Your Saliva On Pacifiers Can Ward Off Childhood Allergies, Asthma, & Eczema
In an article posted on Medical News Today, researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweeden, reported in the Journal Pediatrics (May 6th, 2013 issue) that cleaning your babies pacifier by sucking it, you may reduce your infant’s risk of developing allergies, asthma, and eczema!
You can read the article here
Cold & Allergy Induced Asthma
Like many kids with a peanut allergy, Bean has asthma also. I’m sure many of you can relate. Bean doesn’t have bad asthma, and typically only has asthma symptoms when she gets a cold. My younger daughter can have a cold with a cough, and it’s no big deal. However, when Bean gets that same cold from Bubbles, her cough sounds much worse and her cold induced asthma kicks in and she starts wheezing.
Everyone is saying allergies are REALLY bad this year, and we are experiencing this first hand. Bean has had a little cough for the last couple days, but this morning she had a congested cough and had that rumbly sound in her chest when she breathed in and out. She felt like she needed her rescue inhaler, and her breathing was a little labored. She also had a low grade fever of 99.8. I called her pediatrician, but they couldn’t get us in until later today. Based on how bad the cough sounded and the rumble noise she had going on when she breathed, I chose to take her to the urgent care a few blocks from our home.
They were fantastic and took her back right away. She was wheezing when the doc listened to her lungs. They put her on Prednisone for three days and Albuterol nebulizer treatments every 4-6 hours, with a recheck with her pediatrician on Monday. Although she has not had a bad cough and needed these meds in a long time, here we are back in this familiar boat. It has been so long that I was actually wondering if she had maybe outgrown this. Unfortunately, this is not the case. She has never suffered from allergy induced asthma before, so this is something a little different than before. She is regularly on Flovent, Flonase, and Singulair, but here we are anyway. We need to up her meds to 2 puffs of Flovent daily now, instead of just one.
They said that she most likely has been suffering from allergies, although her nose has not been running, but the doc said looking at her sinuses and the back of her throat she has been having drainage. 😦 Urgent care said they have been seeing a lot of people coming in with asthma issues this season, because allergy season is so bad this year, due to the extra long cold season we had, everything is popping at once making it worse than normal.
I just keep hoping she will outgrow this and we will be able to eventually reduce some of the meds she is on daily. In the meantime, we will just do what is necessary to keep her well.
Winning the Food Allergy War?
Every day more and more children, and adults are diagnosed with allergies. Food allergies, environmental allergies, seasonal allergies. Oh, and don’t forget there is asthma and eczema included too. My almost 8 year old, has all 3, plus asthma, and we went through a bought of eczema this past winter. The child takes more medications than I do. Inhalers, nasal sprays, and pills. Packing her an overnight bag is like packing her a small pharmacy. I am seeing this more and more with children, and even adults are having seasonal allergies who have never had them before. It all makes me wonder WHY?
Scientists are doing a crazy amount of research to find out why, but no one really has a definitive answer. There are so many theories out there… GMO’s, fast food, lack of breast feeding, eating the allergen during pregnancy, the rise of planned c-sections, & use of hand sanitizer – just to name a few. The list goes on and on. There are many experimental food allergy trials out there, with things like desensitization (ingesting small amounts of peanut flour). Now they are saying to start children on foods with allergens as early as 4-6 months. Before they could not have peanuts until age 2. Do they really know what will actually help or are we all just guessing? They claim that they are making great strides in the right direction. Personally, it all sounds like a bunch of trial and error, along with lots of hoping that somewhere along the lines something will truly make a difference.
How do we truly know what will work to help win the food allergy war, until we know the cause of the war and what we are actually fighting against? Until they find a cause and a cure, I am thankful for support groups, and other Allergy Warriors who are fighting this battle right along side my allergic child and I.
