Be Choosy When It Comes to Food Allergy Blogs

When my son was diagnosed with food allergies more than seven years ago, there weren’t many support networks for parents.  The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network was the only resource I had…thank goodness!

Today, it is thrilling to see the amount of resources and support networks available to parents of children with food allergies.  But with that gift, comes great responsibility.  With so many resources how do we, as parents, know which blogs and websites are the most accurate and helpful?

Earlier this spring, I wrote an article on safely navigating the web.  These are basic tips that will help you separate fact from fiction and helpful from worrisome.

With those suggestions in mind, I’d like to focus on finding a blogger that is worth his or her salt.  Here are some things to consider when following your favorite food allergy blogger:

  • Personal Experience:  What is the blogger’s personal experience with food allergies?  How long have they been dealing with the diagnosis?  The best food allergy bloggers have personal, first-hand experience in living with food allergies.
  • Advice:  Where does the blogger stand when it comes to medical advice?  Do they encourage you to speak with your pediatrician/allergist or do they make medical recommendations of their own?   Board-certified physicians and allergists are the only entities with credentials for dispensing sound medical advice.
  • Marketing:  Does the blogger have ads running on the sidebar of their page?  Do they only promote items that are marketed on their page?  Ads on a blogger’s page should not necessarily raise a red flag.  However, if the blogger continuously promotes only the brands mentioned in those ads, you could be missing out on a wide range of other allergy-friendly brands that could be great for your family.
  • Credibility:  Does the blogger receive compensation for product reviews?  A blogger should never be compensated for doing a review as it undermines their objectivity and will often positively slant the review regardless of the blogger’s true feelings about the product.
  • Collaboration:  Does the blogger regularly send you to other bloggers’ and other food allergy organization’s sites?  Do they have guest posts?  Do they share great tidbits of industry information on their blog and facebook page?   Any blogger worth their salt will regularly share other resources with you to help you, the reader, expand your information base.  Although personal experience definitely lends itself to blogging about food allergies, the addition of industry networking will benefit readers in a much more positive way.

Next time you’re surfing the web and visit your favorite food allergy blogger, consider the above and see how they rate.  If you know you’ve hit the food allergy blogger jackpot, share your find with the rest of the food allergy community!!!

Not sure where to start?  Visit The Food Allergy&  Anaphylaxis Network’s blog here.


Navigating the World of Food Allergy Blogs

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.