A Question?

For weeks now I have been watching the media coverage on the airline complaint made by Mary Vargas and FARE.  Please take note that this complaint was made  supposedly with All food allergy surffers in mind. To date I have not seen that message get across.  All the media attention and comments are about peanut  allergies.

So what about those of us with other allergies?  No awareness raised, no addressing the issue that we have people who WILL potentially have the same type  reaction if they to come in contact with their allergen

I guess we don’t matter, I guess when I ask for pre boarding due to my kids dairy, Seseme, tree nut, and fish allergy and asthma. I will still get blank stares.   I don’t want my kids sitting  directly next to someone eating Doritos or Cheetos for a flight.. honestly my kids are seeing this coverage and they are saying what about us..

The truth is  I also have severe asthma  and FYI my parents never took me anywhere because of it my first flight was when I was 23. But what about the person who is also allergic to dogs and cats which are now allowed on? 0r fragrance allergies?

How is this coverage helping the 11.5 million with food allergies other then nuts?

So my question is what will all this do for those of us without peanut allergies? And what do we do if only nuts are accommodated?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Living In The World With 2nd Class Food Allergies.

This week has been filled with LOTS of food allergy related news, between the new guidelines of early introduction of peanuts, to FARE’s press release on a complaint filed against American Airlines for not allowing pre-boarding,to CVS offering generic Adrenalclick.   The common factor in all these stories is how the media played this. The only allergy mentioned in all- the news stories was peanut allergy. Epi-pen is needed for peanut allergies, AA discriminating against people with peanut allergies. Peanut, peanut,peanut.

There are 170 foods that can cause anaphylaxis. In the United States we have 8 top foods that cause 90% of food allergies.  Even if you have a top 8 though, unless it’s peanuts, odds are nobody knows the seriousness of the allergy or that it can be just as deadly as a peanut.  Even tree nut allergies are often not taken as seriously. For example, most airlines have peanut policies but they do not have tree nut policies, and they don’t have any policy for any other allergen either.

While living with any food allergy sucks, life with an allergy outside nuts is much harder. Yes, I know this may anger some but let me explain. When someone has an allergy to milk, egg, soy, fish, wheat, shellfish all of which are part of the top 8 , you learn pretty fast that the world will not be free from your allergens. Nobody is making a milk free school. You walk around daily seeing people eating your allergen.  People know nothing about your allergies and often tell you to take a lactaid pill to eat something with milk, or they say or “you’re lucky you don’t have a peanut allergy” , “people only die from peanut allergies”. FALSE!  Sadly, this is not true.  How quickly we all forget how Sabrina Shannon died not from peanuts, but from a utensil cross contaminated with dairy.  Safe snack lists often are only nut free and people with other food allergies are forgotten and not included. Often schools are “nut free” but do not go to great lengths for other allergens.

The risk is equal for ALL allergens. Cooking or steaming or powdered milk can cause reactions, as can egg and fish.  Powdered cheese products like Doritos and  Pirate’s Booty can cause reactions. Even going to a local coffee shop can cause an issue. When looking for food, it’s much harder to eat out. Most fryers and grills are using milk, egg, soy, and fish.  People with these allergies have very limited options.

There also people who are allergic to some popular foods that are not on the top 8.  Sesame, corn or  mustard for example.  Not only are these allergies not taken as seriously by many, by law they also do not need to be declared on food labels.  People sometimes have to go to great lengths to find out if the word “spices” means sesame or mustard.  Some people even are allergic to carrots and apples and need epi pens for that as well.

I am angry. I am frustrated. As a mom of kids with milk, tree nuts, sesame, fish and beef allergies, I feel like I am batting my head against a brick wall. I know others feel this way also. Why does every food allergy story have to be about peanuts? I have seen my kids need an Epi-pen from a tiny bit of dairy, yet no one talks about the dangers of other foods.  I blame many in the food allergy community for promoting the current message.   Honestly, we need awareness now that other foods are just as allergic, not more stories adding peanut to the message. I can tell you even within the food allergy community, there is refusal to understand that ALL allergies are equal.  We need to educate, and we also need to stop promoting false myths. The current thought process and message is putting MANY other allergic individuals at risk.  All allergies matter! To the person who is allergic, it makes no difference if it’s a peanut, or a banana, the reaction will be the same.   I am begging my fellow food allergy advocates, the media, and other food allergy sufferers to start making the conversation about ALL foods not just one.

Why are food allergy parents freaking out over the NIH guidelines?

