A bit extreme? My opinion on how allergies should be approached.

Posted on: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 12:18pm
OriJuice's picture
Joined: 03/04/2008 - 10:50

Disclaimer: Before you read this, know the views here probably differ from your own. And I will be telling a very brutal truth that nobody wants to hear/imagine. And that in no way am I trying to anger or capitalize on anyone, but instead am just voicing my opinion on what I think should be done to educate people.

Direct and Social action, I have mentioned this before on the forums. Direct action is scapegoating the problem to another time. It is delaying the issue until a later date. Social action is finding a long term solution to aid in the matter. What the subject of PA needs is Social Action, no longer should kids be subjugated into sitting inside during lunch, in their classrooms or at their own tables. But instead a reformation is needed to educate EVERYONE about Peanut Allergies, serious or not. Only then will a real solution be found.

First a note to the people of the forum: (This is in regards to death, if you don't want to read then please do not).

People die, it happens and it's unfortunate. Every day children die from hunger or what have you. Your children or you have a similar issue. you or your child can die from eating a peanut. In my honest and bias opinion I believe this needs to be noted, that a lot of people with PA do have reactions in their lifetime. And generally this happens when they are very young, for the unfortunate ones it reoccurs in the future. Parents I can not stress this enough!! Your child will always carry that risk of dying, no amount of safeguards and epipens can stop that risk from being there. The only way you can escape the risk completely is by not feeding your child and putting them in a bubble, which I would hope is out of the question.

Now call me extreme, but people need to know about this in the most brutal fashion possible. Todays society is to desensitized to care, they need to either see first hand or be really understanding. Telling most people a child can die from eating a peanut for the most part will not do much, pictures on the other hand will. I am sure you can find pictures all over the internet of people in hospitals or even tell them first hand accounts of what happens to someone who ingests a peanut. Be detailed, descriptive and let them know what can happen. Do not sugarcoat anything, but be brutal towards them.

Secondly, I am aware a lot of parents here pride themselves in saying they got peanut free tables for their child. Kudo's bravo, congrats. What else are you doing? Are you educating all the staff of the school? Are you educating the parents completely? Are you holding seminars and meetings in the school regarding the peanut allergy? If you responded no to those, then you are not doing the right thing. You are scapegoating a problem and teaching your child that they will be taken care of, instead of teaching them that they need to take care of themselves. I realize that this is a VERY hard thing to do, but you don't need an exceptionally bright child, see? I can be the first to admit that I set a milestone for stupid as far as school goes. I am not an honor student, nor am I exceptionally good. But I understand the difference between life and death; which I am willing to bet 99 percent of children over the age of 3 know about.

A child isn't as helpless as many people are lead to believe. A peanut allergy is pretty black and white, you eat the peanut you die, you don't eat it you don't die. Any kid, and I stress this. ANY kid can figure that out. A kid takes a fish out of the fish tank and the fish dies after flopping around. The child will realize they ended a life once that is explained to them. That is how simple it is to children, they take things very literally. And because of this they learn very quickly and they learn very well. Their comprehension of the subject of life and death is pretty good, seeing as how the subject itself is easy to understand.

So, your child is aware of life and death, they know if they eat anything that you have not given them that they could die, you have made them understand this. And thus they do not eat what they do not know. But what about contact allergies? What if a child touches a table with peanut butter on their hands and then sneezes, getting peanut butter in their mouth? In all honesty, you are fooling yourself if you think that any amount of supervision can stop that. All it takes is a trace amount, a small bit even a hawk couldn't see. It's all about chance and luck, hoping that doesn't happen. No amount of supervision can take away from that risk. The biggest thing you can do is get peanut butter and peanut related foods banned from the schools (Serious kudo's to you if you could do that).

So basically, to sum this all up. No you can't protect your child despite what you think, you are helping a little bit but in the end it's not a long term solution. What you should be doing instead is striving to find that long term solution instead of arguing with schools about peanut free tables.


PS: Sorry to those I may have offended and/or disagreed with. But I was raised with that understanding and have lived with PA my entire life. Where I am coming from is my own opinion and from my point of view as someone with an allergy. I don't nesc need your, or even want you to agree with me. I just would like you to think about this small rant and ask yourself "Am I doing enough?"

Posted on: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 3:03pm
lilpig99's picture
Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00


Posted on: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 5:08pm
OriJuice's picture
Joined: 03/04/2008 - 10:50

If you are going to post stupid stuff, do me and a favor and don't waste my time by not posting at all, alright?

