We have already spoken about the difficulties facing food allergy families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be the fear surrounding food shortages or the anxieties of possibly requiring an ER during this time, we have come to understand the things that we need to be wary about and have learned different ways to protect ourselves and our families. That said, what we have failed to mention thus far, is the ways in which the food allergy family was more prepared for this pandemic.
The idea of an invisible danger isn’t foreign to children and families with food allergies. For so many, understanding the coronavirus was difficult because it was invisible. However, for people living with food allergies, avoiding a danger that can’t be seen is already part of their daily lives. For someone living with a fish allergy, for example, the smell of fish can be enough to trigger an allergic reaction. Peanuts and dairy can be the same way. For people who are used to avoiding airborne triggers, avoiding the coronavirus is like second nature.
Fomites and surfaces have been one of the most talked about topics when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many researchers have expressed their fears in regards to how easy it can be to transfer the virus this way. But for people with food allergies, the idea of unsafe surfaces – or cross contamination - is no new concept. Many food allergy families avoid foods that are made on the same lines as their allergen for this reason. Some even avoid foods that comes from the same facilities.
Any parent or sibling living with someone with food allergies, knows the importance of a good 20 second hand washing. If you live with someone who is allergic to peanuts, but still enjoy the occasional snickers, then the hand sanitize, 20 second, soap scrub should already be familiar. One of the most important things when it comes to eradicating the novel coronavirus is proper hygiene. However, too many people don’t actually know how to wash their hands properly. That said, people with loved ones with life threatening food allergies know all about singing the ABC’s and getting between those fingers.
Children who grew up with food allergies know the importance of keeping safe. Given how life threatening their allergies can be, many of these kids have already mastered the art of protecting themselves. This also means that they’re more in tune to listen to the safety directions their parents give them. For many, explaining to their children the dangers of coronavirus was no easy feat, but convincing them to follow the rules was all the harder. However, when it comes to families with food allergies, taking safety precautions and preparing for emergency situations, is already part of their everyday routines.
It’s only natural for children to want to share with each other. Sharing creates bonds and connections that result in the forming of friendships. However, when trying to avoid the coronavirus, sharing snacks and drinks isn’t always the best way to go. Sharing is not always caring. And food allergy children already know this to be the case. Children that are on strict diets recognize the importance of keeping themselves separate. Today, with schools beginning to open back up and children returning to their normal lives, knowing when not to share a cookie, or take a sip of someone else’s juice box, is a huge advantage.
Dealing with the coronavirus requires an element of maturity. For many, their children don’t understand the real dangers involved in this pandemic or choose to take risks they shouldn’t regardless. However, studies have shown that children with food allergies tend to be more mature and responsible. Given the difficulties they face in their daily lives, they are more equipped to deal with hard times and are more likely to act responsibly when faced with danger. While the coronavirus has been difficult on many and hasn’t been ideal for anybody, for parents, the struggles have been tenfold. That said, having a child that is able to better navigate the dangers of the coronavirus and who you can trust to take precautions, make it undoubtedly, a little bit easier.
There are a number of hardships that people with food allergies face on a daily basis. And for many, especially those who have recently developed their allergies, it can be tough to see the upside. However, the coronavirus has shown us that there definitely is one. The skills – which range anywhere from practicing proper hygiene, to growing more responsible – that become ingrained within us from living with food allergies, are undeniable. While no one was truly equipped for the difficulties of the coronavirus, and while the pandemic certainly affected the lives of everyone, those living with food allergies, may have been just slightly more prepared.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA