"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Monday, May 10, 2010

living with food allergies

Lessons Learned:

Potential symptoms of food allergies in an infant:
(obviously not every food allergic kid will have all of these, and many kids with some of these do NOT have food allergies, but if this list is alarmingly familiar and you have that hunch.....call the doc)

*bloody/mucousy stools
*failure to thrive
*chronic congestion
*extremely foul-smelly gas/poop
*vomiting/extreme spitting up
*gassy, uncomfortable baby
*"allergy shiners" (black circles under eyes, more common in older babies/kids)

People who don't know people with food allergies often don't Get It.
(Sorry for the snarkiness that follows.)

*No, you can't make Mac'n'Cheese with water instead of milk to make it safe for my dairy-allergic kid. That yellow powder, believe it or not, is actually "cheese."

*Yes, my kid will break out in hives if your child touches him with hands covered in Goldfish dust. So Thank You in advance, for washing your child's hands.

*Incidentally, "white" bread is made out of "wheat" also, so: No, he can't eat that. (Well, he can now, but this happened when he was reacting to wheat.)

*While we're at it: Just don't feed my kid. It's easier for him to just eat what he brought than for me to have to take something away from him.

*Your lactose intolerance is NOT the same as my kid's dairy allergy. He cannot have lactaid or take a pill before he eats a bowl of ice cream. A slip-up for you means an upset stomach. A slip-up for us means a trip to the emergency room.

*It's okay to eat something he can't have in front of him (I'll always have something similar that IS safe for him), just don't look at him sadly while you DO eat the pizza/ice cream/donuts/cake/etc. because then he WILL feel left out.

*And if you're going to comment on his diet (which I don't understand anyway, by the way...I don't comment on what your kid eats), don't say that eating this "diet" is a great way to "lose weight." We happen to be falling off the weight growth chart around here (he and I both, while I nurse an infant on a restricted diet) and we're a little sensitive about it. So just stop with the "Wow, he is/you are so skinny/lucky" comments.

*Please don't tell me that we're lucky it's "just" food allergies that we're dealing with because he'll outgrow them. He might. But he might not. And even if he does, that doesn't make today's struggles any easier.

*Don't make his food allergies his defining characteristic. Before the allergies, he's my sweet, smart, hilarious, compassionate, adorable little boy

Did you know.........
(from FAAN: The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network)

*Although reasons for this are not clearly understood, the prevalence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis are on the rise. The incidence of a peanut allergy DOUBLED in children over a five year period (1997-2002).

*More than 12 million people in the US have food allergies. That's 4% of the population.

*3 million children in the US have food allergies, including one in 17 among those under 3 years old.

*Although the "Top 8" account for 90% of food allergies (milk, wheat, egg, soy, peanuts, treenuts, fish, and shellfish), there in NO inherently hypoallergenic food, and someone could have a reaction to any food.

*Most people who have an allergic reaction to a food have eaten that food before and thought it was safe.

*Allergies can start at any time, even in adulthood.

*There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of the food and early recognition and management of the allergy are crucial measures to take to keep the food allergic person safe.


  1. You, my friend, are a really great writer!
    Thanks for helping us learn how to better care for our friends with allergies!!