She consults with private clients, the healthcare, food and hospitality industries, government and not-for-profit advocacy organizations.
Miller combines a lifetime of personal experience and passion with professional expertise to connect with people about how to live safely, effectively, and joyously with food allergies. You can find her at www. Sloane, can you please tell us what food allergies you manage and when you were diagnosed? I have always been an allergic girl.
I have had food allergies since birth and I developed environmental allergies, eczema and asthma in early childhood. I am also a social worker and writer. I wanted to share my experience and connect with other people with food allergies; talk about what I was going through dining out, traveling, dating and working and the things I learned. What is your most recent experience with food allergen-related anaphylaxis? What were the circumstances and what did you learn from the experience?
My most recent anaphylactic experience was in after kissing a man I had been dating. Earlier that evening, we had gone over my allergens, my anaphylaxis action plan and where I kept my emergency medications. Later that evening, while kissing, I broke out in intense hives and started wheezing. He had eaten cashews earlier that day and, even though he had no proteins in his saliva, he had cashew nut dust in his beard.
My reaction to that nut dust was swift and severe, but because we had discussed what we needed to do in an emergency, I were able to take care of the symptoms with his support and without further escalation. The experience underscored that how vital is it to have and to know your anaphylaxis action plan, to have your emergency medications on hand in all circumstances and to communicate your needs clearly and concisely to others around you so they can support you.
No one ever talks about food allergies and dating so I devoted a whole chapter just on that topic. Truly, the best defense, as they say, is a good offense. As difficult as it may be, speak up about what your needs are in a clear and factual way to your potential kissing partner.
It really helps to practice having this conversation. So, enlist a safe friend or parent to practice how to talk to your date about food allergies, your anaphylaxis plan, where your medications are and what you need to smooch safely.
As kids grow, they become involved with activities where the parents are no longer involved. How can parents prepare their teens and preteens for handling food allergies while away from home? Ideally, once your child has been diagnosed with food allergies, engage them with age-appropriate advocacy skill sets. As every child is different, go where your child is; for example, a shy child will advocate differently than a bold one.
Once your child has been diagnosed with food allergies and you receive an anaphylaxis action plan from your board certified allergist, think of it as the beginning of an ongoing process and conversation. Explore with your child the possible scenarios, solutions and outcomes as well as their feelings, fears and concerns. With younger children, this conversation can happen with play or through art; with middle school and high school children let them lead you to the emotional place they need to go.
At different life stages, fears, concerns, worries as well as strengths and accomplishments change. Remember, an anaphylaxis action plan is a live document and what constitutes an emergency is living conversation. I find for myself, my readers and my coaching clients that the best tool to create a safe environment where ever you are is to take your food allergies seriously and manage risk.
What does this mean? See a board-certified allergist. Ask a lot of questions of your allergist so you will fully understand your diagnosis.
Fill your prescriptions and always carry them with you; also know your anaphylaxis action plan. Communicate your food allergy needs to those a round you so they can help and support you. And, be patient with yourself. There will be mistakes. Being prepared will help.
They shared stories about managing food allergies in restaurants and school and more. Or is Sloane just a tiny little thing?!
She is a ball of energy…and a tiny little thing next to the two of us!