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Nov
04

As a parent, it can feel scary sending a child with severe food allergies off to school. And yet, thousands of children with food allergies go off to school each year with great success. My child with multiple food allergies is now in 5th grade and has not had a reaction at school. It is possible! As the numbers of children with food allergies continue to rise, the latest stat is that 1 in 13 young children have food allergies, schools and teachers have certainly become more educated and make it possible for our children to thrive in school.

I 100% believe teachers are partners and guides in our children’s education and want to keep them safe. To help ensure that my child’s teacher understands food allergy basics, and the specifics for my kiddo, I typically set up a meeting before school starts to review the Food Allergy Action Plan from our allergist and share and some additional high-level information about food allergies I’ve learned over the years.

Every time I’ve done this, teachers were grateful for the information and let me know that some of the information was new to them. Feel free to share this post with your child’s teacher or make your own handout customized for your child with any of these tips. This is certainly from my lens as a parent (not a doctor!) and is meant to be positive, affirming and help create a partnership in dialogue and action between me as a parent and the teachers caring for my kiddo. I hope it’s helpful for other parents and teachers!

10 things teachers need to know about food allergies

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May
22

I’ve been hearing news reports about an EpiPen shortage over the last couple of weeks. Even FARE, the national food allergy advocacy group, appealed to the FDA to take action, citing multiple reports of patients having difficulty getting their hands on Mylan’s EpiPens and generic EpiPens.

We aren’t in need of renewing ours anytime soon, so I haven’t panicked over it yet. However, I’ve been hearing stories from parents in Facebook food allergy groups having difficulty getting EpiPens from their pharmacies, or the ones they are given expire within 6 months, rather than the usual 12 months we all expect.

If you are trying to figure out your best game plan, here are some options:

  1. Call Mylan customer relations at 800-796-9526 for assistance. This CNN article included a quote from Mylan encouraging people to call and that they’ve been able to successfully locate alternative pharmacies for patients who are having trouble finding EpiPens.
  2. Consider other epinephrine devices. The other main competitor product is called Auvi-Q, featuring voice directions and a compact size. This includes the same epinephrine drug that is in the EpiPen, but uses a different delivery system. If your have commercial insurance and it doesn’t cover Auvi-Q, they have an Auvi-Q affordability program which may help. We had good luck using this program in the past. You can also explore a prescription for the Adrenaclick, which is most well-known for being sold at CVS as an alternative to the EpiPen. This epinephrine product gained popularity as a less expensive option compared to EpiPens when they were under scrutiny for pricing last year. Some parents have reported confusion in using the product because it has an extra step than the typical EpiPen, however they generally get the hang of it. Unfortunately, I’ve heard the Adrenaclick trainer does not automatically come with the medicine. You can find instructions on how to get a free trainer on the Adrenaclick FAQ page. It is the 10th question on the page.
  3. Hang onto your EpiPens a bit longer. I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice, however, I encourage you to read about the Expired EpiPen Safety Study testing the medicine’s efficacy after expiring at 12 months. They reported that 29 months after expiration, the pens contained at least 90% of their stated amount of epinephrine. Pens 50 months — more than four years — past the printed expiration date had more than 84% of the medication. Link to study abstract.

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May
13

** Updated May 2018 to remove outdated options and feature our favorite brand.

Friends, it’s amazing how far dairy-free yogurt has come. When we first entered the allergy world, there were very different options available and none of them very good. Now there is only on brand I will recommend to other people with food allergies – So Delicious. Their non-dairy yogurts are made with a coconut milk base, and come in all of these flavors below.

 

My husband cannot eat dairy and really loves the blueberry, key lime and raspberry flavors. We mostly buy these from Whole Foods, but occasionally buy them at general grocery stores as well. With all specialty foods, it’s important to double check the expiration date before buying. I’ve noticed these don’t move as quickly in the regular store and can expire more quickly than I’d prefer.

We also love the So Delicious ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches and non-dairy whipping cream in the freezer section. All staples in our house.

 

You can read more about our family’s experiences with food allergies by clicking on the “On Food Allergies” tab at the top of this page. Want to stay in touch? Join me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

 

Jan
28

It’s pretty amazing after avoiding a food for years for fear of getting sick, or even dying, to be able to eat that food. I remember at Avery’s first allergist appointment at 12 months old, when we first realized how severe his allergies were, the allergist said that most kids outgrow milk allergies and Avery “won’t be going to kindergarten” with that one.

Fast forward to kindergarten and Avery was still very much allergic. At age 9, about a year ago in 3rd grade, Avery’s tests finally showed a chance the milk could be outgrown and we had a baked milk challenge in the allergist’s clinic and has been eating baked milk each day since then. It opened up a few new foods, like goldfish crackers and Cheez-its. But it wasn’t really life changing…

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Dec
20

It was so much fun decorating the house for the holidays. It took so long to remodel, decorating for the holidays was the ultimate payoff! Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of hanging Christmas stockings from a fireplace mantle. We never had a fireplace growing up, well not much of anything for that matter. It makes me appreciate the comforts in my life today so much. And it’s a dream come true to decorate our gorgeous reclaimed mantle and custom shelves for the holidays this year. 

With a wreath where the clock hung and garland laced with lights, reindeer stocking hangers and beautiful stockings. I re-purposed our candle pillars and added in red flicker candles. And lots of blankets and pillows and Santas and our little tree with colorful lights. It’s such a cozy, colorful room, especially when Jason builds a fire most evenings.

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