Product Review: Crunchmaster
**I was provided free product in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no financial compensation and all opinions contained in here are my own and in no way influenced by an outside party.**
When I am looking for snacks that are safe for our house, I can NOT even begin to tell you how much of a pain it is to find ones that taste good! I walk down all the aisles with the kids and of course they look and want everything. And I know that even if I didn’t…they would see their friends with “normal” snacks and wonder why they have to be so different. And sometimes, I can’t help but wish we could just buy whatever we wanted without looking. Luckily though, I found a company that really has that in mind when producing their snacks. Crunchmaster!! Check out their website here.
The kids and I were so excited when our product got here… I could barely get a picture before the kids wanted to tear into them!
We were able to try Crunchmaster’s two new kids snacks, Cheezy Crisps and Grammy Crisps. And we also got to try the Rosemary and Olive Ooil Multi Seed Crackers. We were very happy with each item, which is unusual. For those of you that follow this blog regularly, you know how much of a challenge it is for me to find something both kids will like and agree on.
The Cheezy Crisps were the first things the kids wanted to try, and I was all for it. After checking the nutritional panel to see about a serving size, I was even more excited to give these to the kids. 60 of these crackers make up an adult serving for 120 calories! That’s quite a s snack! I portioned out half that amount for the kids and the full amount for myself and got to sampling. Before I even tasted them, I was worried that like so many other cheese snacks, they may have that fake flavor. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they did not. They are made with a great blend of real mozzarella and cheddar cheese and you can definitely taste them. They are light and crunchy and have a fantastic texture. There is enough cheese so that you know you are having a cheese based snack, but its balanced well and not ever overbearing. These snacks are great all on their own. The kids and I also mixed them in with some cereal and pecans and dried cranberries for a nice little trail mix.
Next up was the Grammy Crisps. These have a suggested serving size of 25 crackers for 130 calories. Still not a bad deal in my book, especially because both of their kid centered snacks are made with whole grain. So the kids each got a few and off we went to taste them and see how we can incorporate them into other things. These by far were my favorite of all the Crunchmaster items we sampled. They are nice and crunchy, and have this amazing blend of cinnamon and sugar. These definitely took me back to when I was a kid and the cinnamon and sugar toast that we would have with breakfast. I was so happy to find something that allowed me to share these kind of flavors with my kids. The kids could not get enough of them and were quickly coming up with some great recipe ideas. These are amazing all on their own or in our nice little Smores mix. The kids actually came up with this one…and we mixed the Grammy snacks, some mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips and had our own version of easier to eat, no heat Smores! This is something we will definitely be making again, it is a great little snack mix to have for play-dates or get togethers.
After the kids had their fun with the new snacks and building new recipes, my husband and I set out to try the more “adult” type snack from Crunchmaster, the Rosemary and Olive Oil Multi Seed Crackers. They are super thin and all natural and nice and crispy. They have a great blend of seeds including sesame, quinoa, flax, and amaranth. They are great right out of the bag, with nice undertones of Rosemary and Olive Oil. I was a little nervous that the Rosemary would be overwhelming but it was not at all. My husband was totally content to eat them just plain, but I could not help but wonder what sorts of topping would work best for these awesome little crackers. I tried various cheeses, and our favorite was a New York Extra Sharp Cheddar. I also had a dinner to attend with some friends and wanted to bring something along. I used these crackers and make up some Bruschetta. What a great combination!!! My friends at the dinner party could not get enough of them and just had to know what kind of crackers I was using. They are such a great substitution for bread in dip like recipes and I cannot wait to try therm with other options.
All in all, before trying these Crunchmaster products I had come in contact with mixed reviews from other people I know who have tried them. I was a little hesitant, but I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to try them for myself. I am excited to say they are one of the better gluten-free snack companies out there. For those of you interested in trying them for yourself ( and I highly recommend you do!!) check out this link for a great coupon! Also, please check them out and show them your support on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! And don’t forget to share your opinions with me!
Does your child wear a medical ID?
My daughter, Bean, was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy and mild egg allergy when she was 18 months old. Our allergist told us that she should be wearing a medical alert bracelet. My husband and I discussed it, and decided that it was a good idea. Not only was she very young, and unable to really understand or communicate her allergy, but also these other key reasons…
- In an emergency, when you might not be able to speak for yourself, a medical ID bracelet or necklace speaks for you.
