Parents and Kids article

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Fabulous article (not written by a PA parent) in Parents and Kids, a free periodical here in the Boston area. [i][b]Very[/i][/b] supportive of the trials we have to go through to keep our children safe. Actual quote: "Which part of "no nuts" aren't we getting?" Uses the "loaded gun" and "bottle of poison" analogy with respect to a peanut butter sandwich. I want to hug this woman!

[url="http://www.townonline.com/parentsandkids/news/news/pak_feapkpeanuts01232004.htm"]www.townonline.com/parentsandkids/news/news/pak_feapkpeanuts01232004.htm[/url]

I can think of a few people I would like to send this to.

[This message has been edited by Kim M (edited January 26, 2004).]

On Jan 26, 2004

What an excellent article! This writer really understands allergies and all that goes with them. Hard to believe that she does not have allergic children herself. The article is so down-to-earth, with plain speaking without being offensive to the non-PA parent. Wow [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

On Jan 26, 2004

I found this for her contact info - I just wrote her a quick thank-you: [url="http://www.writers.net/writers/24300"]http://www.writers.net/writers/24300[/url] Katherine Waters-Clark Winchester, Massachusetts, United States Email: [email]waterswriting@aol.com[/email]

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: Yes

------------------ Jana

[url="http://www.seattlefoodallergy.org"]www.seattlefoodallergy.org[/url]

On Jan 26, 2004

Well, the above e-mail bounced for the author [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

------------------ Jana

[url="http://www.seattlefoodallergy.org"]www.seattlefoodallergy.org[/url]

On Jan 26, 2004

I wish my son's kindergarten class was filled with children of parents like her. I sent her a "thank you" also. So nice to read an article by someone on our side !

On Jan 26, 2004

Kim, thank you. It is a great article. What a compassionate woman. If only everyone felt like she does.

On Jan 26, 2004

The reality of nut allergies

By Katherine Waters-Clark Friday, January 23, 2004

My non-allergic daughter runs around the playground with her buddies. This particular playground happens to be a 'no nut' zone. From where I stand, it's impossible to tell if any of her friends even have allergies to peanuts or tree nuts. On the outside, they're all just giggly kindergartners. Their parents have taught me otherwise.

Another parent is here with her non-allergic toddler. He clutches a chewy granola bar. I mention the "no nut" policy to the parent. I am met with a smile, a shrug and a glare. She rips the granola bar from her toddler's grip, sending him into fits as they leave.

This isn't the first time I've witnessed a non-allergic parent "sneaking" nuts in a nut-free play space and bristling when "caught." I've heard countless parents say, "Peanut butter's the only thing my child will eat -- what am I supposed to do?!" These reactions run rampant in the non-allergic community, leaving me wondering: which part of 'no nuts' don't we understand?

According to a recent study in the "Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology," nut and peanut allergies have doubled over the past five years. Only a few years ago, author and allergist Dr. Michael Young "might have seen one or two patients a month with peanut allergies; I now often see more than one or two patients a week." Food allergies are affecting more than 5 percent of our families.

This diagnosis leaves these families terrified for the daily safety of their child. "For us," says one parent, "getting over the fear was the hardest part." Another says, "It's frightening to think that something so harmless could in an instant end your child's life."

Author Lisa Cipriano Collins states that the emotional impact of such an alarming diagnoses is enormous for both parents and children. As the mother of a severely allergic child, Collins recalls that the news of her own son's lethal allergies was "shocking." She describes the anxiety of it as being "an undercurrent that affected every aspect of our lives."

Parents of severely allergic children live with an incredible amount of stress. In fact, according to Collins, "the foremost emotion associated with food allergies is stress." One parent reports that her 6-year-old boy cries sometimes, wishing he could be "like everybody else." Another five year old recently asked his dad, "What do I do if my throat closes up and I can't tell someone I'm having an allergic reaction?" Another girl is "embarrassed by her allergy" and won't talk about it at school.

Even more formidable than the emotional aspects of living with this lethal allergy are the strict logistics of daily living. Here's what the severely allergic family's "To Do" list might look like:

[list][*]Assure worried child that you will keep them safe and that they will not die.[/*:m][*]Assure self that child will be safe and will not die.[/*:m][*]Ban all nuts and nut products from our home.[/*:m][*]Read each and every food label for each and every morsel of food child eats.[/*:m][*]Alert friends, relatives, coaches, baby-sitters, teachers, bus drivers, parents, and food servers about child's allergy.[/*:m][*]Politely refuse all "unsafe" (i.e. nut-filled) play dates, birthday parties, outings, sleepovers, plane rides, school trips.[/*:m][*]Throughout each and every school year, meet with principals, school nurses, cafeteria staff. Send a letter home to parents.[/*:m][*]Be "on the lookout" for hidden peanuts and tree nuts.[/*:m][*]Never, ever leave home without epinephrine, rapid-acting antihistamine, emergency numbers, and directions to the nearest hospital.[/*:m][/list:u]

One parent sums it up perfectly: "Being vigilant is exhausting."

