Food Allergies for Dummies

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 5:33am
gotmilk's picture
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I am fortunate enough to be part of our school districts wellness committee. I have been asked about what should be done for different types of allergies. Things like; Bananas, tomato, walnuts, pecans, watermelon, chocolate syrup. How would we begin to sort through allergies versus intolerances? Does a list exist somewhere? I am so confused I have someone with a "Jell-O and caulifower allergy". I have never heard of such a thing.

PLEASE HELP...

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 5:55am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

I think the first step would be to differentiate between life-threatening allergies and other allergies/intolerances/religious food preferences, etc.
When parents enroll their children, they should fill out a form explaining any medical issues their child has. For instance, if the child has a prescription for an epipen, I would assume this is a life-threatening allergy.
For life-threatening allergies there should be procedures for avoidance of the allergen(s) and an emergency protocol for reactions.
If other food allergies/intolerances/religious food preferences are a big issue at your school, I would encourage them to consider not having food in the classrooms at all. That is the safest, easiest and fairest method of dealing with the problem. It is also the healthiest since childhood obesity is becoming a problem. Eliminating food rewards and party food will prevent these activities and their associated cleanup from "eating" away at precious instructional minutes.
Take this golden opportunity to make a difference for all kids on special diets whether they have diabetes, allergies, intolerances or must avoid foods due to their religious beliefs, they don't want to be left out!
Cathy
------------------
Mom to 6 1/2 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 7:12am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by gotmilk:
[b] How would we begin to sort through allergies versus intolerances? [/b]
I don't think you need to separate those two. Both are serious health risks. Some intolerances can cause severe pain, sometimes symptoms can last days.
You do need to separate health - religious - I don't like it.
For health (allergy or intolerance) a form from a doctor should be required. For religious, I would think getting the info. from the parents would be sufficient. (It still needs to be fully respected that the child does not ever eat that particular food, but the difference is that trace amounts are not a risk.)
As for the *I don't like it* people. Well - to bad for them. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 7:19am
Momcat's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by AnnaMarie:
[b] It still needs to be fully respected that the child does not ever eat that particular food, but the difference is that trace amounts are not a risk.[/b]
I'm not sure that trace amounts are considered ok. I'm thinking of Kosher law for example. Are vegans ok with traces of animal products?
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited February 01, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 7:50am
gvmom's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

[b]Are vegans ok with traces of animal products?[/b]
Were you being rhetorical? If you weren't I am gonna answer no, they aren't okay with traces (or shouldn't be - that would be contrary to the philosophy). I think though, that while it is important to observe religious & dietary & other personal reasons for food restrictions -- sometimes there is only so much that can be done. Get food allergies taken care of first -- since that is a life & death issue. I would also say that I would find intolerances to be just as important if they fall into the category similar to lactose intolerance. Having diarrhea from milk due to an intolerance (for example) would be something I think should be avoided as well. Intolerance that won't kill someone, or make them ill, would be last on my list -- not out of inconsiderateness, but just as to where I'd start and proceed through my list.

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 8:24am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I think the comment on traces means the difference between one of our kids contacting a smear of peanut butter on a table versus a vegan sitting next to their friend with a baloney sandwich. The vegan probably wouldn't have problems from invisible baloney residue, which we all know does not hold true for peanut residue. As well as the milk allergic individual who would go into anaphylaxis if milk spilled on them versus the lactose intolerant individual who gets diarrhea from ingestion of milk.
Most of the issues are as simple as kids only eating what they bring from home, and making the group reward type events activity based instead of food based. This would eliminate the differences in religious, cultural, health as well as economic status of kids.

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 8:38am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by hblmom:
[b]Most of the issues are as simple as kids only eating what they bring from home, and making the group reward type events activity based instead of food based. This would eliminate the differences in religious, cultural, health as well as economic status of kids.[/b]
I agree. This reminds me a thread started by momma2boys about the legal rights of feeding children:
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum22/HTML/002417.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum22/HTML/002417.html[/url]

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 9:40am
Momcat's picture
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This is very interesting since our district's health advisory committee is discussing how to address food allergies. One issue that came up is that many of the "allergies" that parents report on the school forms are not true allergies at all. However, there is no other space to fill in foods that must/should be avoided. So everything is lumped in together. Should we prioritize these somehow? Change the forms to allow people to give more specific information?
How would you prioritize these in terms of urgency for the school to deal with?
1. Life-threatening food allergies/intolerances
2. Other allergies/intolerances with a medical diagnosis
3. Allergies/intolerances with no medical diagnosis
4. Religious/philosophical food restrictions
I think all of these need to be taken seriously, but an issue at our district is the time-frame for generating health plans for students. They need to know what to deal with first.

Posted on: Wed, 02/01/2006 - 11:46pm
gotmilk's picture
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You hit the nail on the head Momcat! That puts it into perspective. See the problem is that teachers, principals, etc. dont really know the difference. We need to seperate then prioritize AND THEN EDUCATE!!! I think the life threating allergies may finally get the respect they deserve. I am not belittling other type allergic reactions, but some educators seem to be putting them all under one umbrella and causing the PA parent to be steriotyped with the parent who claims the child cant eat broccolli because he REALLY doesent like it and will make himself throw up. I think this is a big part of the problem.

Posted on: Thu, 02/02/2006 - 12:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by Momcat:
[b] So everything is lumped in together. Should we prioritize these somehow? Change the forms to allow people to give more specific information?
[/b]
Every September I get a LOAD of forms to fill out for school. They do separate health from religious from choices. By *choices* I do mean things like vegetarian or vegan. School b-b-q has a vegetarian selection (not sure if it's vegan).
If I can find a copy of any of the forms I'll let you know.

Posted on: Thu, 02/02/2006 - 2:23am
Momcat's picture
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AnnaMarie,
Examples of forms that work would be very helpful! Our district also has us fill out loads of forms, but they are poorly designed and it is difficult to convey any actual information...
Cathy

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