Article Courtesy Scrapjazz.com: by Rachel Myerson

Allergies seem to be on the rise these days. We hear about schools that are peanut-free, families giving away beloved pets, and children put on different types of diets to combat allergies and intolerances. Allergies are not sicknesses, but children with allergies sometimes feel that things are harder for them or that they are missing out on some part of life. With all of the exciting things we have to put in our scrapbooks, why would anyone consider making layouts about allergies?

Probably the most important reason to make a layout about allergies is to record the information. Of course, there is probably a medical diagnosis but there is also a story. When did the diagnosis take place? And what happens if the patient is exposed to the forbidden allergen? Since many allergy diagnoses take place when children are young, they often have no idea why they can't eat certain foods or play with certain types of pets. Here is a layout in the gallery that shows a photo of an 18-month-old child after exposure to cats.

My two children have celiac disease. Technically, this is more of an intolerance than an allergy, which made the diagnosis less obvious and the symptoms less life-threatening. As a result of this diagnosis, they had to stop eating foods containing gluten, some of which they liked such as cake and pizza. I wanted to record the information of how they were diagnosed and what would happen if they continued to eat the gluten. (In case you are wondering, one of my children stopped growing which was what eventually led to the celiac diagnosis.) However, I wanted to make the layouts positive and attractive about how we are moving on in a life with new foods.  Here is a layout I made about my older son and this diagnosis. The journaling describes how we came about the diagnosis, but the photo shows him trying new foods.

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My younger son never really liked pizza and other gluten foods and had a more positive approach to the new diet. He also has other food allergies and is used to dietary restrictions. I used this upbeat theme in this layout about his celiac diagnosis.

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If you decide to make layouts about your children's allergies, here are some things to consider, including:

  • When was the allergy discovered?
  • How was it discovered?
  • What happens if they are exposed to the allergen?
  • What types of exposure cause the problem? For example, do they need to eat the food to have a reaction or merely touch it?
  • Is the allergy life-threatening? If not, what are the detrimental effects? Later in life, they may choose to risk a runny nose for a certain social situation, while they would not choose to risk hospitalization.
  • What was the name of the doctor or hospital where they were treated?
  • Do these allergies run in the family?
  • What medications are needed? (I carry an EpiPen for my son's sesame seed allergy. He will need to understand and carry one when he is older.)
  • How does everyone feel about it?

Of course, you can make layouts about your own allergies or those of other adults. In this case, the story of the diagnosis may be unknown or not needed. However, information about the reactions and feelings about the allergy are still important to include.

As with any subject, whether to include allergies in your scrapbook is a personal decision. However, if you decide to make layouts about your children's allergies, I hope the ideas here help you find an appropriate way to preserve the information.

 

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