Posted on: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 9:48pm
pfmom2's picture
Joined: 01/22/2006 - 09:00

I respect your opinion as someone who has lived his whole life with peanut allergy. For myself, I can answer some of this. My child absolutely knows what can happen with regards to life/death question. My child is very responsible for the young age my child is. I have educated everyone possible at the schools. And trust me this hasn't been easy as I have been screamed at by those who do not get this, but that which does not break us only makes us stronger.
Edited to say life/death issue is a personal decision for a parent to decide when a child should be told this, or what the parents beliefs are/ some children might become to anxiety ridden if told too early, etc., so not always a black and white issue either.
You have to respect us as parents on this forum because we are here trying to talk to others to help us educate everyone who takes care of our children from daycare workers to school staff. And yes, ultimately we have to teach our children to care for themselves.
Ask your parents how hard it was to get a call from the schools not knowing what that phone call might be? Maybe try to see it from your parents view too.
Here in the states (maybe Canada too and elsewhere) the issue of dealing with schools, doctors, insurance companies, manufacturers is not black and white because everyone worries to cover themselves. And yes I agree society everywhere seems to be desensitized and that is why we strive to protect our children regardless of it's a peanut allergy or any other thing we must protect our children for in today's society.

Posted on: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 12:10am
SkyMom's picture
Joined: 10/27/2001 - 09:00

Orijuice I just wanted to add that I don't feel any one's post should be ridiculed. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that makes a community stronger not weaker.
My dd has known from a young age the consequences for her allergies. I don't leave any room for misinterpretation between my dd and myself. She knows exactly what my views are, however, she is very mature for her age and I believe she handles this information appropriately. I also can be brutally honest with others if I feel they are not taking my dd's allergies seriously, but only if warranted. I cannot get over when people would be so careless when it could come to a life and I call them on that.

Posted on: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 12:43am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

In your [i]brutal[/i] truth, you want so badly to prove something to us, that:
1. kids die
2. people don't care
3. we need to educate
Wow. Novel.
I don't call you extreme, I call you [i]ignorant[/i]. And I don't mean it in a nasty way, just matter of fact. You clearly have no personal experience in this subject matter for you speak as if you have no children. You don't correct? How do I know? Because you approach egotistical in assuming we aren't doing the *right* thing as you say. To call accomodations that provide even a sliver of safety 'direct actions' and label [i]them[/i] as the perpetrator of a universally awry food allergy perception. Wha? Frankly, that makes no sense and is indicative of your naivity of sending a child through the school system.
Funny, I thought I knew what love was before having children, but the world becomes a different place once you have a child in it. You obviously have not sat in a car or ambulance rushing the greatest love of your life to the hospital, praying they do not die before getting there. Um, [i]we[/i] know kids die. We know of the reality of that as parents, in a way that someone without children will never understand. The lengths gone to protect them while they are not in your care is nothing short of [i]fierce[/i]. These are the "direct actions" that in one breath you refer to as scapegoating (?), and the next breath you offer kudos for.
Then there's this tidbit: [i][b]Any kid, and I stress this. ANY kid can figure that out.[/b][/i] Well then again, spoken like someone who has no understanding of the reasoning ability of a 3 year old (or lack thereof). [i]Pats own child on top of head and sends off to school with a "Good luck Johnny, I hope you don't die at school today."[/i]
And this: [b]That is how simple it is to children, they take things very literally. And because of this they learn very quickly and they learn very well. Their comprehension of the subject of life and death is pretty good, seeing as how the subject itself is easy to understand.[/b] This is hilarious, [i]truly[/i].
Sorry if this offends you, but after reading your post, I'd like to know how I can go about getting the last five minutes of my life back.
And that's how I feel about your post, as [i]brutal[/i] as it may be.

Posted on: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 2:05am
lakeswimr's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007 - 09:00

I don't have food allergies but my son does. I spend a huge amount of time reading, learning, thinking about, etc food allergies and also time advocating for the rights of those with food allergies.
I worked with my son's school for about 6 months to get the accommodations he has. They do *NOT* include a peanut-free school. My son's school does have peanuts. It also has his other allergens--dairy, eggs, nuts and sesame. Sesame is as potent as peanuts and not required to be labeled in the USA so I consider it *more* serious than peanut allergy. His classroom itself is food allergy-free. I feel his plan is comprehensive and is as safe as I could get. If I had pushed for peanut-free I would have angered the administration and the other parents and I am sure I would have *LESS* accommodations than we do. And DS's other allergens, including sesame, would still be there so it would probably create a false sense of security in some. I hate that phrase but for us that might happen with a peanut ban because all it would do is reduce the amount of food residue in his school of *one* of his 5 food allergens and wouldn't cover how to prevent him from contact with the peanuts that would be brought in by mistake and with the eggs, dairy, nuts and sesame that wouldn't be banned. You know?
So, there isn't a one size fits all method of this. We do what we think is right.
I can see this is a very emotional issue for you and I wish you all the best and safety.
I hope you are not living in fear all the time but feel reasonably safe.
You are right that one might touch and allergen and then touch eyes, nose or mouth and have a reaction but all we can do is try to minimize exposure to food residue and teach our children to avoid touching their faces and to use wipes/wash hands frequently. I can't make the world allergy-free for him. Our home is 99.99999% allergy-free. That's the best I can do.
Best wishes!

