Food For Thought Friday: Allergies

The other day, I asked the four-year-old to clean up his room.  He said to me, "I'm allergic to cleaning."  It was actually kind of funny, but at our house, real allergies are no laughing matter.  Mr. Lindstrom has a shellfish allergy which has only manifested thus far in hives and itching, but as it goes with these types of allergies, it could escalate at any time to anaphylaxis. We have an epipen on hand for the unlikely event, but mostly we deal with it by avoiding shellfish or any contact with it.

The four-year-old is a bigger concern.  Shortly before his third birthday, he was playing with our neighbors and Mr. Lindstrom down by the lake in our neighborhood. He stepped on a bee hive, and was attacked by bees.  Head to toe, we were able to count 30 stings. In his little body, that exposure to venom is potentially deadly to someone who is allergic, and unprepared. Luckily for us, at that time his reaction was mostly local, but we headed straight to the Emergency Room for good measure. Their suggestion was to get an Epipen Jr. (the little guy's version) and have it on hand in the event that another bee sting could lead to anaphylactic response, which is potentially deadly.  We learned the signs, we learned the technique, and now we just hope to high heaven that the bees stay far, far away from his brand of sweet.

Because in addition to the potential bee sting allergy, we have a food allergy in the family, we take the process of introducing foods very, very seriously. We know that among the foods that cause anaphylactic allergic responses (where the throat closes and the airway is compromised which may cause death) are peanuts, tree nuts, and strawberries. Other foods cause different kinds of allergic reactions, all of which are serious and should be treated.  As a result, our children will not eat a nut until they are at least five-years-old. This is how we've chosen to handle the threat of food allergy.

In any case, we know a handful of people who have a serious food allergy in their family, both children and adults, and the concerns are mostly the same. Children have a more difficult time communicating their allergy, and that's where these awesome stickers come in handy.

Mabel's Labels Allergy Alert Labels
You can personalize them and share the information easily by placing a sticker on their clothing (perfect at birthday parties or play dates), on their school lunch boxes, or on their medical bag which may hold an antihistamine and the epipen (this is what we have for the four-year-old in the event of a bee sting reaction). This way you can depend on the sticker to convey the message in addition to your child, who should know about their allergy and be able to identify it to adults.  In the event an adult forgets, the stickers will remind. You can personalize them so that they are unique to your child and their specific allergies.  We will be getting these for the four-year-old's med bag and to wear at outdoor play dates.  Stickers or no stickers, it's really important to be educated about food allergies and other potentially life threatening allergies in children. In the likely event that you find yourself responsible for a child with allergies.

Having a potentially life threatening allergy can be scary when it comes to your child, but knowledge and information is power in this situation, and there is no reason that the overall quality of life that your child experiences should be negatively impacted!

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. They are THE postpartum and newborn experts. Check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge. Also, be sure to follow babycaretweets on Twitter to receive news and ideas on newborn care and thoughts about parenting!

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