I’ve been stewing over this post for a while…written it, deleted it, written it, and deleted it again. Why? There will be some that bristle in indignation at this post. There will be some that think I didn’t say enough about this subject. Bottom line, this has been on my heart a long time and this blog was created to help parents of children with food allergies…that is what I hope to accomplish with this post.
When my son was first diagnosed with multiple food allergies more than seven years ago, there was not an abundance of online information or resources, short of FAAN (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network). My son is the first “generation” of food allergies in our family, so it was a completely new world for us and I desperately sought information, support, and understanding.
Now, almost seven years later, there is an abundance of online food allergy information and support. My personal experience with this journey is that accurate information is always a good thing and something you can never have enough of when it comes to food allergies.
Unfortunately, there is a disturbing trend among some online food allergy “resources” that blur and, okay, sometimes completely obliterate the line between accurate information and rhetoric. It is frustrating as a parent of a child with food allergies to see these entities treat the serious subject of food allergies with such demeaning carelessness. Even more disconcerting is the “authority” with which these entities consider themselves experts. It is dangerous and irresponsible and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
Rather than focus on the negative, let’s use our own experience to help other parents pay it forward. I’d love to share a few tips I have adopted for myself when conducting online research and am hoping you might find a few them useful when conducting your own online research.
If you have any additional tips on safely navigating the world of food allergy blogs, I hope you will comment and share with other readers.
- Verify your source’s credibility. Good sources should be associated with prominent and respected industry names (such as FAAN and AANMA).
- Thoroughly research your source on the web and in print.
- Research the information. Compare your online findings to that of respected industry resources and see if there is any alignment.
- Beware of sites that offer allergy friendly meal plans. You and your child’s doctor can more accurately define your child’s dietary needs than a stranger that may or may not be well-educated in food allergies.
- Beware of resources that consistently cite online articles from random sources that are not credible. Citing a number of sources does not make information truthful or accurate. Be sure the cited information from a respected media outlet with credibility and then speak with the allergist about your findings before making any changes.
- Consider how information is presented. Food allergy advocates should encourage you to do your own research and speak with your doctor/allergist before making any changes.
- Speak with an expert. Ask a trusted confidant such as a doctor, allergist, or accredited food allergy advocate (such as FAAN and AANMA) about the information and source in question.