Posted on: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 9:57am
Ivycosmo's picture
Joined: 09/18/2007 - 09:00

I thought I would be angry after reading your post, but I just feel sorry.
I respect your opinion, but as another parent pointed out, these kids are more important to us than anything in this world, therefor we will keep on doing what we are doing until there is a cure. And that is simply trudging along every day, hoping and praying that we have done/said enough to keep our kids alive just one more day.
It is not simply a case of 'oh well, I've done my best, so let's hope little Johnny lives another day'. No way. We will do whatever we have to in order to keep these kids safe. If they had cancer, should we say 'Oh well, let's just see if he makes it.' ? No, we would not. This is no different. Potential death is potential death, no matter what form it takes on.

Posted on: Sun, 03/16/2008 - 2:00am
niche's picture
Joined: 02/05/2007 - 09:00

"What you should be doing instead is striving to find that long term solution instead of arguing with schools about peanut free tables.
I respect your opinion, however I would like to say for all the moms here we are all doing our very best and I am proud of all the work we all do everyday.
Here is what I personally am doing this week:
This week I spoke to the district nurse I am going to work with her to try and improve our district's food allergy policy. I gathered research and examples for them to start with.
I am also co-chair on our area's FAAN walk. You might know but they fund education and research in regard to food allergies.
In addition to working with my son's district I will soon be working with his school and yes I plan on speaking to everyone and no I don't sugar coat it.
In the past I have given a presentation to 50 montesori teachers.
In the future I plan on attending the FAI annual dinner they raise money for reseach.
Do I do a million things I am not going to bother to point out here yes. Will I do more yes as soon as I think of it I will. There is nothing I wouldn't do to protect my son. Even if he is mad at me latter for it - If I think it will help keep him alive I will do it.

Posted on: Sun, 03/16/2008 - 4:08am
Greenlady's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

Hi Kyle -
Thank you very much for your post - I think some of the folks who replied don't realize that you are an 18 year old with PA who has had to deal with the isolation of eating separately during the early years and then thrown into a free-for-all in high school.
I think your perspective is very valuable to us parents who are trying to find a balance between keeping our kids safe and letting them live a normal life - and learn to take care of themselves. No, you are not a parent and can't understand how hard it is for us, but then we're not kids with PA either. As parents, it's good to be reminded of that fact.
Right now, a peanut-free table is the right decision for my son. (He's in third grade). He is not isolated - in fact for some reason his table is one of the popular ones. He does understand how to take care of himself - he had to confront a bully in first grade who put a peanut in his lunch because he didn't like my son and wanted him to die. I do what I can to protect him, but there is no doubt he is on the front line for dealing with his allergy.
Please don't let the reactions here stop you from posting more.

Posted on: Mon, 03/17/2008 - 2:52am
kandebuttahfly's picture
Joined: 12/27/2007 - 17:08

heres my 2 cents worth. i have plenty of respect for orijuice, having lived with this his whole life. its hard, i have no doubt in my mind about it. i developed PA when i was 6 months pregnant with my PA son (i do not have any FAs now that my son has been born). i had a bunch of minor reactions until i figured out what i was reacting to, and then i had 2 serious reactions, both requiring an epi, one at 7 1/2 months and one at 8 months pregnant. that was the scariest feeling of my entire life to that point. i honestly thought i was going to die. i knew my baby was big enough that even if something did happen to me, they could take him, and he would live, but those few minutes where i thought i was going to die were truly HORRIFYING. to think that i would miss my childs life, etc.
AND THEN i had my son. at 2 1/2 months old he had his first serious reaction. and let me tell you what... what i experienced when it was happening to me was NOTHING like the heart-wrenching TERROR of watching it happen to your child. and many people have already said it, but you truly will have no idea what it feels like until you have a child of your own. i tried to come up with an example of how much worse it is to watch it happen to your child than it is to happen to you, and i honestly cant think of a single thing to compare it to.
and heres my final comment - whats good for one isnt necessarily best for another. we all have to do whats right for us. each person here has their own comfort zone, and not everyone is going to fit into the same zone. but we each go about our day the best we can, without making ourselves crazy!
ps- niche, if you read this, is there any way you could contact me if/when you have a few moments, i have a few ?s for you about everything you are doing, but would be somewhat OT for the thread/board. my email is [email]princess_steffie@yahoo.com[/email] if you wouldnt mind, i would really appreciate it!


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