So... exactly what can happen if a severely allergic child is exposed to peanuts or tree nuts? A rash, a cough, or a welt? Actually, it's much, much worse. Exposure to peanuts or tree nuts could cause the onset of "anaphylaxis," the initial onset of which is sudden and without warning. Within seconds of exposure, there is a rapid reaction described by Dr. Young as "explosive." Simultaneously, the stomach cramps and projectile vomiting commences. Eyes swell. Breathing becomes raspy and shallow. The throat closes. There would be approximately two minutes to jam an Epinephrine pen into a child's leg and get to a hospital. Without emergency care, there would be loss of breathing, cardiovascular collapse, and death. All this can occur in as little as twenty minutes.

Once at the hospital, the child must be evaluated for two to three hours in case a second (bi-phasal) reaction occurs. "My son ate a tiny piece of walnut and started to react," recalls a parent. "Leaving my husband's uneaten birthday dinner behind, we raced to the hospital, fearing that our son's throat would close." A 12 year old remembers her reaction to one bite of candy with nuts in it. "Within seconds, my eyes rolled to the back of my head and I passed out. My mother was screaming and crying, I remember that, too. My mother's tears."

One mother was told she was "overreacting" when she refused to allow her allergic son's play date to be supervised by a baby-sitter. Another mother's best friend "rolls her eyes" when she reaches for her child's Epi pen, chiding "You're only going out for twenty minutes. What do you really think will happen?!" A substitute preschool teacher ate his peanut butter sandwich in a child's nut-free classroom, despite a 5-year-old child's protestations. A family attended a birthday party where the cake was 'nut-free' but "bowls of pistachios were served to the parents."

It goes without saying that any of us would stop a child from running into a busy road. None of us would hesitate to remove a bottle of poison from a child's grasp. A loaded gun within a child's reach is unthinkable. For children with severe nut allergies, a peanut butter sandwich is equally lethal. Yet there exists an overwhelming lack of support for families with severe peanut and tree nut allergies. Which part of 'no nuts' aren't we getting?

Here is a list of facts about this deadly allergy (excerpted from "The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) ([url]http://www.foodallergy.org[/url]) and The Peanut Allergy Answer Book"):

1.There is NO known cure for severe peanut and tree nut allergies.

2.Food avoidance is the ONLY way to prevent anaphylaxis.

3.A tiny crumb (1/5 of a peanut) can do as much damage as a whole portion.

4."Anaphylaxis" is explosive and can occur within seconds of contact with the offending food.

5.Epinephrine must be administered immediately (within minutes) to be effective. You cannot hurt a child by administering epinephrine. One injection lasts 15 to 20 minutes.

6.Nut proteins in jars of jam, marshmallows, on cutting boards and countertops can still affect an allergic child hours and days later.

7.Ingredients in formerly "safe" foods can change, rendering that food "unsafe."

8.Kick sacks, bean bags and door-draft blockers are sometimes filled with crushed nut shells.

9.Peanuts and tree nuts have been found in thousands of foods, drinks, and products, such as: chili, barbecue sauce, cereals, crackers, ice cream, gravy, hot chocolate, cakes, candy, potato chips, marzipan, chicken marinade, mortadella, natural and artificial flavorings, world cuisine, hand creams and ointments.

10.Certain foods may not "contain" nuts, but are produced on a machine that makes a nut product and are therefore dangerous.

With all these dangers lurking for the severely-allergic children among us, what can the non-allergic community do to help? If it were YOUR child, what would you want done?

Perhaps the non-allergic community would consider the following guidelines:

[list][*]Read the labels on the foods WE send to school or on play dates.[/*:m][*]If peanut butter and jelly is "all your child will eat," introduce them to a new, non-allergic food, especially on days when your child might come in contact with severely allergic friends.[/*:m][*]If you invite an allergic child to your home, make sure your house is clean![/*:m][*]If you do serve an allergic food to your family, thoroughly wipe hands and faces of your children.[/*:m][*]When you see nuts in a "no nut" space, be an advocate! Politely remind others that nuts are not allowed and that the food they have has nuts in it.[/*:m][/list:u] Parents of severely allergic must be vigilant. But they're also human and, like all of us, get tired. One parent admits to feeling awkward about bringing her child's allergy up all the time. Even after several years, "it takes a minute or so for me to get the courage to speak up and be diplomatic with what I am going to say." Another secretly wishes that her family "could have a more 'normal' life around food." A parent of a five year old appreciates when others "check in with me about allergy issues, so I don't have to be the one to bring it up."

Paramount for all parents is keeping our children safe. Parents of severely allergic children work much harder to accomplish this goal. Those of us in the non-allergic community are extremely fortunate to have non-allergic children. Let's use our common sense and be good neighbors. Let's work harder to understand what 'no nuts' really means.

