Category Archives: food allergy

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta’s Allergy Friendly Easter-Egg Hunt on 4/16/11

Food allergies change the way you see the world, one meal at a time. Holidays can be especially tough for families with food allergies. If you are in Atlanta, you may know about Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta. They are a wonderful nonprofit and they are hosting an allergy-friendly Easter Egg Hunt!

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta’s Allergy Friendly Easter-Egg Hunt

Join us for an exciting, safe and fun-filled day as FA Kids of Atlanta celebrates Easter!
Special Guest Appearance:
The Easter Bunny!
Events Include:
Toy Filled Easter-Egg Hunt
(Grouped by age and will begin at 10:15 a.m.)
Bouncy House
Professional “Real” Bunny Photos Available
(packages starting at $20!)
And More!!!
In order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all families, we ask that NO food is brought into this event. Bottled water will be provided!
_______________________________
Date: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(Scheduled professional photos will begin at 9:00 a.m.)
Location: Garrard Landing Park, Roswell, GA
8000 Holcombe Bridge Rd., Alpharetta, GA  30076
RSVP-ASAP: confirm@fakidsatl.org with number of children attending & ages
Enter the water plant building entrance and then turn left to enter the park drive. Landmarks include fountains & a blue topped playground.
For specific directions, follow this link:  Garrard Landing Park

*Please note* FA Kids of Atlanta did NOT reserve the playground & pavilion area for this event.  We have no control of foods that may be carried in by the public. The FA Kids of Atlanta food-free event location will be roped off in a separate area, located in the grass fields.

Allergy-Friendly Halloween Carnival on Oct. 23 in Sandy Springs, GA

Halloween, like many holidays, can be a parent’s worst nightmare when it comes to protecting their children with food allergies. The Atlanta nonprofit Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta has teamed up with Sandy Springs Fire Rescue to provide a safe and fun atmosphere for food allergic kids to celebrate Halloween. What a great idea!

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta and the department will offer children games, prizes and crafts, as well as a chance to meet firefighters and see the fire trucks.

The party runs from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 23 at Fire Station #2, 135 Johnson Ferry Road. Organizers ask that no food be brought to the party, noting all children will receive a non-food treat bag.

To register, email with the number of children attending to confirm@fakidsatl.org or by calling 404-512-7983. There are a limited number of spaces, so be sure to get your reservation – the deadline is October 15.

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Join us at the Atlanta Food Allergy Walk on October 2 at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody, GA

Join us for the Food Allergy Walk in Atlanta on October 2. Money raised will help research food allergies and anaphylaxis of which there is currently no cure. There is also a blog about the walk. There will be lots of free fun family festivities after the walk in Dunwoody, GA as well.

Check-in for the Atlanta walk is at 9 a.m.; the walk begins at 10 a.m. at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. It’s a two-mile walk, and baby strollers and wagons are welcome. A DJ, moonwalk, games, sponsor exhibits, and more will be onsite.

Atlanta’s 2010 honorary chairs include:

If you can’t participate, you can support a walker (me), give directly to the walk site, or volunteer on Walk Day. Individuals and teams are encouraged to register online. Please note: All walk participants, including children and infants in strollers/wagons, must be registered.

You can also currently nominate a child to be FAAN’s 2011 National Child Ambassador. Each $10 vote for your child is a donation to FAAN.

Also, welcome Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta. FA Kids of Atlanta was created to support families who manage food allergies, educate those who care for our children, and create a safer environment in the local area for food allergic individuals.

We are parents of food allergic children and advocates in our community, raising awareness on the importance of food allergy prevention and the seriousness in food allergy reactions.

Food Allergy is an immune system response. It occurs when the body mistakes an ingredient in food — usually a protein — as harmful and creates a defense system (antibodies) to fight it. Food allergy symptoms develop when the antibodies are battling the “invading” food.

Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe, and the amount of food necessary to trigger a reaction varies from person to person and can even be triggered by just a trace amount of an allergy-causing food. Symptoms of a food allergy may include:

Rash or hives
Nausea
Stomach pain
Diarrhea
Itchy skin
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Swelling of the airways to the lungs
Anaphylaxis (a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction)

Over 12 million Americans have food allergies (that’s 1 in 25), and many experts insist that number is increasing. Just as an example: the incidence of a peanut allergy in children doubled in a five-year period (1997-2002).

