How to Make Thanksgiving Safe for Your Grandchildren with Allergies



Thanksgiving, especially in a large family, can be stressful. Add in grandkids with allergies and hidden dangers hangs over your dinner table. 

In our family, we have to watch out for red dye 40, and yellow 5. Either one will turn our sweet grandson into a melting, crying, angry mess. He is very aware of what it does to him. He doesn’t like feeling out of control.

Last Thanksgiving I had to search for the longest time just to find a chocolate pudding he could eat without red dye.

I know Thanksgiving is a little way off, but it’s never too early to allergy-proof your kitchen.

Here’s some great advice from Nanahood.

1. Clean out your refrigerator. It probably needs it anyway and if you do it before Turkey Day you will be sure you don’t have anything in there you shouldn’t.

2. Check your pantry for items children can reach. Remove any that are harmful or that they are allergic to.

3. Plan your menu and go over it with your grandchild’s parents. They deal with food allergies on a daily basis and can help make sure what you are cooking won’t trigger any reactions.

4. Research your grandchild’s allergy. The more familiar you are with it, the less likely any accidents will happen. Knowledge is power.

5. Make sure all family members and guests who will be attending your Thanksgiving dinner are aware of your grandchildren’s food allergies. You don’t want a friendly neighbor feeding your grandchild a Snickers bar if they are allergic to peanuts. In fact, you don’t even want it in the house. Some children are so allergic that just being in the room with nuts is dangers.

Before you buy your Thanksgiving meal, prepare and understand the signs of a reaction.

It can be extremely frightening when a grandchild has an attack. The only thing more frightening is not knowing what to do or what to look for.

Severe symptoms include:

  • When his lungs are affected he will have shortness of breath, wheezing or a persistent cough.
  • If it’s affecting his heart he will be pale, blue and feel faint or dizzy.
  • His throat may swell, making it hard to breathe or swallow.
  • Look for significant swelling in his tongue or lips.
  • There could also be vomiting or severe diarrhea.
  • Even the feeling that something bad is about to happen is a sign. Fear, dread, and anxiety should not be ignored as they are also signs of a severe reaction. 

Milder symptoms most of us are familiar with, such as hives, runny nose, and itching. If you have a grandchild in your care with these symptoms, experts advise not to rely on antihistamines. When in doubt, give epinephrine and call 911.

There’s no reason to let allergies stand in the way of a memorable Thanksgiving. We just want to plan carefully so that the memories are good ones.