House rules. What are yours? Wipe your feet before entering? No bad language or watching TV while doing homework? Rules are meant to help create boundaries so that things work smoothly in a home. I’ve spent the last few days thinking about this topic that rose up at the 2016 Food Allergy Anaphylaxis Connection Team Leadership Summit and Teen Conference. The suggestion was simple in regards to teens: not carrying your epinephrine auto-injector as you head out of the door, then you don’t leave the house. This concept was simple and straight forward. The conversation got me thinking about the house rules I laid down surrounding life-threatening food allergies/asthma and if I am more lax with my second food allergic child than the first.
Yes, I had a mid-life food allergy and asthma crisis briefly! I was very strict with my son since he was my first and being of the anxious variety, he was doomed to stringent protocol. My daughter came along and developed food allergies and asthma as well. The protocol stayed the same and I realized the house rules had not changed in terms of our health protocol and beliefs. But, I definitely took other approaches, regarding how I helped each one follow the rules.
It was easy for my daughter to follow protocol since big brother was already doing it. The rules were enforced differently. For example, my son always carried a backpack containing all rescue medications. My daughter refused to carry a backpack, but embraced carrying a re-usable bag, which eventually morphed into a LeSportsSac cross body bag. The House Rule remained, everyone must carry two Epinephrine Auto-Injectors, one inhaler, one spacer and their individual Emergency Action Plan. How they carried was unique to each child.
The point here is that the House Rule is written in stone until it is formally changed, but can be altered to work for each individual without losing the main goal. Here are the rules that “rule” the Moassessi household:
- Never leave the house without two epinephrine auto-injectors
- Always carry one asthma rescue inhaler, plus a spacer
- Keep your Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Action Plan with your epinephrine auto-injectors
- Do not eat food without a label and that you have confirmed the food item does not have a may contain or made in the same facility with your allergens. In my family, this means calling up the manufacturer or eating an item previously vetted
- Eat at home before heading out with peers, so if there is no safe food available, you are not starving and having a terrible time
- Always pack an extra snack or two
- Carry extra $$$ in case you need to buy safe foods when out
- Pack a fully charged battery back up for your cell phone
- Carry wipes at all times
- Schedule annual summer visit to the allergist, which includes updating prescriptions and lung function testing
- No food or drink sharing
- Try to reduce risk of a reaction in your decision making
- Make sure friends, teachers, coaches, etc., are aware of your allergies and know how to use your EPI
- Be respectful of all food allergies
- Wear Medic Alert bracelet at all times
- Thank those who work to keep you safe
What are your HOUSE RULES? Share your thoughts below!