We Are Moving!
We are officially moving our site to www.allergy-warriors.com. If you follow our blog or subscribe via email, you will need to sign back up on the new site. Our followers did not carry over to the new site. If you do not sign up, you will not continue getting updates from us. :0(
The new site is currently under construction, so please bare with us as we get new features and fun things set up. The look will probably change a few more times also. We are tweaking it to make it perfect. We have a new recipe card program, and will be adding tabs for recipes, amazing products, and other great things. The new recipe card allows you to save or print (in various sizes) right from the site. We are excited to bring you lots more great things as we work on the new site and add lots more great features!
The www.allergywarriors.wordpress.com site will be shut down by the end of the month, and we will not be posting on this site after that.
We want to thank everyone for supporting us in this endeavor and look forward to seeing you on the new site! Your support is greatly appreciated! If you have a minute, we would love to hear your feedback about the new site, and get your input on things you would like to see on the site!
Allergy Warrior Annie & Gluten Free Gal Lizzie
Explaining food allergies to your child
When my daughter was diagnosed with her egg allergy and life threatening peanut allergy she was only 18 months old. I didn’t quite know how to explain it to her. An 18 month old doesn’t understand about life and death, and it was not something I was ready to explain to her. I just told her it would make her very, VERY sick. We got her an allergy bracelet for those “what if moments” at the suggestion of her allergist, and told everyone who came in contact with her about her allergies. We even kept her out of preschool an extra 4 months until I was 100% sure that it would be a safe place for her. We gave her the Epipen practice injector to play with and showed her how to use it. We also made sure she understood she could not eat ANYTHING unless Mom or Dad said it was OK, or packed it for her to eat.
As she got older we had to explain death to her when we had to put our dog down, and again when her fish died. We explained that they both went to Heaven, which was an amazing, beautiful place that both our pets would love. It eased her mind on where they were going. However, as she got a little older I explained that if she ate peanuts she would get very VERY sick and could die. She told me it was OK because she would go to Heaven, and Heaven was an amazing, beautiful place. It did not convey the seriousness of what would actually happen to her, based on our description of Heaven. I finally ended up telling her that although Heaven was a great place to go, that she would not be able to be with Mommy or Daddy or Sissy anymore, and that would make me very sad, and I would miss her very much. I don’t know if this was the best way to explain it to her, but it did make her understand the seriousness of it, and she did not like the idea of not being with us. We have not had any family members die, so the concept of a person dying is not something she really comprehends yet.
Now that she is going on 8 years old we have emphasized more and more how very sick she can get, how she would have to go to the hospital, how her throat would close up and not allow her to breath, and how she would need shots (which she hates). I know it scares her, but it is a fear that I want her to have, to make her understand how very serious this truly is. I hope this fear will make her choose not to take chances on things she is not 100% sure of. This past Halloween, we made her go through her candy with us, and taught her how to read labels and decide if the candy would go in the safe or unsafe pile.
I don’t want her living in constant fear, but having a life threatening food allery is a scarey thing – VERY SCAREY, and fear may just save her life one day.
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.
Epipen/Medicine Bag Review & Giveaway
In honor of Allergy Awareness week, I want to share with you what we use for my daughter’s Epipen and medications. We purchased it through FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education). If you have never checked out their site, it is full of great allergy info! The bag is small enough it fits in a purse or diaper bag, or can be hooked on a belt loop. It fits EVERYTHING we need to keep my daughter safe, including two Epipens, a bottle of Benadryl, an inhaler, AND her allergyactionform (gread downloadable free form) plus we keep a DVD in there on how to use an Epipen. We keep that in there in case someone does not know how to use an Epipen or needs a refresher course.
This is the best bag, and is the perfect size, AND it’s only $6 through FARE (plus shipping $4.50 for two bags)! We keep one bag for when Bean goes to a friend’s house, sitter, or if we go on a family outing. We have another that Bean takes to school to keep in the nurse’s office. The one for school we wrote her name and “SEVERE PEANUT ALLERGY & ASTHMA” on the front. Her school nurse says she loves that if she ever needs anything for Bean, all she has to do is quickly get out her bag. We have had both bags for 5 years now. It has been all over the place and they are still is in excellent shape.
FARE’s online store is currently not active, because they just revamped their site, however you can view the FARE Order Form and call them to place your order at 800-929-4040.