- Symptoms of common ailments can easily be misdiagnosed. Prompt diagnosis is critical to effective treatment. A brief description of vital medical facts engraved on your medical ID ensures appropriate and timely medical care.
- According to a published study, half of all medical errors occur because of mistakes made upon admission or discharge from the hospital. Wearing a medical ID protects against potentially harmful medical errors.
- More than 95 percent of emergency responders look for a medical ID; more than 75 percent check for a medical ID immediately upon assessing the patient. If you`re wearing a medical ID, it won`t be missed.
- Medical IDs alert people to a serious condition and can eliminate trips to the hospital, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and prevent minor emergencies from becoming major ones. Medical IDs save lives! One day, a medical ID may save you.
I am big on what if-ing everything, and the other things that ran through my mind were, “what if we were in a car accident, and we couldn’t communicate?” “what if she ever got separated from us?” “what if she was not with us and accidentally ingested her allergen and was having trouble breathing and talking?” How would someone know? At least if she had on a medical ID, she could point to it and alert anyone of her allergy. I, personally, feel that anyone with any life threatening allergy, should wear a medical ID. It is a necessity!
So, after scouring the internet, we decided to purchase an allergy bracelet through American Medical ID. The one we purchased was a Stainless Steel Small Classic Bracelet. It offered all the options we wanted, and the price was fantastic. We were able to choose the type of bracelet, type of chain, length of chain, and the type of clasp. We loved that we could have it engraved on both sides with whatever information we wanted, and since it was stainless steel it would stand up to whatever wear and tear Bean put it through. Another huge plus was that she could wear it in the tub, pool, or playing in the water, and it dries quickly and easily.
For Bean’s first bracelet, the front was engraved to say “Allergies: Mild Egg, Severe Peanut, ER: Use Epipen & Call 911”. On the backside, that laid flat against her wrist, we included her name, birth date, and three emergency phone numbers. This backside information is kept hidden unless the bracelet is specifically flipped over to be viewed. Once she outgrew her egg allergy, we got her a new bracelet that said, “Severe Peanut Allergy, In Emergency Use Epipen, Call 911”. American Medical ID is typically running a buy one, get one 50% off special, so we took advantage of it and also purchased her Stainless Steel Classic Red Small Nylon Sportband also.
THEN we found out about her asthma, and how having asthma increases Bean’s chances for an even more severe anaphylactic reaction. The front of her current bracelet is engraved to say “Severe Peanut Allergy & Asthma, Use EpiPen, Call 911”. On the underside, it is engraved with her name, birth date, and three emergency phone numbers.
The backside of the bracelet has a lot of personal information, so I am not including a picture, however I have included a generic version of what is printed on the back. As you can see the front and back have plenty of room for all of your necessary information!
We chose the safety hook clasp. It is wonderful! It does not get snagged on anything or accidentally open up, and it is flat, so it’s comfortable for her to wear on her wrist. We have never lost a bracelet! Also, we leave some of the chain hanging in case of growth spurts, we can just move the clasp down a few links to make it fit her longer.
American Medical ID has several options for bracelets including leather, nylon, sterling silver, silicone, titanium, and gold. They also offer necklaces including charms, pendants, and dog tags. You can choose your chain length, and each item can be personalized with engraving. They also offer USB ID’s! Your most important information can be engraved on the surface, and the rest of your info can be stored on the USB flash drive portable personal health file.
American Medical ID also offers MyIHR. MyIHR allows you to create an Interactive Health Record that will provide emergency personnel with your name, address, emergency contacts, health insurance, conditions, medications, allergies, and more. It is available to Emergency Personnel 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via the website AND telephone.
Check out their website for lots more great things like free medical logs, polishing cloths, magnets, stickers, key chains. They are all under the accessories tab.
Don’t forget to look under their HOT DEALS tab for more great buys! I highly recommend American Medical ID for all of your medical ID needs!
