Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Food Allergy is a Food Allergy is a Food Allergy

I met with Katherine's principal yesterday about something unrelated to allergies, but Principal brought up food allergies, and we all know I am physically incapable of avoiding a food allergy conversation. Even when it might be appropriate.
Neighbor: "This sure is a heavy snow."
Nowheymama: "Yeah. I remember the last time it snowed like this, I was reading a new research study on food allergies, and it said...."
Neighbor: *runs away*

So for the record, Principal brought up allergies first, in the context of what a good and safe year Katherine has had.
Nowheymama: "Yes, Teacher has done an excellent job. Also, Katherine enjoyed being in a classroom with another allergic child. It was really nice for her to have that support."
Principal: "Yes. Well, next year we're going to have to be REALLY serious about food allergies because there are two Kindergarteners moving up who are REALLY allergic to peanuts."
Nowheymama:*Remembering Principal is retiring in August* "Yes, I've heard that."
Principal: "Yes. This building is going to be peanut free. We're going to have to be REALLY vigilant next year about peanuts. And other allergies."
Nowheymama: *Bradley breathing* "That's just great."
Principal: "Yes because one of these children is REALLY allergic. Like, it's a real life-threatening allergy."
Nowheymama: *head explodes* "Well, all food allergies can be life threatening. You never know which reaction is going to be the one that is severe. Look at Katherine's friend N. Her peanut allergy was considered to be "mild" until she had that reaction AT SCHOOL last year."
Principal: "Yes, but this child's allergy is REALLY serious."
Nowheymama: "...."

I don't mean to get all Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, and I certainly am not trying to get into a "my child's allergy is more severe than yours" discussion. It's inappropriate, and it doesn't matter. The school system should treat all food allergies as if they equally severe. It's just safer that way. Besides, you never know which reaction is going to be the anaphylactic one, so it's best just to avoid reactions altogether.

BUT on the bright side, they will be doing more to handle allergies next year, they are having an in-service day about allergies, and I think we're going to have Katherine's allergy action plan meeting in July! instead of the last week of August.

Small steps forward, right? RIGHT?


  1. I can see why your head exploded! So frustrating.

  2. That does sound frustrating! One thing I keep thinking about is what did they do 20-40 years ago? My brother is allergic to fish. The only reaction I ever saw was hives after I touched him (after eating fish). He is 11 years older than me, so when I was old enough to understand anything he was old enough to "take care" of it himself. I wonder how much my parents had to do to keep him safe...

  3. Sheesh, my head exploded just reading that. It's great that there will be renewed vigilance about allergies though. I think that more education is just the answer, because of all the nut-related allergies, I think people just don't know that there can be severe reactions to other foods. So, I think the public often just think "nuts" when it comes to severe allergies, but maybe not dairy or something else. People who don't have allergic children often just need to be educated.

  4. Grrrrrr......

    People just don't get it.

    And these posts scare me. I don't know if I'll ever be ready for the school days.

  5. Ok... I know you were upset, but I just had to giggle a little bit... 'cause I am so with you... It's so frustrating that sometimes all one can do is laugh. AHHHHHHHHH! or scream. you know, whatever. :)

    So, the kid is REALLY allergic to peanuts, eh? Life threatening, huh? Wow. Time to do something because of a serious allergy. Ok. No wonder your head was EXPLODING!!!

    OH, and the not being able to avoid a conversation about food allergies... I'm there, too. It's oh so nice to see someone's eyes glaze over when they hear me ask if there is dairy in something.

    Well, hopefully the steps they are taking towards the peanut-allergy folks will help K, too. Looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.

  6. The thing that really kills me is that K's friend N., who is in the school *this year*, HAS A SEVERE PEANUT ALLERGY.

  7. I just found you from Rational Jenn. My son is headed to Kindergarten in the fall and we are just getting started educating the school. He's the first student with a food allergy.

    I really appreciate two things from your story, your persistance and your good attitude.

    Here's what I wrote yesterday about my son entering kindergarten: My latest post: Kindergarten Bound with Allergies Orientation is this afternoon. I am curious how everything will be shared.

  8. Yeah, I can't wrap my mind around why people don't get that other food allergies can be severe or life threatening, NOT just peanuts or shellfish. We only deal with peanuts but when I speak to manufacturers for Food Allergy Buzz or FAB Snacks, I ask about many food allergies and so many smaller companies sort of brush off egg, dairy and other allergies as though they can't possibly be as serious. They all need to be taken seriously, since one reaction does not predict the severity of the next. UGH. It's like talking to a wall, isn't it?!

  9. Remind me to tell you the story about a food certification agency that contacted me. I think you would find it similarly interesting!

  10. Oh my! I have pressure buiding in my head just reading about it. I despise the term "mild food allergy"!!! Kayla's school went pn/tn free this year. And at last year's picnic they did water ice. This year, they said it "did not work" and are going back to ice cream (Kayla is not the only dairy allergy). It's a private preschool so I don't have much to work with, but I'm so mad b/c they are pn free. Um...why are those kids more important than mine? If you can keep pn/tn products from all students every day, what's a little ice cream for one day???

    I feel your pain. You deserve a medal for refraining...

  11. Ugh, frustrating. I'm nervous for school. We met with Bug's future preschool and of course allergies came up. I was somewhat reassured when the director said his sister has had food allergies all her life so he knows how serious they are. Does that mean I'll be calm when Bug is there or that I won't want to stare through the windows holding a spare EPI-pen...we'll see.

  12. Sometimes I wish I'd had the foresight and nerves of steel to take pictures of my son when he last had a full blown reaction at two years old. (Of course, one of his 7 allergies is peanut, so that one's a REAL allergy.) I'd pull out the photographic evidence at the first hint of scoff! Libby

  13. ANNOYING!! I don't think I could have kept my temper in check.
    (I rarely do.)

    Good for you for not exploding.

  14. Last year a mother of a severely peanut allergic child let her toddler who was wearing her buttered bagel run up to the door at school with the above mentioned bagel in her smeared little hand and open and smear door at the same time. She has trouble believing other allergens can produce dramatic reactions like the ones "her son Has". Now you know why my son with multiple severe life threatening allergies has a full time aid and has to wear gloves.....because even people who should get it often dont ;( Trust no one until they prove to be trust worthy with the life of your child.....We must advocate for all allergic children...because Stupid people are everywhere

  15. People are idiots sometimes. Argh! Yes-all allergies should be treated the same, regardless.

    Hopefully though-these "REALLY severe" allergies will help bring awareness to all allergies.

  16. That is frustrating. I would have to do a tiny head pinch-off to the principal when I left the room. Grr.

  17. I can't believe a Principal said that!!!! My 3 yr old has no allergies but has severe ear problems and can't do anything without his plugs and I get the same reaction- what's a little water?? Its not a serious reaction ( loosing his hearing) and now my 7 month has been oficially diagnosed with severe dairy, whey and casein allergy and my sister in law wanted to give him fish crackers ( even with out the allergies hello he is 7 months!!!) so anyways you are not alone! Continue to make a stand for K, and all of us and our not so real allergies!!

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