ORRRR you can win one! Several ways to gain entries to win the fantastic bag.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
**Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated or given anything free in order to do this review. I just think it’s such a great product that I wanted to share it with you. FARE is sending out a free bag to one winner though for the giveaway. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Always Carry Your Epipen
When my daughter was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy 6 1/2 years ago, I started noticing anything and everything having to do with peanut allergies. I read news articles, blogs, medical reports, and caught as many newscasts as I could. However, I also read the very sad stories of children who have died from accidental peanut ingestion. It reminds me of how very serious and deadly Bean’s peanut allergy truly is. While reading these somber articles, I always look for the cause. What caused the child to eat something with peanuts? I make mental notes and add them to my list of do’s and don’ts that I need to teach my daughter. I know there is no way of keeping her 100% safe, other than putting her in a peanut free bubble. Yes, I have actually considered it a time or two. However, her peanut allergy is something she is going to have to live with the rest of her life (or until they find a cure). In the meantime, I have to let her experience school, and friends, and life in general. I just hope and pray every day that if a situation does arise, that she remembers what I have taught her and will make wise choices.
It is estimated that 50 – 62 percent of fatal cases of anaphylaxis were caused by peanut allergies. This terrifies me, because all it takes is one accidental ingestion. One mistake. This is why carrying an Epipen is a MUST. In many of the stories where someone lost their life to a food allergy, an Epipen was not easily accessible, or the allergic person did not have one with them at all. One girl was at camp and left hers in her cabin. In another story, he was moving and it was packed in a box. And in another the mom left it in the car while grocery shopping. The reality of it is that anaphylactic reactions happen when you least expect them to. No one ever says, “oh what the heck, give me that peanut butter cookie. I have my Epipen handy.” So the time you will need your Epipen the most is when you expect to need it the least. I realize it may not be convenient to do, but find a way to keep it with you everywhere you go. All it takes is one slip up, and it could cost a life.
Also, invest in a medic alert bracelet. Reactions come on quickly and close off airways, making it impossible to talk. At least pointing at the bracelet will alert people about what is happening if you do have a reaction.
Blog makes local newspaper!
The local newspaper in my town wrote an article about Allergy Warriors. Just wanted to share this with all of you who are not on my Facebook.
Here is the link
Bus Drivers and Epipens?
My daughter, Bean, takes the bus to and from school every day. One of the requirements of her 504 Plan (that they specified) was that her bus seat needs to be wiped down before she rides the bus every day, and that we must provide the wipes to do this. The reason is that they pick up children from the high school, and although the rule is NO EATING on the bus, they cannot guarantee that no one sneaks an occassional candy bar. I get this, because we all were young once, and the driver cannot monitor every little thing that happens on the bus and focus on the road. So, every morning, before she gets on the bus, I use a Sani Hands wipe to wipe down Bean’s seat. She also carries them in her backpack, and gives them to the bus driver every day after school to wipe down her seat. She carries an Epipen in her backpack, which is frowned upon by the bus company, but per her allergy doctor’s letter, she must carry an Epipen with her everywhere she goes, including the bus.
There has been a lot of discussion lately about schools being supplied with Epipens, and who should be trained to use them. Should bus drivers should be trained to use an Epipen? YES, YES, YES! Most people who are around children all the time have to go to a first aid and CPR class, so I feel this should be included in all of their training. Anyone who will be around lots of children on a regular basis should have this training. Our bus driver is aware of Bean’s allergy, and knows that she carries an Epipen, just in case. I realize children are not allowed to eat on the bus. However, there are lots of things children should not do, but there are just those times where their little brains shut off, and they do it anyway. Refer to my previous post about Bean eating cookies in case you didn’t read it. What about other children, who don’t eat anything, but has never been stung by a bee before? The bus is not air conditioned, so they ride with the windows down. You never know when one of those sneaky little buggers will fly in an open window, the children will panic and begin swatting at it, and someone will end up getting stung. What would the driver do in that situation where minutes mean everything? I think it would just be an additional safeguard for all children with any allergies. What do you think?
