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Are parents of non-allergic children really this aggressive towards PA children?

I am new to caring for a newly diagnosed PA child. I just read a recent post from a parent complaining that her child cannot bring a PB sandwich to school just because of one PA child. The thread contained 112 responses, some of which were parents of PA children explaining why, whereas others were horribly vicious attacks by people stating that these PA children are 'not normal' and do not belong in school. They complained that their children have the 'right' to bring whatever food they choose, even suggesting that PA was psychological, not real. I realize that there are trolls on every site, but if this is the belief of even some parents, what would the behavior and attitudes of their children be? What kind of bullying, non-compliance and just plain mean spiritedness can I expect when this little 4 y/o begins to go to school? I would be interested in any experiences others have had with schools, parents and students. Thanks.

By B.M.18 on Fri, 10-11-13, 01:02

Hi, I am 17 years old, am a senior in high school and I have many food allergies the most severe being a life threatening peanut / tree nut allergy. I have to keep epi pens with me at all times and have never had to use them luckily. I dot feel bad that parents are being to inconsiderate but I understand how it is. There are the kids that don't take your allergy seriously and don't understand but you just have to avoid them and not pay attention to their comments. The best thing for you is to talk to all o your child's teachers and the principle of the school. Make them aware of the situation and have the teachers aware of what to do in case of a reaction. Due to my allergy I haven't ever been able to eat in the school cafeteria, but instead my school has me get a few friends (who all eat nut free lunches) and we eat in the library or a teachers class room at lunch, it lets me be comfortable without having to worry and I still have friends with me so I don't feel alone. I don't know if I was much help but feel free to ask me anything!

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By mb1554 on Fri, 10-11-13, 17:39

Thanks for your response. How great that your HS has provided a safe place for you with your friends. I've read of a new form of bullying where kids use the food item that the child is allergic to, such as PB, to threaten them with. It is frightening to think of the consequences, not just fear & intimidation but actual risk of anaphylaxis! Scary world ahead for a little 3 year old. I wonder how you handled holidays, going out with friends and eating?

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By B.M.18 on Fri, 10-11-13, 21:00

Yea kids can be mean, but if its necessary dont be afraid to address the child because they need to be aware of the danger. As far as going out ones we don't go to restaurants much but when we do we talk to the waiter and cook ad let them know. My friends are very supportive and they never eat mitts around me and when I ever I would go to sleep overs as a child my mom would pack me a "snack bag" and have the parents of the other kids keep away nuts, then I would eat my snacks while the others had the snacks that were nutfree but still weren't safe from cross contamination. For holidays my mom would bake me my own little deserts like "allergy free" cupcakes (because I also have a egg allergy) and my family members would always wait until after we left to eat the things with nuts. I hope this helps if you have any other questions just ask!

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By mb1554 on Wed, 09-11-13, 19:22

Thank you everyone for your very insightful and informative remarks, they are much appreciated! I provide child care, 12 hrs each work day, for my goddaughter's PA 3-1/2 y/o daughter. While not technically 'family', we all love her like she is our own. When we recently learned of her PA/TNA, my husband & I sat down with our 4 kids, all teens, and said we needed to create a peanut/nut free home. Even tho this was a major change for them all, all my kids agreed-there was no margin for error. All PB, Nutella, cereals, candy, etc are gone. I worry about recognizing the difference between an allergic reaction to something else (she is also allergic to eggs) and an anaphylactic reaction to an unknown substance and reacting quickly enough. Some family members have not been supportive, insisting that she can eat nuts or are unwilling to change holiday traditions, such as cooking turkey in peanut oil or serving desserts with nuts or peanuts. It is frightening to contemplate all the hurdles ahead. This site has been a godsend to me, as I spend as much time with this little one as do her parents. Again, thank you all for taking the time to respond!

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By bwalker on Wed, 09-11-13, 17:54

We have to live with the fact that our kids are at risk of DEATH on a daily basis at school. There is no way to sugar coat that! Let those people walk a day in our shoes. There are many safely precautions that we can and do take but we can never totally remove that risk. It infuriates me to no end to hear of people like this. Luckily I have never actually run into anyone like this at my children's school, if I did they would get a piece of my mind that's for sure. Everyone has been pretty good but you have to be proactive and strike a balance with being your child's advocate but not off-putting to be taken seriously. Be involved, be at school a lot and control the environment as much as you can. If you have issues with a teacher or parent or other child go to the principal, have a problem with the principal go to the district. Your child has the right to a relatively safe school experience! We have to do everything we can for our kids and luckily I think people like that are few and far between.

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By loriradakovich on Wed, 09-11-13, 00:41

It is unfortunate that this does in fact occur. My child is now almost 14(peanut and tree-nut allergic) and we have been dealing with such lovely people for years. I also have an eleven yr-old with nut allergies. What I tell them is that I (or the school) is not telling you what to feed your child, just that during school hours to refrain from your child eating nut products around my child (which means not bringing said products to class for snack-time). I honestly believe people who are complaining about kids with food allergies to be aggressive towards ANYTHING that somebody tells them about what to do with their children. When the school states no gum chewing on campus, these are the same parents who complain. It is NOT their right to endanger other children by giving their child nut products and it IS the school's right to put in place policies that help to protect children. Whether this means to ban junk food from the school menu or peanut butter. The safety of the students needs to come first and foremost. I try to explain to everybody I come in contact at school/extra-curricular events/anywhere the severity of my children's allergy and why such and such has been put in place. The overwhelming majority of parents have been extremely supportive (and their kids even more so) once I've spoken to them. As much as it may hurt, remaining calm and educating others is the most effective way to cope.