Food allergies are most common in kids under three, where the occurrence is now one in 17 children. (My child falls into that category.) Food allergies are life-altering for everyone involved — not just the kids (I know this from experience!).

Only eight foods account for 90% of the food-allergic reactions in the United States: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. And for those who may be unaware, even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction; there are no cures for food allergies.

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Food Allergies and Back to School

It is almost time for back to school which means shopping for school supplies, backpacks and…epi-pens? What? For those of you with food-allergic children, it is a reminder to review your school food allergy management plan and be sure you are up to date with medicine as well stock up on safe snacks for your child at school.

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is a new non-profit created to support families who manage food allergies, educate those who care for our children, and create a safer environment in the local area for food allergic individuals.

Kids with Food Allergies is a great resource. There is a back to school checklist and lots of other guides to help you plan for your child’s start of school. Here is a great article on Education.com “Advocating for your Child with Food Allergies at School.”

Another resource: “Back to School: Tips for your Food Allergic Child” from Living Without Magazine. Here is a back to school toolkit from FAAN.

I printed out 8.5 x11 posters and my daycare laminated them and put them in the classrooms.

Nut and peanut allergies – printables: food list to avoid, posters. Egg allergy – printables: foods to avoid

Allergic Reactions Instructions Sheet

Arm yourself with information and help your school or daycare better understand food allergies.

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Food Allergy Awareness Week – Respect Every Bite

As a mom of a peanut and egg-allergic three year old daughter, I have learned so much about food allergies and the challenges it creates. Through my daughter’s grace, I have learned to accept the things I cannot control and to deal with things one day at a time. She is my sweet little girl and I worry about keeping her protected every day. We are learning together to read the labels, ask questions and be vigilant with food. We carry around an epi-pen and benedryl and it is an accepted accessory now, just like my purse. We talk to her teachers, friends’ parents, caregivers, and anyone else that we cross paths with and make sure they know about her allergies. We ask questions and research restaurants and places before we travel. Every meal is a concern, which is why we must respect every bite..

The most surprising thing I learned was how little the general public was aware of the implications of cross-contamination. A food product might not have peanuts in it but may have been processed in a plant that handles peanuts. That is a big deal for those of us with food allergies. The scary thing is that food manufacturers do not have to have the “may contain” statement so if it is not on the package, you have to call and find out.

My sweet daughter before she was diagnosed with food allergies.

In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, I am including some links to local Atlanta groups, the Atlanta Food Allergy Walk this Fall as well as peanut free snack ideas for the classroom and food allergy associations. Kids with Food Allergies has also announced a Faces of Food Allergies campaign that encourages kids to get involved. Add your picture to the photo gallery and spread the word to educate our schools and the entire community to respect every bite.

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network – sign up for email allergy alerts

Atlanta FAAN Food Allergy Walk 10/2/10

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta – new nonprofit! Yeah!

Yahoo Group Atlanta Families with Food Allergies

Ask About My Peanut Allergy – Bo’s Food List (always read the labels as it may change) Safe snack ideas

Respect Every Bite, Because Every Bite Matters – great post by Smiling Green Mom about Food Allergy Awareness Week, resources

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Thoughts from a Food Allergic Child’s Mom in the Peanut State.

I spoke with my sister in Charlotte, NC and was surprised to hear that her school system has been strict with food allergies and labeling with what gets brought to school for almost six years. They serve Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches and if you bring in any snacks, it has to have the store label on it. No big deal but it can save a life.

In GA, however, it is an entirely different story. My daughter has an egg and peanut allergy and I was voicing my concerns to my sister over our schools in GA still serving peanut butter and allowing any snack foods (homemade or store bought) to be brought in to classroom parties and for the daily class snack.

And then it hit me. Tonight I saw a peanut commercial for the peanut industry in Georgia. I connected the political and economical connections between the state and the peanut industry and my heart sank. We will never have the same understanding in our schools as long as the peanut industry and lobbyists have a say in this state.

How heartbreaking is it to realize that I have an uphill battle? It’s more than having a peanut free table in the cafeteria. I mean, you still serve peanut butter on the menu so how will you protect a food allergic child from being exposed when kids can wipe it on a chair or table? Who checks to see that their hands are clean? And what about all the classroom parties and daily snacks where parents bring in anything?

I have more regulations with my daughter’s daycare at Primrose School (thankfully) and now I am considering keeping her there for private kindergarten. It is a battle that I hope most parents do not face. It has implications that go far beyond “just keep your kid away from the peanut butter.”

