The school cafeteria employee said that they just love her son and told him, “You know what to do!” He then pulled out a chair to sit in his classroom and watch the kids eating outside. Her son said, “This is what kids with food allergies do.” After this, Tran and her husband decided to pull her son out of school to homeschool him, and his behavior changed back to normal.

Tran recommends that if you know someone whose child has allergies, food sensitivities or a special diet, you can call them and ask them questions about how to help them out.  You don’t need to ask “How bad is it?” People are more important than food, and Tran feels that we have missed that along the way. Tran discusses the Epi-Pen and that it is a last resort.  If your child is having a reaction and is burning up, hot pink and covered in welts, you have to hold them down and stab them with the Epi-Pen twice. Doing this over and over again because someone wants to eat is not the answer.  Tran’s goal as a mom is to teach her children to ask questions, read labels and say, “No, thank you!” if they can’t have something.



Jaclyn Tran is a nurse, AllerCoach, and the President and founder of My Simple Palate, a nonprofit she started to help families with any special diet or rare disease.  Tran noticed that families are impacted by allergies and she wants to be there to help them. She also homeschools her children, who both have multiple food allergies, anaphylaxis, and rare diseases.



WEBSITE: https://www.mysimplepalate.com/

WEBSITE: https://www.allercoach.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/jaclyn.tran.58

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/mysimplepalate

INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/mysimplepalate


Be sure to subscribe to the channel for updates on weekly updates!



Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShameProofParenting

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ParentSkillz

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ShameProofParenting

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/ShameProofParenting



Please share in the comments what you think about the episode, questions you have about the topic, and any other comments you’d like to share.



Watch The Family Couch – new episodes go live Wednesdays at 8:00am PST! http://thefamilycouchshow.com


Want to be on The Family Couch or know someone who would be a great guest? Email us at mercedes@shameproofparenting.com

Speak Your Mind