Disclaimer: American Medical ID provided me with a free medical ID bracelet for my daughter, in exchange for my honest opinions of their products. I was not financially compensated in any way. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Allergies and Chiropractic Care
In addition to having issues with gluten, both my children ( and myself) have environmental and seasonal allergies. And while there are literally thousands of things that fall into these categories, sometimes I feel like we may have wound up with reactions to a good percentage of them. For awhile we had been on the seemingly never-ending cycle of allergy medicines that did not quite work well enough and overly tired, crabby kids due to the medication. On top of that, I would typically limit our time outside, knowing that the longer we were out, the worse it would be for the kids later. Now, my kids are the kind that would be perfectly happy living outside, if there was a way to do it, so cutting their time outside short never ended well for any of us.
That is when my husband and I began to look into other options for treatment. This is what lead us to natural medicine, including chiropractic. After a long period of research and continuous learning, we now choose to treat our children naturally and homeopathically whenever possible ( by this I mean that if there was a serious condition going on I would of course bring my children to their traditional pediatrician). While starting down this new path, we can across the idea of chiropractic. I had previously always thought it was something that either older people or people with back problems used. I never realized the vast amount of conditions that chiropractic can help treat, and actually prevent.
We did our research and had meetings with multiple chiropractors before we found one that was the right fit for our family. Before we even told him our concerns, he was able to look at the kids and pinpoint a lot of their conditions, which amazed me. He then explained to us that our bodies have this insane healing ability that most of us are not aware of, and once everything is in alignment, our body is able to take back over and work on healing. We spoke of the laundry list of things that I was concerned about with the kids, and myself, and we got to work on a treatment plan.
Soon, we were all going for regular adjustments. After the first adjustment, I noticed amazing results in the kids. Temperaments were better, they slept better, they even ate better. As time went on, I began to see a drastic reduction in the way they responded to their typical allergens. Reactions were far less severe and medication was rarely necessary. Of course, our chiropractor advised us that the likelihood of a “cure” for their allergies was far-fetched, and not something we should be anticipating. But, he also let us know that with continued adjustments, we can help keep their reactions at bay, since their bodies are better able to handle being exposed to the allergen.
We now continue to go for regular adjustments and check ups. We use a homeopathic allergen blocker right under their noses on days we know the mold and pollen counts are high, which helps keep those days less severe. We still keep Benadryl on hand, just in case we have a bad day or two, but I can honestly say I could not tell you the last time I needed to use it for seasonal and environmental reactions.
I am well aware that chiropractic care is not something that everyone is open to. However, if you are, and if your family and children are, do your research and think about adding this to your treatment plan. For us, it has made all the difference in the world.
Awareness in the Food Service Industry
It was another one of those nights tonight…
You know, the whole, hey let’s try and go out and grab something for dinner. For those of you who can do this effortlessly, and without any kind of thought, I envy you…dearly. For us, it is a lovely game of first, finding somewhere safe, and then second, trying to find somewhere that my uber picky Bear will eat from.
After a long debate and thought process, we finally settled on somewhere. As usual, once we were there and getting ready to order, I went through our typical “we can NOT have anything with gluten, so I need to know what your ingredients are” speech. And this was met with the typical “Oh is this for an allergy” question. I begrudgingly say yes, not wanting to get into how it is NOT an allergy (that is another post for another day). But then, to my dismay, our server said they would have to go and ask someone else, and they would get back to us about what was safe. It took quite awhile, and finally someone else came out to talk to us, with a large book that they told me contained all the items they had and what was in each item. And I am NOT kidding when I say that this binder had to be 3 or 4 inches thick. At this point, we explained that we did not feel safe enough to continue our experience, thanked the establishment, left a small tip for our server ( I used to waitress, so I feel that it is only right to leave a little something for taking up some time at a table) and wound up back home eating leftovers.
