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A. Anderson, Author

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Starting School

Whether starting pre-school or kindergarten, it can be an alarming event for any parent.  For parents of young children with food allergies it can be a very frightening experience as well.  After all, it seems like just after the child has learned his or her first few steps or words, we parents, now have to contend with the fact that there are imminent dangers in our world where otherwise we might have been safe from seemingly distant dangerous, worldly events. 

There are things that we can do to help ensure our beloved children are safer in pre-school and kindergarten.  Here are some items to address prior to the event:

  • Contact the teachers and discuss the allergies;
  • Contact the on-site nurse and ensure she or he understands the severity and your expectations;
  • Provide all of the paperwork, authorizations from doctors and medications;
  • Ensure the medications do not expire until June of 2015;
  • Talk to your child about your expectations for their behaviors, i.e. they cannot share other children’s food or drinks; and
  • Talk to other parents in your area about their experiences—this can help you understand which establishments are more aware and trustworthy as well as whether there are any support groups that you can join which may help you plan and understand how to deal with all of the various issues related to raising a child with food allergies.

Also, download or order Flourishing with Food Allergies, which contains interviews and information from professionals on these issues are more.  


Allergy Definition

What is an allergy?  To my generation and my parents' generation it basically meant a runny nose.  But over the past forty years, a lot has changed.  There can be much frustration in trying to explain the seriousness of a true allergy to adults and grandparents for this reason.  To exacerbate the problem, there is no good way to prove the point.  In other words, one cannot show another person or grandparent what a reaction looks like because it is simply too dangerous. 

Here are a few definitions that likely contribute to the misunderstanding of serious food allergies: "A damaging immune response by the body to a substance, especially pollen, fur, a particular food, or dust, to which it has become hypersensitive." Or, "An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Symptoms include red eyes, itchiness, and runny nose, eczema, hives, or an asthma attack."

Instead, I'd recommend explaining a real food allergy--one that can result in anaphylaxis--as a "serious allergy" or an "anaphylactic allergy."  Then if someone asks what is meant by serious or anaphylactic, part of this definition from WebMD can be provided, "Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe allergic reaction. It's a medical emergency.  Most people with allergies never have anaphylaxis. But when it happens, it works like this:  Within minutes or hours of being exposed to your allergy trigger, your body starts a chain reaction that temporarily widens your blood vessels, which can lower your blood pressure. You may pass out. You may get hives and swelling, especially around your face and throat. You may have trouble breathing, talking, or swallowing."

Part of our responsibility as parents or people with serious allergies is to educate others.  We can't give up.  Thank you.






SLIT is an acronymn that stands for Sublingual Immunotherapy. Taking substances under the tongue or sublingually, "[D]iffuses through the mucous membranes beneath your tongue. And because of the plethora of capillaries there, the medicine has a fairly direct route into your bloodstream," according to Thomas P. Connelly, DDS. 

Normally the therapy involves giving the food allergic person a small droplet or part of the allergen under the tongue.  For example, the droplet may be 1/100th of a drop of milk or 1/100th of a peanut.  Some prepared droplets can be ordered off the Internet that contain mixtures of various types of allergens, such as egg and dairy in a variety of forms including milk, yogurt and cheese for example. 

As the patient takes regular doses of the prepared drops, gradually--over a period of months--the amount given can be increased.  Eventually the concentration level of the allergen can be increased, but with dropping back down to a small amount at first, then working up to more if no evidence of any symptoms appear.  Gradually, the hope is that the person's body become slowly desensitized to the allergen through a regular, measured dosing--not an accidental nor occasional high amount of the allergen.   

If you are patient and work under medical advice, it might be just the ticket.


Pollen & Oral Allergies

Did you know the chemical make up of some foods is so similar to specific pollens from the environment that seasonal allergies can trigger or worsen food allergies?  According to the Mayo Clinic, these foods may be triggered by their pollen-related cousins:

  • Apples, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, peaches and pears allergies can be enhanced by birch tree pollen;
  • Bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon allergies can be enhanced by ragweed pollen; and
  • Orange, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, peanut, tomatoes and white potato allergies can be enhanced by grass pollen.

So if you are experiencing seasonal allergies due to pollen, then perhaps consider avoiding these associated foods if you or your child has any unusual symptoms.


Autism & Food Allergy

Most recently, this weekend, there has been much news about the rise in autism rates.  Specifically 1 in 68 children are being diagnosed according to the reports.  Higher rates in boys than girls. 

As I watch these reports I wonder if and when folks might link this disorder to food allergies.  When will research delve into the delayed allergens, those IgG antigens or antibodies, caused by common foods like dairy, that cause secondary reactions in the human body which cause symptoms that mimic opiate-like drugs? 

Do the research - see the chapter in Flourshing with Food Allergies titled "Food Allergies and Autism."  Maybe it will help parents, children and teachers.

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