Dealing With Children’s Food Allergies, Part 2

(If you haven’t done so, I suggest reading Part 1 first)

My biggest frustration in dealing with children’s food allergies is people that just don’t understand how serious they can be.

Several times a year, usually around a holiday, I’ll see somebody make a comment on Facebook like, “You can still make treats for little Johnny’s class?  We can only bring pre-packed ones.  It’s so stupid. How much fun is that!”

Comments like that are upsetting.  Food allergies can be life threatening.  Let me say that another way.  If someone with a peanut allergy eats a peanut THEY COULD DIE!   Their body could go into anaphylactic shock making it hard to breath.  Without a quick dose of medicine from an EpiPen their life could be in danger.

Food allergies are on the rise but researchers aren’t exactly sure why. According to Food Allergy Research & Education 1 in every 13 children have a food allergy.  They also share that every 3 minutes a reaction to a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room.

I’m sure that if most people realized just how serious food allergies could be they wouldn’t be so quick to make off-handed comments about schools and their policies regarding homemade treats.

Our school still allows them but that really doesn’t concern me.  My daughter’s teachers have always been extremely vigilant about making sure she stays safe.  Her classmates (and their parents) are always very cautious too.  And my daughter remembers her last exposure, so if there is ever any doubt as to whether she can eat something she’ll pass.  I can’t remember where we picked up the saying but a good rule to follow is, “No package? No thank you”.

I plan on writing an upcoming piece on specific ways our family has dealt with my daughter’s allergy.  How to read food labels.  Substitute foods she eats and overall tips that have helped us.  If you, or someone you know is affected by food allergies, I’d love to incorporate your thoughts.  Leave a comment or send me an email: tony@faithfamilyandtechnology.com

Dealing with Children’s Food Allergies, Part 3

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Dealing With Children’s Food Allergies, Part 1

Our youngest is severely allergic to peanuts.  She’s also allergic to tree nuts.  I set out to write about the frustration this has caused but realized that perhaps a little back story was necessary.  So , first, I’ll share our daughter’s story.  Then, in another blog post, I’ll address that frustration.

We learned about her peanut allergy shortly after her first birthday. She was a little under weight so the pediatrician suggested we incorporate a little peanut butter into her diet.  We were excited! A new food.  Something with some good fat in it that would help her gain a few pounds.

At her next meal I sat beside her, filling the holes of a Cheerios with peanut butter and setting them on her plate.  She loved them!  She was eating them faster than I could fill them. After a couple minutes we began to notice hives forming on her hands, then her arms, chest, and around her mouth.

A quick call to the pediatrician led to some Benadryl and a cool bath. The hives went away but we knew a trip to the allergist was in order as the pediatrician thought she might have a peanut allergy.

In order to test for allergies they have to test the blood.  That means getting blood out of a crying child who doesn’t understand what’s going on.  They velcro them down on a papoose type board with only the arm exposed to draw the blood.  I had my wife leave the room.  It’s a moment I’ll never forget.  The only thing worse was the next time she needed to be tested and could talk!  That time she could look right at me with tears in her eyes and scream, “Why are you letting them do this to me!” Not fun.

Her test came back positive for a peanut allergy.  This led to needing an EpiPen Jr. to be with her at all times.  It’s an emergency shot like device that can administer epinephrine should she ever go into anaphylactic shock and have trouble breathing.

EpiPen Jr and Benadryl

Fortunately, on the very few times she’s had a peanut exposure, hives and nausea are all that’s happened.

When she was probably 2 and a half she discovered for herself how peanuts can make her sick.  We were at a town Christmas celebration for kids.  While we weren’t looking she grabbed a cookie and ate a few bites.  Immediately she knew something wasn’t right.

Her mouth started to itch.  She got a few hives and started to complain about an upset stomach.  We got her some Benadryl and made it home before she threw up.

That experience while scary at the time has stuck with her and made her think about everything before she eats it.

The school district has been supportive.  There was another boy with a peanut allergy that was a year or two ahead of our daughter in school.  He, and his family, paved the way for us so the school and teachers were already familiar with how to deal with a peanut allergy.

The teachers did a fantastic job of educating our daughter’s classmates.  They explained it all.  Read books. Answered questions. Because of that our daughter’s classmates still, years later, are always looking out for her.  They make sure their parents check labels of treats they bring to school.  Some even have gone so far as to have a special Halloween treat ready when she’s trick-or-treating.  It’s great to see how much my daughter’s classmates and their parents care for her safety.  We appreciate it very much.

Since her initial diagnosis we have also found out she is allergic to tree nuts.  Not a big deal to her because, as you might imagine, she’s not a fan of anything with a nut-like texture.

Over the past 9 years our family has learned a lot about food allergies.  We read labels.  Research where we can go to eat out and make sure to keep our home peanut free.  It’s been an adjustment but given the illnesses some kids have to go through dealing with a nut allergy is easy.

There is one thing surrounding children’s food allergies that gets me a little upset… but that’s for another post.

Dealing With Children’s Food Allergies, Part 2

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The Future Of Radio Is Happening Now

I’m a radio guy.  I’ve worked in the business since the day after I turned 16 and got my first job at a small town station.  Fast forward 25 years and I’m still working in radio.

I don’t see the AM/FM dial going away anytime soon but I do see them losing some listeners to podcasts.  To me, podcasts are to mobile audio what the DVR is to television.  They allow you to consume the media you want on your schedule.

Podcasts used to be tricky to listen to.  Now with iTunes and a whole host of Android apps they’re easier than ever to find and listen to right on your smartphone.

Whatever your interest are, you’ll find a podcast to match.  Health, fitness, religion, technology, food, comedy, politics… the list of topics covered in podcasts are endless.

Some of my favorite podcasts include The Social Media Examiner, 48 Days, Android Police, and Android Central.

The majority of my podcast listening happens on my drive home.  I have a 40 minute commute and podcasts help pass the time. They’re also a good use of that time.  I’ve learned a lot from them. Much of what I’ve learned from them, especially The Social Media Examiner, have helped me with this blog site.

Until recently, I would listen through headphones.  Not necessarily the safest thing but legal in my state.  I checked.  Didn’t want to have to pay for an unnecessary ticket.

At Christmas my in-laws gave me a small, cube shaped bluetooth speaker.  It’s portable, rechargeable, sounds great, and fits right on the dash of my truck.  It’s definitely safer.  I use the PocketCast app to wirelessly send the audio from my Samsung Galaxy S3 to the speaker.

Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

I’m exited about podcasts and their potential to grow in the future. In fact, I’m researching ways to create one to compliment this blog.

Do you listen to podcasts?  What are your favorites and how do you listen to them? 

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