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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/

More Food Allergy Links

I scheduled an appointment with an allergist and we go next week. It won’t be pleasant doing the skin allergy test, but I need to know if my daughter is allergic to anything else in addition to peanut butter.

I just read on BabyCenter that it is normal to go through emotional stages when your child is diagnosed. I was most surprised by my panic about protecting my daughter and thinking of all the times she could have an attack – at daycare, on vacation, at a restaurant. It definitelly changes your mindset. I will feel better after the allergist appointment too.

I need to educate my husband – he just thinks we don’t need to give her peanut butter. Peanuts are in so many things! And if she had a mild allergy attack, she still could have a serious one in the future.

Here is a great list from someone who posted at BabyCenter:

“Maybe one of these links will help him understand what your dealing with, I think he’s doing like most parents and it’s just in a denial phase. It’s been said that we go through the 5 stages of grief upon diagnosis and I believe it. ”
http://www.foodallergy.org/ 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
here’s another with a ton of links.