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Food Allergies in Atlanta? You Are No Longer Alone!

My 3 yr old daughter has an egg and peanut allergy. It has been an educational and tough experience in dealing with my daughter’s allergies, keeping her safe, and working with her caretakers and friends and family to make sure she is protected.

I have found some hardships in sharing how to protect her from her allergies with our close friends and family. Most of the time they think I am overreacting or being too paranoid about checking the food to keep her safe.

But they don’t realize the extraneous dangers. They don’t live our days. Birthday parties, Christmas stockings, Easter egg hunts, Halloween parties are all just events that they attend without a thought of danger for their kids. I see danger in every class party, in every holiday event, in every bite of food. Which is why we need to respect every bite.

They don’t see my daughter’s sad face when she is left out of a “food art” project at school or when she can’t eat a birthday cupcake in her class from another student. They don’t see their child’s pain from being left out or perceived as different due to her food allergy.

They don’t panic when traveling and planning meals. They don’t have to locate the hospitals before going places. They don’t overhear their daughter about baking peanut free cookies so they are safe for her and her stuffed animal to eat. And her asking at every meal “does this have nuts or eggs in it?” which is a wise question for someone so young.

There is so much education that we have to share and give to our community. It’s so more than just “not giving our child a peanut butter sandwich” and that is why I am so glad that Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is here.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a food allergy, you are not alone.

Food Allergy 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)

There is no cure for food allergies.”

Food allergies are increasing.

“To successfully manage a food allergy, ones diet and lifestyle must change.”

About 12 million (1 in 25) Americans have a food allergy…children are the largest group affected.”

Peanut allergy in children doubled in a 5-year period from 1997-2002″

Teens account for almost half of food allergy fatalities.  Ages 10 thru 29 account for three quarters.”

Impact is broad:  family, friends, classmates, etc..”

Fear and anxiety are common among parents of children with food allergies. Parents live each day knowing that just one bite of the wrong food could cause a potentially fatal reaction

Together we can…….

Educate, Advocate, and Support

The above information was gathered from the following resources:
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/foods-allergy-intolerance
http://www.foodallergy.org/files/welcomingguests_2010.pdf
http://www.todayinot.com/ce/OT04/CoursePage/

Also, 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 fun festivities after the walk in Dunwoody, GA as well.

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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/

Traveling with a peanut allergy

I am preparing to take my daughter on a trip in two weeks on an airplane. I called Delta and Northwest airlines. Northwest does not serve peanuts but their snacks might contain nuts. They will make an announcement at the gate if requested.

I also have to get a doctor’s note to travel with her benedryl and epi-pens. It is my fear that they will be taken in security. I will call the allergist’s office and post what I learn.

I just ordered two peanut allergy books from Amazon and will post about those too once I read them.

Information is power and learning how to manage it all and read labels is the most important thing for newly diagnosed families.

We had a birthday party for our oldest daughter who turned 5 last weekend. I ordered the Publix cupcake cake and made safe cupcakes for my youngest daughter. So that worked out okay as she broke out in hives from tasting a Publix cupcake a few weeks ago.

Small steps!!! Happy Friday.

http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=114&title=travel_with_food_allergies

My daughter’s food allergy and food allergies in the news

Well my daughter is sick and last night I gave her benedryl so she could breathe since she was so congested. So now I have rescheduled our allergy appt to next Friday. She can’t have benedryl in 7 days before the skin test. So we will wait another week to find out what all she is allergic to in addition to peanuts.

I have been reading more about food allergies and to my pleasure, many mainstream publications have stories about them this month. It can only help educate people about how serious food allergies are with kids. I can’t imagine worrying about my daughter’s safety in the cafeteria at school, but in a few years, I will be right there with these parents.

Newsweek
My Turn: A Plea for My Daughter
http://www.newsweek.com/id/139437

Newsweek
Fear and Allergies in the Lunchroom
http://www.newsweek.com/id/62296?tid=relatedcl

The 411 on Food Allergies – Quiz – Know your food allergy facts?
http://www.newsweek.com/id/62097?tid=relatedcl

Redbook
Worried About Food Allergies?
http://www.redbookmag.com/home/worried-about-food-allergies

Trace Adkins has an article in June Redbook about his daughter’s allergies – here is an excerpt from People Magazine:
Trace Adkins Opens Up About His Daughter’s Near-Death Allergic Reaction
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20202611,00.html 

BabyCenter Food Allergies Forum – I have received great support from wonderful moms
http://boards.babycenter.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?nav=messages&webtag=bcus9266

I am a new Trace Adkins fan!
From CMT: Trace Adkins is working with the two U.S. senators from Tennessee to promote legislation to assist schools in protecting 2.2 million children nationwide who suffer from life-threatening food allergies. Adkins, whose 6-year-old daughter Brianna suffers from severe food allergies, raised public awareness of the problem while raising money for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) as a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans, announced Monday (June 9) they will co-sponsor the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act to develop voluntary guidelines for schools to prevent exposure to food allergens and ensure a prompt response when a student suffers a potentially fatal reaction. The bill also calls for grants to be provided to implement food allergy management guidelines in public schools. Noting that he and his wife have been seeking this legislation for more than three years, Adkins said, “There have been no consistent standardized guidelines to help schools safely manage students with their food allergies. This bill will help keep kids safe while at school and parents will be more at ease knowing an action plan is in place.”

From www.Kidswithfoodallergies.org
Heed ALL warning statements

“There are now two studies that indicate may contains do contain the allergens in 10% of cases and that it does NOT matter if the statement says: may contain, run on shared lines with, or processed in a facility with, or processed in a facility that also processes “

Food allergy advice and articles

My 18 month old daughter had a reaction this week to peanut butter. We think she has a food allergy and went to the doctor. He prescribed an epi-pen for emergency and told us to restrict feeding her any nuts at all and get a blood test when she turns 3. I still want to go to an allergist and get an opinion from a specialist.

I did some research for first time parents with children with food allergies – here are some great links:

New diagnosis (great web site – Parenting a Child with a Food Allergy)
http://www.childfoodallergy.com/archives/new_diagnosis/

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)
http://www.foodallergy.org

Kids with Food Allergies
http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/

MedicAlert Food Allergy Resources
http://www.medicalert.org/Main/ResourcesFoodAllergies.aspx

Food allergies
http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/nutrition/diets/food_allergies.html

Good luck and I will post as I discover things.