calling it an allergy when it isn\'t....

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 5:59am
MayaLily's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/01/2004 - 09:00

My daughter is 4 and is in preschool. There are 3 other PA children in her class of 15. I was originally told that there were quite a few students with various food allergies (wheat, soy, dairy) and that is why the parents had to send in snacks for their own children...and why they couldn't make it a peanut free room anymore.

Well, come to find out, the only true allergies in the class are the peanut allergies. The others are food restrictions because they are autistic, and it is thought that avoidance of certain foods helps with behavior, etc. I'm not criticizing this at all, I know next to nothing about autism, and my question is not about the food avoidance, but with calling it an allergy.

I'm curious what you think about this. Does calling a non-allergy food restriction an allergy undermine the understanding of true food allergies? Does using the label lend more credibility to the food avoidance? Am I way off base by being a bit unsettled by this?

kristen

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 6:09am
jtolpin's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

I only know a bit of the autism spread, as I read a bit on it in the last yr.
It seems a gluten free/casein free (GFCF) diet helps with behaviour problems.
Therefore, in that instance, I would call it an allergy (as consuming those products would cause an issue. An issue being 'behaviour related').
I would take that as part of the 'allergy' march, if you will.
Jason

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 6:15am
new2PA's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/18/2003 - 09:00

Not knowing alot about allergies myself, I do know that "some people" refer to any type of "food intolreances" as an allergy; I think there has been a discussion about that on here before. I do think that tossing the "allergy" term around too loosely will cause it to not be taken so seriously.
However, I do think the are contradicting themselves over the allergy issue. "That's why parents have to send in their own snacks and why they can't make it a peanut free class anymore" .??? So because there is (alleged) food allergies in the class room, they cant make it peanut free? [i]What???[/i].
They cant keep one of the top allergens out of the class because people are allergic to it? I understand what they are "probably" trying to say, that b/c parents have to send in their own snacks, they (the school) cant make it a PN free classroom, which we all know is not true.
It would seem that b/c of the allergies (and I guess this is the case everywhere) that it would be easier to make it a PN free classroom.
I know it isnt always feasbile to make classrooms PN free, but it seems like they are just trying to take the easy way out.

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 6:27am
Dunpun's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/26/2004 - 09:00

I do not think this calling of sensitivities as allergies undermines peanut allergy. I do, however, think it would be unacceptable for me to have my ds in a non-peanut free room. My ds is very sensitive to many foods he cannot eat, but they won't kill him like a peanut may. It is important to me that he not eat the foods he is sensitive to as I'm sure it is important for these parents. But, why do they feel the need to include nuts into the bringing your own snack? I do refer to my son's sensitivities as allergies because he simply cannot eat them without major behaviour problems. I don't think I'm making his peanut allergy seem less severe by doing so. Hopefully something can be worked out here so your dc is safe at school.
Linda
[This message has been edited by Dunpun (edited September 27, 2004).]

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 6:30am
Sarahfran's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/08/2000 - 09:00

It's true that many children with autism spectrum disorders are helped enormously by dietary restrictions--it can help their behavior as well as their health (as many of these children have problems with recurrent infections, digestive disorders, etc.). There is actually some debate as to weather or not this constitutes an allergy--it's a bit more than an intolerance, as the foods affect more than just digestion--but it's clearly not a traditional allergy where the person has an IgE response to the food. It may, however, be an IgG or an IgA response--something that is less immediately noticeable than an IgE response but is truly an immune response and therefore an allergy. So calling it an allergy might be accurate, although the research hasn't been done to prove this.
But the bigger question is one of general understanding. People know what allergies are, they know that exposure to allergens cause a physical response, and they respect that. People are more skeptical of foods affecting behavior, so calling something that may technically NOT be an allergy an allergy for the sake of understanding is common and not necessarily detrimental to those who really do have allergies in this case (I have more of a problem with people who are lactose intolerant calling it a dairy allergy).
As an example: I have a sister with a very rare disease called xerodermapigmentosum (XP) [url="http://www.xps.org/."]http://www.xps.org/.[/url] Simply put, she is unable to tolerate UV light; the larger picture is that she has a degenerative nervous system disorder that will probably eventually kill her. The sunlight thing, as it turns out, is just a small part of it. But when we were kids and had to explain my sister's disease, we told people that she was allergic to the sun. She wasn't really, not by any standards, but it made adults and children alike understand her restrictions--no playing outside before sunset, no uncovered UV lights in the classroom, etc. It was a simple explanation for a complex disease. Autism is a lot like that, especially since no one really knows what causes it and why dietary changes can help some people but not others, so when faced with the daunting task of trying to explain why your child can't eat certain things, it's a lot easier to go with the allergy explanation.
I hope this helps!
Sarah
(edited to correct spelling)
[This message has been edited by Sarahfran (edited September 30, 2004).]

