Posts from ‘Health’
If you or someone you know has food allergies or insect allergies, you should see an allergist (special doctor trained in allergies) to learn if you need to carry epinephrine (commonly known as the Epi Pen) with you. Most families I know with food allergies are told to carry epinephrine (2 doses at all times). When a severe reaction hits, this medication can be critical for survival.
I’ve learned you cannot predict the severity of a food allergy reaction based on previous reactions. I’ve witnessed reactions that are mild for one exposure and very serious the next. In other words, I can’t just expect it will be the same type of reaction each time and need to prepare for serious reactions.
Many people KNOW they should carry an Epi Pen for severe allergies, but don’t actually do it for a number of reasons. I’ve heard:
- It’s expired and I need a new prescription
- They are so expensive
- I’ll just give an antihistamine or call 911 if needed
- I keep forgetting it at home
Friends – NO MORE EXCUSES!
The reason the FDA gives average people like you and me auto-injector needles with epinephrine in them is because people suffering from a severe allergic reaction need the medicine administered IMMEDIATELY – survival rates are highest when the epi is given in under 2 minutes from onset of symptoms. This means we need to act quickly and not “wait for the paramedics” or try to drive the person to the hospital ourselves.
My kiddos and I have decided to put our heads and hearts together to raise money to help the Food Allergy Support Group of MN (link to fundraising page here). This group has made a significant difference in our lives. From the early days of my daughter’s diagnosis of life-threatening food allergies to years later, navigating school and social situations. This group is truly an emotional lifeline for children and parents with food allergies in the Twin Cities.
Our family participates in the meetings for both parents and kids and we go to the fun events throughout the year. This is a big part of our community and support system and I am so grateful for the group’s existence. In fact, I spend quite a few hours a month volunteering on the Board of Directors for the group – helping make decisions and lend time and support to make sure the group is sustainable moving forward.
I always train new babysitters, Pre-K teachers and family on food allergies before they spend time alone with my daughter who has severe food allergies. We review the Allergy Action Plan from our doctor, which outlines what to do when certain symptoms appear (for example, when to use medication or call 911).
Recently I was typing up some tips to share with my daughter’s Pre-K that address the “extra” things I want them to know. I’ll be keeping it handy to walk through with babysitters in the future as well. We’ll have something more comprehensive when she starts Kindergarten next year – but this is a good place to start for my average family member or babysitter. Hope it’s helpful to some of you as well!
To make things easy on folks looking for food allergy information, I’ve been keeping a list of all my posts on my Food Allergy page. And the list keeps getting bigger and bigger.
When I took a close look recently, I realized there a few different categories of posts I’ve been writing:
- Educational (tips, products)
- Food (recipes, food product reviews)
- Reflections (personal stories, essays)
Valentine’s Day is a tough holiday for families with food allergies, as one in three parents report their children with life-threatening food allergies have experienced anaphylaxis on the holiday, according to a new study by Mylan Specialty. I don’t know about you, but one in three is too high for me. It’s scary and makes me worried that my kiddo will have a reaction, too.
If there are children with food allergies in your child’s class, consider sending non-food treat options (stickers, pencils, etc.) or one of a handful of “safe” candies, such as Smarties, Dum Dums, DOTS or fruit snacks.
If your children have food allergies, how can you prepare and help your kids have safe fun? Here are a few ideas:
Talk to your kids and their teachers. Children should know what foods they are allergic to (many don’t, surprisingly). Have a plan going into the holiday – can your kid eat treats at their class party? Do they need to bring treats home to be checked by you first? Do you have safe treats you can send along for the day of the party so they don’t feel left out? Make sure you, your child and their teachers are all on the same page.