How I Protected My Egg Allergic Daughter and Still Gave Her the Flu Shot

I wanted to share my experience of getting my two year old her flu shot yesterday morning. She has an egg and peanut allergy. Flu shots have egg in them, so if your child has an egg food allergy, please go to the allergist and let them handle the immunization.

It is up to the parent whether to give their child a flu shot. If you decide to get one, it is not recommended getting one at the pediatrician’s office. The Allergist can safely test and administer the flu shot in the office. They do a series of skin tests and then low-level shots and are equipped to treat the child in the event they have a serious allergic reaction.

First, they put a drop on her arm and then lightly scratched it and we waited 15 min. They measure for reaction – it looks like a mosquito bite if there is one. She had one for egg but not for the flu shot.

Then they tested it just under her skin and we waited 15 min. She did have a reaction the second time, (mosquito bite looking bump) so we had to do the test shot in her leg, wait 15 minutes each time for reaction. She did not react each time, but it was hard going through with her. Luckily we went through all 6 rounds with no reaction and each dose gives a little bit more of the flu shot until she has had enough to protect her. Her Doctor said she was finished and off we went.

Even though it was difficult, I would still do it again if it means protecting my child from a more threatening flu. 

Tip – bring lots of snacks, toys, coloring items and reading materials because we were there about 3 1/2 hours.

Always research, always ask questions to your doctors, the nurses, you name it. You are the number one person on your family’s health team!

Peanut free snacks and companies who make them

As a result of online research, here are some companies that have peanut-free products. As always, read the labels to be sure.

Dare Foods (even have a no peanut symbol on packaging)
http://www.darefoods.com/usa-en/nutrition_centre/peanut_free/index.shtml

Divvies
http://www.divvies.com/

Enjoy Life
http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/ (has a store locator where you can buy their products)
allergy friendly, free of 8 common food allergens

Another list – again, be careful and read the labels.
http://www.avoidingmilkprotein.com/otherallergies.htm

Target carries SunButter and I.M. Healthy Soynut Butter and we have replaced our peanut butter with it. It tastes great.

Also, sign up for ingredient notices on the FAAN web site:
http://www.foodallergy.org/ingredients.html

Here is a new web site that I have discovered:

Snack Safely is my go-to list and it is updated frequently. Again, always read the label and call if you have questions.

Good luck and I will update as I find them.

Candles with Meaning – Buy in September and 15% goes to Kids with Food Allergies

I just read about this candle company in a food allergy newsletter. I am going to try it out and knowing that 15% will go towards Kids with Food Allergies makes it even better. It’s a safer way to burn candles with no soot so if you have kids, this is a nice alternative to traditional candles.

My daughter has a peanut and egg allergy and I am learning all I can about children and food allergies.

Candles with Meaning

http://www.candleswithmeaning.com/

Candles With Meaning offers wickless, flameless candles. The candles use a ceramic warmer that melts wax using a 25 watt bulb. 15% of your order will be donated to Kids With Food Allergies.

Now my daughter has an egg allergy in addition to peanut.

Here we go. First, the peanut allergy and now a suspected egg allergy. I gave her a bite of real scrambled eggs and she made a face, spit it out and shivered. I watched her for a few minutes and then she developed some small red bumps or hives around her mouth. I gave her benedryl and started to cry. We are just getting used to her peanut allergy and now we have to be careful with eggs. The weird thing is that she eats french toast sticks and they have egg in them. I called the allergist and set up an appointment in September for another skin test. Poor baby. I hate doing it but we have to know and I am going to check for all the rest of the common allergens while we are there.

The nurse said for now, avoid all eggs. I asked her about the frozen french toast sticks and she said that for some foods like frozen, processed french toast sticks, the egg protein is weaker since it is much further away from a pure egg. It might have been cooked out or the processing weakens it. So what does that mean? Well, no bakery items obviously and no eggs. But everything seems to have egg in it! Some breads have egg brushed on the outside! Here goes my paranoia scale – up and away.

I found a good sheet for egg allergies to avoid so we’ll start here. How are you all managing out there allergic moms?

And what about flu shots and other vaccinations with eggs in them? More questions for the doctor I suppose.

Egg Allergy Information
http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/nutrition/egg_allergy.html

Foods to avoid with egg allergy –  print out for your wallet 
http://kidshealth.org/teen/misc/eggallergy_cutout.html

More egg allergy info
http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/health/1065007/