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 6:51am
MayaLily's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/01/2004 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by new2PA:
[b]However, I do think the are contradicting themselves over the allergy issue. "That's why parents have to send in their own snacks and why they can't make it a peanut free class anymore" .??? So because there is (alleged) food allergies in the class room, they cant make it peanut free? [i]What???[/i].
They cant keep one of the top allergens out of the class because people are allergic to it? I understand what they are "probably" trying to say, that b/c parents have to send in their own snacks, they (the school) cant make it a PN free classroom, which we all know is not true.
I know it isnt always feasbile to make classrooms PN free, but it seems like they are just trying to take the easy way out. [/b]
What they actually said was that because of the multiple allergies, they couldn't ban peanut butter from the classroom because that's what some of the kids can only eat.
I don't like it, but the teachers are very careful when one of the kids brings in peanut butter. They're going to send home a class list, and my husband wants to call each of the parents to request they don't send peanut butter in.
kristen

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 6:56am
MayaLily's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/01/2004 - 09:00

Thanks for the perspective...it was just something that kept swirling around my head, and I was curious about others' opinions on the matter.
kristen [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 7:27am
gw_mom3's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/14/2000 - 09:00

this actually bugs me. There's a lady on one of my weight watcher lists that told a restaurant she was allergic to oil so they wouldn't put it on her food.
------------------
==============
[b]~Gale~[/b]

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 11:15am
Scooby's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/09/2000 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Sarahfran:
[b]
(I have more of a problem with people who are lactose intolerate calling it a dairy allergy).
Sarah[/b]
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me about Lactaid when discussing my son's milk allergy, I could be a very rich woman. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 1:30pm
becca's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

My neice was lactose intolerant and the line was always that she was alleric to milk. It was easy for her to comprehend as a young child, easy to say, and taken very seriously by all. I would never question it since consuming milk did indeed make her very ill. She was also truly allergic to chocolate. Has since outgrown both. Ihope the outgrowing is in dd's genes!
I think if it keeps others from feeding a child the wrong food, use whatever language is needed. Many allergies are not anaphylactic and are rather minor when comared with some intolerances. It is splitting hairs in some ways. becca

Posted on: Mon, 09/27/2004 - 3:01pm
smartalyk's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/20/2004 - 09:00

I have never had an allergy test, but I do consider that I have many allergies... chocolate, processed meat and aged cheese cause instant severe migraines (even trace amounts)... mushrooms give me a rash on my cheeks, and eating fish makes me violently ill (probably a true allergy).
Even though I consider these my allergies, when speaking to others I usually say, "I cannot have ________" but occasionally at restaurants I say that I have allergies, because I really don't want to have an adverse reaction and they don't take me seriously otherwise. The other day I had a waitress who refused to check if the roast beef had nitrite (the perservative used in processed meats)... so I had to order a salad. Guess where I won't be eating again anytime soon? (PA son was not with me, I was with my co-workers).
I understand where you are coming from though. There are alot of people who don't understand PA because their idea of an allergy is a runny nose and congestion (give some Benadryl and all should be fine). That is why I always use the term "life threatening allergy" when speaking of my son's PA. It seems to get people's attention more than the word "severe". Severe to them might mean stomach aches or hives.
Peanut butter is NEVER all that a child can eat, even if it is all that child WANTS to eat. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Try carrot sticks or an apple, for goodness sakes. I hope you get it worked out. I would be so nervous if my son was around peanut butter continually. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Pages

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

Click on one of the categories below to see all topics and discussions.

Latest Discussions

Latest Post by agrohimacn Tue, 02/25/2020 - 1:25pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by krisztina Thu, 02/20/2020 - 4:49pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by chicken Thu, 02/20/2020 - 4:45pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by lexy Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:21am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by JRM20 Sun, 01/26/2020 - 11:15am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by JRM20 Sun, 01/26/2020 - 11:11am
Comments: 5
Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 11:03am
Comments: 10
Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:52am
Comments: 2

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

If children begin to eat many different foods at a young age, there is much more of a chance that by the time they are in school, they will eat...

Those with peanut allergies often find that they are unable to enjoy dessert since there's always the...

If you've ever tried to find...

For those with peanut allergies, baked goods present a serious risk. Many baked goods do not appear to contain peanuts, yet were baked in a...

Those who have peanut allergies know to avoid peanut butter cookies, of course – but what about other...

Which candy bars are safe for those with peanut allergies? Those without allergies are accustomed to...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

For those who have wondered whether airport x-ray machines negatively affect epinephrine auto-injectors, the folks at Food Allergy Research &...

Molecular allergy component testing identifies the specific food or environmental proteins triggering a person’s allergic reactions. Component...

An epinephrine auto-injector provides an emergency dose of epinephrine (adrenaline) to treat life-threatening allergic reactions. Those who have...

Misunderstanding the significance of food allergy test results can lead to unnecessary anxiety and dietary changes. The three tests used most...

It can be easy to overlook the presence of nut allergens in non-food items because the allergens are often listed by their Latin or scientific...

Tree nuts and peanuts are distinctly different. An allergy to one does not guarantee an allergy to the other. Peanuts are considered legumes and...

Welcome to the complex world of being a Peanut Allergy Parent. Get ready to proofread food labels, get creative with meals, and constantly hold an...

Take control of your food allergies! Get results in ten days and change your life forever! If you are tempted to use a home testing kit...

What can you eat if you can't eat peanut butter? Fortunately for people with a peanut allergy, there...

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one out of five people in the U.S. has an allergy. Because there is a...

Eliminating peanut butter is the best way to handle a rash caused by this food

If your baby or toddler develops a rash caused by peanut...

Nearly all infants are fussy at times. But how do you know when your baby's crying means something wrong? Some babies are excessively fussy...

For those who don't have experience with peanut allergies, going 'peanut-free' often seems as easy as avoiding peanut butter sandwiches and bags...