But here is my point, I just feel like if you work in an establishment where food is served, you should be knowledgeable enough to explain to patrons what is or is not in your products. Not just for those with gluten issues or food allergies, but for anyone who asks. People are becoming more and more aware of what they put in their bodies, and typically most like to know what they are eating. I just find it amazing that in most cases the servers or counter staff typically have no clue what they serve. Even worse, as in our case, the management did not even know what was in the products they were serving. Um…what? While I understand that this may be a paycheck for you, this could be a life threatening mistake for someone else. I am not at all trying to downplay the need for us with food issues to do our homework…but it would be nice for places to start educating their staff on the make up of the their products. Also, maybe a bit of education on the plethora of food issues that people can have. It would be nice to walk into a restaurant and explain my situation and have it met with something more than a weird look. A bit of extra effort on the part of restaurants could do wonders for their customer service, and open up their businesses to a whole new market of people who may have previously been unaware that eating there was a safe place.
I was talking to a friend earlier today and we were discussing some nutrition information and swapping recipes. This is something we like to do regularly. Some background…She has diabetes, and is very careful about what she eats, when, and what combinations of foods she eats at a time. So far she has been lucky enough to manage her condition by diet and exercise, although doctors are still keeping a close eye on her. Today, she said something that really got me thinking. In our conversation, I was teasing her about how meticulous she was with her measurements when it came to food ( all good-natured of course). And her reply was, “Well I am a diabetic, what do you expect?”. I found it interesting that she, and many other people who have diabetes, identify themselves AS the condition, rather than a PERSON with the condition.
I then emailed a friend who has Celiac and asked her how she identifies herself. She also replied that she, and many of the members in her support group, identify themselves as “celiacs”. There is just so much about this labeling that bothers me. There are many other conditions that are life long that people deal with all the time, yet they do not identify themselves AS the condition, they just say they HAVE the condition. So what makes conditions like Celiac and diabetes so different. Why are people relating themselves AS the disease?
I would really love to see people step away from this. Yes, you may have a condition, and yes it may be something that you have to deal with for the rest of your life. But, your disease DOES NOT define YOU! You are the only person that can do that. I think that the more we encourage terminology change (ie… I am a person with Celiac disease, or I am a person with diabetes) the more people with these afflictions will be able to feel more “normal”.
After I did some thinking, I called my friend back this morning and asked her why she identified herself in such a way. She seemed surprised that I brought it up and was genuinely thankful for my observation. She did not even realize the way she was referring to herself and her condition. She agreed that it was much more empowering for her to be a person with diabetes, than a diabetic. So, I encourage all of you to listen to when friends are talking…and if they do identify themselves as a condition they have… ask them why. Many may be like my friend and not even realize that they do it.
I would love to hear feedback on this issue. Please weigh in on questions and comments. Let me know how you identify yourselves and why. Or let me know if you think I am completely off track. I would love to hear everything!
Gluten Free Candy
Over the past few days I have been working on some research and emailing companies to try and bring you the best list of gluten free candy that I can. This is is not, by any means, complete. What I mean by that is, it does not contain all of the candy out there that is gluten free. If it did, it would probably be as long as a book! I have not included any of the specialty candy brands that only work with gluten free candies, but rather chose to focus on what “normal” candies are safe. This is because, odds are, you and your children will come into contact with these mainstream candies way more often than those of a specialty nature. As always, please make sure to check the labels. While all of this information is current, that does not guarantee that the manufacturers will not change their recipes or manufacturing processes.
Tic Tacs are considered by the company to be gluten free. They said that none of their items contain any gluten containing ingrediants. For more information, you can reach the maker of Tic Tacs, Ferrero at 732-764-9300.
Jelly Belly jelly beans are considered by the company to be gluten free. ALL of their jelly beans, in ALL flavors are safe. However, sometimes Jelly Belly will package their items as a mixed set that may contain malted milk balls, or other candies that are not safe. Always make sure to check the packaging… as long as its JUST jelly beans, you are free and clear. You can contact Jelly Belly at 800-522-3267.
Wrigleys makes gum, mints and other candies. They also make Lifesavers, Creme Savers, Skittles and Starburst. Almost all of their items are considered to be gluten free. The company assured me that the only products that are NOT considered to be gluten free are: Altoids Smalls Peppermints, Altoids Chocolate Dipped Mints, Hubba Bubba Gummie Tape and Lucas and Swinkles Candy Strips. Contact Wrigley at (800) 974-4539.