 

On Thursday January 5, the news broke that the NIH was changing the guidelines regarding peanut introduction for children. I am not sure why this is such huge news as this is not new information. This is just another organization making the same recommendation that was based on the LEAP study, which was released in 2015. The study looked at early introduction of peanut in high risk infants. The results have been in the news often since the study and each time there is grumbling from within the food allergy community. With the most recent coverage, however, the grumbling has now become an outcry.
Honestly, I don’t understand the reaction. This is just a guideline for doctors to implement and it’s pretty specific. It talks about at what age to introduce, what to do if it’s an infant with eczema and egg allergy and more. The guidelines were based on a study done by medical doctors. This isn’t just a reversal of an idea; it’s based on a theory, and conclusion with evidence behind it to support it.
I can understand the outcry to some of the headlines that say “introduce early to prevent developing a peanut allergy”. Some of the headlines are totally misleading. As a multiple allergy mom, I will say I don’t think you can always prevent an allergy. Take a milk allergy, for example. Most infants are exposed to milk early on though formula, but yet milk is the most common allergy in children. Moreover, a recent study done showed early introduction of baked egg to infants also may prevent egg allergies from developing in high risk infants. That was not met with the same outcry that peanut was. Again, nothing is a 100%. This is just one more thing in a big world of theories.
I think these guidelines make some food allergy moms feel guilty, not so much from the study, but how the media is playing this. I get the feeling of guilt. It’s constantly put on us food allergy moms– from studies that say it was what you did and didn’t eat while pregnant, to C-sections causing food allergies. Somehow it always falls on the mom. This is no different; many followed the guidelines that we had at the time. We do the best we can with the information we have at the time. Personally, in my kids’ case I don’t think any of this would have mattered. They came out allergic and have a strong family history of allergic conditions. I see this as just another theory that might work for some.
Another concern parents are expressing is that people will now think kids with peanut allergies can eat peanuts. I am not sure how or why people would think that as the guidelines are VERY clear. This only looks at early introduction for infants! Neither the new guidelines nor the LEAP study talk about people who already have peanut allergies. This does not change anything for those who are already allergic. Claiming such a misinterpretation is a hard stretch to make as not one media report makes that claim, and clearly the study doesn’t say such things.
We food allergy parents must realize we live in a time when a lot of studies are coming out, which is a good thing! At the same time, we must realize that we can only do the best we can with the information available at the time, and not feel guilty about each new recommendation.

On Thursday January 5, the news broke that the NIH was changing the guidelines regarding peanut introduction for children. I am not sure why this is such huge news as this is not new information. This is just another organization making the same recommendation that was based on the LEAP study, which was released in 2015. The study looked at early introduction of peanut in high risk infants. The results have been in the news often since the study and each time there is grumbling from within the food allergy community. With the most recent coverage, however, the grumbling has now become an outcry.
Honestly, I don’t understand the reaction. This is just a guideline for doctors to implement and it’s pretty specific. It talks about at what age to introduce, what to do if it’s an infant with eczema and egg allergy and more. The guidelines were based on a study done by medical doctors. This isn’t just a reversal of an idea; it’s based on a theory, and conclusion with evidence behind it to support it.
I can understand the outcry to some of the headlines that say “introduce early to prevent developing a peanut allergy”. Some of the headlines are totally misleading. As a multiple allergy mom, I will say I don’t think you can always prevent an allergy. Take a milk allergy, for example. Most infants are exposed to milk early on though formula, but yet milk is the most common allergy in children. Moreover, a recent study done showed early introduction of baked egg to infants also may prevent egg allergies from developing in high risk infants. That was not met with the same outcry that peanut was. Again, nothing is a 100%. This is just one more thing in a big world of theories.
I think these guidelines make some food allergy moms feel guilty, not so much from the study, but how the media is playing this. I get the feeling of guilt. It’s constantly put on us food allergy moms– from studies that say it was what you did and didn’t eat while pregnant, to C-sections causing food allergies. Somehow it always falls on the mom. This is no different; many followed the guidelines that we had at the time. We do the best we can with the information we have at the time. Personally, in my kids’ case I don’t think any of this would have mattered. They came out allergic and have a strong family history of allergic conditions. I see this as just another theory that might work for some.
Another concern parents are expressing is that people will now think kids with peanut allergies can eat peanuts. I am not sure how or why people would think that as the guidelines are VERY clear. This only looks at early introduction for infants! Neither the new guidelines nor the LEAP study talk about people who already have peanut allergies. This does not change anything for those who are already allergic. Claiming such a misinterpretation is a hard stretch to make as not one media report makes that claim, and clearly the study doesn’t say such things.
We food allergy parents must realize we live in a time when a lot of studies are coming out, which is a good thing! At the same time, we must realize that we can only do the best we can with the information available at the time, and not feel guilty about each new recommendation.