eye opening experience at the library


Yesterday I took my kids to the library after school. There is an area in front where you can buy snacks and sit at tables to eat them. This is a volunteer run thing which raises money for the library. I bought my kids juice boxes, go-gurts and plain (safe) rice krispie treats. Anyhow, a woman came over to the next table with a big bag of pistachios she had brought from home. She proceeded to pour them on the bare table and crack them, then hand them to her kids. This went on for some time. I figured this was a good learning experience for my daughter and "discreetly" [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] pointed out that this was an important reason for her never to eat food directly off of a table: you never know what someone else was eating before you. When she was done, she brushed the debris off the table with her hand, and all three of them proceeded into the library and began handling many books in the children's section without (of course) washing their hands. This was eye opening for me for many reasons: For one thing, it really pointed out that this woman (and probably many if not most others) had absolutely no clue that she was endangering anyone with her behavior. It also made me realize that it is probably nearly impossible to avoid contact with nut/peanut residue. The positive thing is that Leah has never had a mystery reaction or a known contact reaction. So, in a way it actually makes me less fearful of Leah being around people eating nuts. Just another episode in living with pa and tna. Cheers, Miriam

On Sep 6, 2002

Isn't it amazing how so many things that people just do bring so much stress to our lives. I'm glad your daughter didn't have a reaction. My son will be 3 next month and loves books. I have taken him to the library several times but we never bring anything home for fear of there being residue on a book.

I know that there is probably peanut residue on so many things that I don't know about that my son touches. My problem is that when I see someone eating peanuts or something containing peanuts I panic. If I am at the grocery store and I get in line and I see that someone in front of me has peanuts or peanut butter I will get in another line. I wish I could get out of this at least for my son's sake because I don't want him to be this paranoid. Your story helps a little because like you said what we see is probably only a small portion of what is out there.

On Sep 9, 2002

I hope that most parents of food allergic children will not keep their children away from libraries and library books. I have always taught my son that he must wash his hands before eating and this is the risk reduction strategy that we use to reduce his risk with library books. I want to teach him that the world is his to enjoy if he takes the proper precautions to reduce the risks. In 8 years we have had no problems and he has had library books often since he was born.

On Sep 9, 2002

Kathryn, I agree with you 100%. I hope that nothing in my original post made you think I felt any differently. I actually have a pretty wide comfort zone and I don't think that Leah's allergies have prevented us from doing much of anything. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

On Sep 9, 2002

I'd like to just add a little perspective to the library subject. I used to work in a library, shelving books, among other things. If you really think about it, library books are likely to be contaminated by a lot of scary things. People take books into the bathroom to read while they are biding their time on the toilet. People read books while eating. I remember my father sitting at breakfast with a piece of peanut butter toast in one hand and a book in the other. And people tend to gravitate toward books when they don't feel well and are confined to home.

My point is that we have little control over what might be on those books. But don't let that stop you from living. When we got in books that looked dirty, we cleaned the covers with window cleaner.

All that said, I still let Patricia go to the library and get books. The chance of her picking up a book with peanut residue is slim. Around here, eating is not allowed at the library. And since she doesn't put the books in her mouth, and we wash thoroughly after a trip to the library, we don't worry.

Besides, she has a greater chance of encountering peanut residue on the grocery carts than the library book, IMO.