Necco is another famous brand of candies that replied to me with a list of their gluten free options. They include : Necco Wafers and Chocolate Wafers, the Sweethearts Valentine Conversation Hearts, Mary Janes, and Peanut Butter Mary Janes, Sky Bar, Mint Julep Chews, Banana Split Chews, Candy House Candy Buttons, Haviland Thin Mints, Wintergreen Patty, Nonpareils and Chocolate Stars, and Canada Mint, Wintergreen and Spearmint Lozenges. You can contact Necco at 781-485-4800.
Nestles also makes are variety of candies, both under their name as well as Willy Wonka. The items that they have assured me are currently considered to be gluten free are: Laffy Taffy, Pixie Stix, Bit O Honey, Baby Ruth, Original Flavor Butterfinger (no seasonal flavors, or shapes), Goobers, Nips, O Henry, Nestles Milk Chocolate, Snowcaps, and Raisinets. For more information, you can contact Nestles at 800-225-2270.
Just Born makes the marshmallow peeps that we usually see on Easter, and they also make Mike and Ikes. The company said that any of their marshmallow products that are gluten free will be labelled gluten free. They began this process last October. While some of the products do say modified food starch, the company assured me it was corn, so it was safe. This list of Mike and Ike candies that are safe are the following flavor varieties: Hot Tamales, Zours, Tropical Typhoon, Jelly Beans, Berry Blast, Italian Ice, Original Fruits, Tangy Twister, Redrageous. You can contact Just Born at 888-645-3453.
Smarties says that most of their line is gluten free with the exception of the Smarties Gummies. While the Smarties Gummies have no gluten containing ingredients, they are processed on machinery that also processes gluten containing ingredients. However, something to be aware of with Smarties, is that the company often sells them to other companies to bag together with other items. In these cases, the other items that the products may be bagged with cannot always be considered safe. Note from the Smarties Company…. “Note: If the UPC number on the packaging begins with “0 11206”, you can be assured that it is manufactured in a facility that is gluten free and safe to eat if you have Celiac Disease.” If you need to contact Smarties, you can do so through their website.
Mars Chocolates sent me the following list of what was safe. Please note that some varieties of M&Ms are NOT safe and you are always going to want to check the packaging! Here is what is safe from Mars: all flavors of 3 musketeers and Snickers Bars, M&Ms EXCEPT for pretzel and SOME mint and coconut, Milky Way Midnight and Milky Way caramel bars, and ALL Dove chocolate products EXCEPT cinnamon graham and cookies and creme flavors. You can contact Mars at 800-627-7852.
Tootsie Roll who also makes Charms Products has ensured me that as of October of last year, ALL of their products are considered to be gluten free, with the only EXCEPTION being Andes Cookies. Great job Tootsie Roll! You can call Tootsie at 773-838-3400.
Hersheys Chocolate lists the following products on their website as gluten free. The list is: all Almond Joy and Mounds, Milk Chocolate Kisses, the caramel and cherry cordial filled chocolate kisses, Hersheys nuggets, Heath Bars, Skor and Skor Toffee bars, all York Peppermint Patties, all Reeses peanut butter cups EXCEPT holiday shapes. Hersheys chocolate bar and Hersheys chocolate bar with almonds are also considered to be gluten free, but ONLY certain sizes. The plain chocolate bar is gluten free in the 1.55 ounce size and the Hersheys with almonds is gluten free in the 1.45 ounce size. I think that this is strange and in our house we avoid those two bars altogether though. You can contact
Hersheys at 800-468-1714.
I hope this helps to put your mind at ease a bit when your kids want candy, or come home with candy from school or from friends houses. I recommend printing out this list, or one of your own if your children have other allergies, and giving it to friends, family, babysitters, or school teachers. Anyone who could possible give your child candy. This safe list allows for a little more freedom and normalcy for your child when they are not with you. If you have any questions, or if there is anything you think I may have missed, please feel free to let me know.