Monday, January 12, 2009

Dealing with food allergies

In October, just a few days before I found out I was pregnant with #2, we learned that Olive has food allergies. (It was a big week around here!) Dealing with this has been really frustrating - it's a minefield of food avoidance and it's absolutely not clear how to do things. Every person has a different opinion. There are so many resources out there but they are hard to find and many of them differ in their recommendations. Our initial meeting with an allergist only left me more confused than before. We're currently searching for a new one who can maybe help clarify some things for me but until then, we've learned to "cope" as best as we can. The problem lies in the ignorance of other people, including those whose own children have food allergies. Most people don't know these things and I wouldn't expect them to. I wouldn't expect everyone to have to cater to my child but there are a few things that everyone should know to help keep kids safe. Someone directed me to this great website with a title - "10 Things Families With Food Allergies Want You to Know". Take the few minutes to read it - it really is valuable information. I think some of the most frustrating things to me are even dealing parents (both Food Allergy and not) because some people say, "oh you should just try giving it to her again" - um, HI, my kid has a PEANUT allergy...if she eats it she could DIE?? WHY THE HELL WOULD I RISK HER LIFE TO TRY THIS ON MY OWN??? ARE YOU CRAZY??? No thanks...I will wait until a trained allergist wants to do a food challenge (in the office, with Epi-Pen handy and 911 on speed dial) to give her nuts again. Anyone who thinks otherwise is out of their minds. As with all parenting issues, unsolicited advice is not welcome ;) The reason I'm blogging about this today is two-fold...I'm spending hours searching for a new doctor that takes my insurance and has appointments available within the next month or two. Also, at school this morning, a child brought in cupcakes to celebrate her birthday. The mom did post to the class about it yesterday afternoon but not enough time for many of us to read it or make other arrangements. I happened to check it right before I left this morning. While we are a nut-free school, some folks don't realize which products might have nut byproducts simply because of their manufacturing processes so it's often safer for me to bring in our own cupcakes. The ones today were OK but there's another child in the class who also has other allergies and couldn't have them. His mom hadn't read her email yet so she didn't have a substitute for him. Luckily I had a Dum Dum lollipop for him so he could have a treat too, but these are the kinds of situations that can be frustrating, especially when you are caught off-guard. Ok, enough of my babble...back to the phones to call more doctors... have a great day.


spewdfree said...

My son is allergic to soy, peanuts, eggs, wheat and dairy. I started a website to help others who are suffering from food allergies. SPEWD Free has lots of allergy friendly recipes and a food allergy blog. I hope it is helpful to you.


pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Hey there! First of all congrats on baby #2, how fun for Olive to have a sibling. Second, I'm so sorry about the food allergy thing. We're going through the same thing around here but it's for me not the kids. Who knew I would have to start carrying an EPI pen at age 30+! My friend swears by her yahoo group and loves it for information around here, it's a NOVA food allergy network. It has great resources and recommendations from other moms going through the trenches with kids and food allergies.