Does my child have food allergies (please share with new parents)
I remember the exact moment when Bean had her first reaction to peanuts. Halloween was only a couple of weeks away. We were practicing saying “trick or treat” with her little orange pumpkin and the snack size bags of Reese’s Pieces. She was only 15 months old, and it was going to be her first Halloween out trick or treating. I was so excited about it. We were practicing, by pretending that she was going up to a door. I would answer the door, and she would say “trick treat”. She did it a few times, and finally she said, “trick or treat”! Her reward was she could have one of the bags of Reese’s Pieces. She ate TWO Reese’s Pieces, and her lips got very red, and her chin and cheeks turned red and got little bumps all over them. Neither my husband nor I have food allergies, so we didn’t have a clue what was happening. I took her into the bathroom and washed her face, thinking maybe she touched something. I never gave her Benadryl or took her to the doc. I think I might have put some Hydro-cortisone on her face. It took a while, but it did finally go away. After she went to bed, my husband and I were talking about what she could have gotten into that gave her a reaction like that. I remember asking him, “Do you think she might be allergic to peanuts?” We both dismissed the idea, because everyone has seen an allergic reaction on TV. There was no puffy face, eyes swelled shut, can’t breathe type of thing happening. Previous to that, we had been camping. We made scrambled eggs in Ziploc bags. It was a neat camping recipe I had found online. You crack an egg into a Ziploc bag, zip it closed, squish it around in the bag to scramble it, then place the sealed Ziploc bag into boiling water. It cooks it right in the bag, and you eat it right out of the bag too, with a spoon. That time her chin got red and got little bumps all over it. Again, we washed her face off, thinking she maybe got into some weeds or something at the campground. At her next appointment with the pediatrician, I mentioned it. When I told him it was an after thought… an “oh by the way” type of thing. I didn’t think of how serious it could be, until her pediatrician said he wanted to send her for food allergy tests and to keep her away from anything with peanuts and eggs until further notice. Her tests showed that she was (and is still) anaphylactic to peanuts, and that had a mild egg allergy(which she has since outgrown). We have come a long way in what we know now about allergies, but as first time parents who have never dealt with food allergies before, we were pretty clueless. I think back and wonder if I would have had any clue of what to do if she had actually gone into anaphylaxis from eating the Reese’s Pieces? Would I have done things correctly in time to save her? I didn’t have an Epipen yet. I am just thankful that her reaction was not worse than it was.
All that being said, PLEASE pass this info along to all new parents… you never know when they might need this information!
Items that “may contain” – some may surprise you!
The US FDA requires labeling laws apply to food products only! This means that peanuts, peanut oil, almond oil, and other allergens can be an ingredient in non-food items, but will not be listed. Many personal products and lotions say they are made with, or contain oils, almonds, or nut butters. If you have an allergy and the ingredients are not listed, make sure to call the manufacturer to be sure the product is safe.
Since my daughter has a peanut allergy, I am going to focus on things that “may contain” peanuts, shells, or skins. Some are surprising!
- European chocolate (nuts are not always required to be listed on the label)
- Deli meat slicers – some meats contain nuts (mortadella) or are browned/fried in peanut oil
- Plant sterols derived from peanut – found in some “heart healthy” orange juice, yogurt, etc.
- Avoid any foods that contain these ingredients… beer nuts, cold pressed peanut oil, ground nuts, mixed nuts, Nu-Nuts flavored nuts, marzipan, nouget, hydrolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Som foods that typically contain peanut protein: African, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnameses dishes
ANIMALS & PETS
- Hamster/rodent food and bedding
- Dog food and treats
- Bird seed/feed and SUET
- Cat food, treats, and kitty litter
- Livestock feed – especially dairy cattle feed
- Peanut hay
- Some lawn fertilizer
- Potting soil may contain ground peanut shells
- Packaged flower seeds
- Compost accelerator/additives
- Some insect granules
- Axle Grease
ITEMS AROUND THE HOME
- Avoid products made with ARACHIS HYPOGAEA (aka peanut) and ARACHIS OIL (aka peanut oil)
- Stuffed animals (sometimes stuffed with crushed peanut shells)
- Hacky sacks/sacks for playing bags
- Seasoned baking stones – that have previously made pb cookies
- Cutting boards oiled with peanut oil
- Artificial Fireplace logs
- Roach/ant bait disks
- Wallboard and Fiberboard shelving
- Burlap bags
- Potpourri – whole nuts may be present
- Metal Polishers
- Peanuts have a variety of industrial end uses, particulary the oil: paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish, insecticides and nitroglycerin
- Oil for wooden musical instruments
- Peanut scented fishing lures
HEALTH AND BEAUTY
- Cosmetics, lotions, massage oils, sunscreens, tanning oils, shampoos, and conditioners can contain peanuts/peanut oil (it may be listed as arachis oil or arachidyl behenate)
- Exfoliators that contains ground nut shells
- Atrovent® inhalation aerosol asthma medication
- Prometrium® (synthetic progesterone)
- Ear wax remover drops
- Dental cleaner or Flouride at the dentist’s office (some contain pine nuts)
Is it worth dying?
People say that knowledge is power. When it comes to my allergic daughter I couldn’t agree more. The more I know about what is safe and not safe, the better I am at protecting her.
What if you get conflicting information or just aren’t sure about a product? What if the ingredients label is missing? What if the item is home-made? The best advice I have gotten and can give is to just avoid the food/product. Do not use the try it and see method. It can result in a very bad reaction, including anaphylaxis. So if I am ever doubting if something is safe or not, I always think… is it really worth letting her have a reaction, having to use her Epipen, having to call 911, and possibly dying? Is allowing her to eat this food really worth her dying? Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?