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By gmlmom on Tue, 09-10-13, 16:42

Throughout the years (over 10 now) we have come across every attitude around. I have discovered that generally the children are much better than the adults. The older the adult also generally means they are more difficult to deal with because there were not many cases when they were young and they just do not understand. I was surprised when even a close family friends did not "get it". Unfortunately for many until they see a reaction in process they do not and will not "get it". On the positive side there are many people that do understand and you will learn that they will be the people in your life. My daughter is approaching the dating age and we have had many discussions. She knows it will be very hard for gentlemen who choose to date her but she also knows that she will really mean something to these gentlemen because it will be a lot of work to date her. They will really have to care about her. Her friends are her best support and they work to make sure she is safe and always included. My recommendation is always find the people who do understand. Always be very appreciate of those that go out of their way to help your child and let them know how much it means to allow your child to live as normal of a life as possible. Some of the "trolls" will come around if their child becomes friends with an PA child. I have seen it happen. It is just so hard for some to imagine that a child can die from a peanut. Good luck. It will get easier.

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By rlharz on Tue, 09-10-13, 01:49

Hello!
I am a 21 year old senior in college and I have had a severe peanut allergy for as long as I can remember.
I'm sorry to hear that these parents did not understand the severity of this allergy, I think people on the internet tend to be much more aggressive than in real life, don't believe that this type of reaction is typical.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of people who understand the fact that this allergy is life threatening. Growing up my mother was one of those moms that insisted the school accommodate my allergy. When I was in elementary school, I used to sit at a peanut free table for lunch with my friends who couldnt sit there unless they did not have peanut butter for lunch. In middle school, all of my friends knew about my allergy and never ate peanut butter around me. In high school I realized that people could sit at the same table as me with a peanut butter sandwich and I would be fine. (This isn't the case with everyone, depending on their sensitivity to it) I was always very careful and always brought my own lunch. I was never bullied for my allergy, I had classmates in my kindergarten class who also had severe nut allergies.

I never had an Anaphylactic reaction until I was 19, and that was my own fault, I was careless. But in my experience, people have always been very understanding at school. My mother was always very vocal about making sure I was safe, but my peers and teachers were always accommodating. If you get trouble, I would reiterate the severity of the allergy. I'm sure their children can live without a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, I mean honestly...

Good luck :)

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By angelmom3 on Mon, 09-09-13, 16:18

I am so sorry you had to read those posts! My son has been PA & TNA since he was 16 months old, he's 10 now. When he first started Preschool, food allergies were just emerging into the mainstream and most people had never even heard of them. Unfortunately, I did encounter many parents and even school officials who didn't believe my son's allergies were real or as severe as I claimed despite copies of test results and letters from his allergist. He had an anaphylactic reaction at the school from touching a table that was contaminated and not properly cleaned. Needless to say, I immediately pulled him out and had to quit my job to protect him. Now there is much more information available and sadly food allergies are becoming much more common. Most school officials and parents are more receptive, but it's still a struggle finding a balance to keep him safe and not alienate the other students and parents. Also, most parents don't have to live with our situation and it can be difficult to communicate the severity of these allergies without scaring them. I've learned that if you get involved with the school and the PTO/PTA it's easier to communicate with the parents. If your open and willing to share what you know, they will usually listen. There will always be a bad egg, but it's not as common as you think. Those stories you read about protesting parents is usually because a parent of a PA child is being too demanding, it's easy to become too overprotective, this is a life/death allergy and it's scary! Schools are required by federal law to keep your child safe and provide him/her with a good education. It's also important to teach your child to be their own advocate. It's hard telling your child what the consequences of a reaction is, but there are wonderful resources available on this website and others to help you teach him/her how to be safe. My son is touch sensitive, but I have not requested a ban on peanut/tree nut products in the school. That's simply not fair to the other students. He has a nut-free table at lunch, a nut-free classroom, the students wash their hands after lunch, and I have taught him to not touch any surfaces (such as water fountains) outside his safe zone, but if he has to, to clean the area with sanatizing wipes he carries with him at all times first. He also carries two epi-pens with him at all times and does not eat anything not prepared at home. This is not full-proof by any means and it is a lot of responsiblity for him, but it's my job to teach him to live in a world that is dangerous and because he's done this pretty much his whole life, it's normal for him. It's scary letting our children out of our nut-free homes, but it is possible to keep them safe and most people want to help :)

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By Spoedig on Mon, 09-09-13, 12:26

Sadly, people trash everyone on all topics now. Recently the mother of an autistic child received a letter suggesting he be euthanized since he had no worth. I have a child with autism and a child with peanut/treenut/latex allergies. I don't do much online because it does get upsetting. Also, my friends were not other parents in the schools really. I have been very fortunate with schools and other areas of life. My personal experience has been having the problems with parents (ok the moms) of other peanut allergic children. Either they are way over the top or oblivious. Unfortunately both these types make it hard for the "responsible and reasonable" parents/all children. It is appalling that people put their "needs" over the safety of our children. Thankfully, there are some people that know nothing about any allergies and are more than willing to help.

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