Resources and References:

Caring for the Child with Severe Food Allergies by Lisa Cipriano Collins, M.A., M.F.T.

The Peanut Allergy Answer Book by Michael Young, M.D.

The Parent's Guide to Food Allergies by Marianne S. Barber

The Day Care and Preschool Guide to Managing Food Allergies (available from FAAN)

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network - FAAN ([url]http://www.foodallergy.org[/url])

Food Anaphylaxis Education ([url]http://www.faemi.org[/url])

Alexander, The Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts - video available from FAAN

Parents of Severely Allergic Children - all listed anonymously in this article

Symptoms of An Allergic Reaction (from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network):

- tingling sensation in the mouth

- swelling of the tongue and the throat

- difficulty breathing

- hives

- vomiting

- abdominal cramps

- diarrhea

- drop in blood pressure

- loss of consciousness

- death

What Are Tree Nuts?

Almonds

Brazil nuts

Cashews

Chestnuts

Filberts (hazelnuts)

Hickory nuts

Macadamia nuts

Pecans

Pine nuts (pinyon nuts)

Pistachios

Walnuts

Katherine Waters-Clark is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and fraternal twin daughters in Winchester.

On Jan 27, 2004

Bless her [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Geoff (Helen's hubby)

On Jan 27, 2004

Wow, she really gets it. How awesome! Wonderful article, and the fact that the parent of a non allergic child wrote it makes it even more credible for my friends and family.

On Jan 27, 2004

Truly a very good read!

Jason Caitlin 4-17-00 Allergic to Dairy, Egg, Wheat, Bananas, Grapes, Rye, Sesame, Beef, Garlic, Mustard, Onion, Peas and Avoiding Latex and all Nuts Sara 2-13-98 NKA (avoiding nuts) Meghan 2-28-03 dx'ed Reflux - Alimentum feeder, Zantac - 1.5ml 2x/day - RAST neg. for everything. [url="http://community.webshots.com/user/jtolpin"]http://community.webshots.com/user/jtolpin[/url]

On Jan 27, 2004

Wow!!! She really got it I was so touched I'm still crying.

On Jan 27, 2004

What a wonderful article! THANKS for posting it!

On Jan 27, 2004

Quote:

Originally posted by Kim M: [b] Actual quote: "Which part of "no nuts" aren't we getting?" Uses the "loaded gun" and "bottle of poison" analogy with respect to a peanut butter sandwich. I want to hug this woman!

[url="http://www.townonline.com/parentsandkids/news/news/pak_feapkpeanuts01232004.htm"]www.townonline.com/parentsandkids/news/news/pak_feapkpeanuts01232004.htm[/url]

[/b]

Yes, great "feel good" article. I enjoyed the read. I liked the perspective. Like I have always known, there are some very empathetic and compassionate persons "out there". Most People, IMPHO, basically "want to do the right thing". (I could be wrong) The question is: Do they have the tools or the "know how" to achieve it? If not, what is the next step? How big is the next step? Is everyone capable of taking that step?

Had to wonder tho........ when asked: "Which part of "no nuts" aren't we getting?"

I gotta ask myself: "About 'may contains' or 'homebaked goods'? (for example). [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

On Jan 27, 2004

Thanks for posting!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Amazing article!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

This is a great article to use to help educate others.

How about printing this one in your school newsletter...I just might suggest this one at our school...

On Jan 28, 2004

MB, I must be a cynic, but I believe a lot of people want to do the easy thing, or the right thing for THEMSELVES alone. Maybe I've been around the wrong people - but that is what it feels like to me!

On Jan 28, 2004

Thank you for posting this great article. I have forwarded it on to family members who just haven't gotten it yet. Maybe this will help me out more than just my lecturing.

Thanks!

------------------ Cher ~ Dougie 12/14/01

On Jan 28, 2004

Quote:

Originally posted by StaceyK: [b]MB, I must be a cynic, but I believe a lot of people want to do the easy thing, or the right thing for THEMSELVES alone. Maybe I've been around the wrong people - but that is what it feels like to me![/b]

Completely Understand. I guess I have to ask myself:

Is what I percieve "the right thing" to be necessarily the same way someone else percieves it? If not, would it behoove *me* to seriously consider the implications of this?

Is "the right thing" always achievable? (Given the prevalence of [i]imperfection[/i]. Do I gotta think: [i]"the right thing"[/i]in [/i]"the right place"[/i] at [i]"the right time"[/i]?

********************

Is the ultim: "do unto others as you would have done to you" largely equivocable with "the right thing"? A definition, so to speak?

If so, could the reverse be true? (not saying the reverse in ultims is always true, either). [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form.

On Jan 28, 2004

Kim M., excellent stuff! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I e-mailed it to myself so I can group e-mail it out. I thought it was excellent, especially because it does come from a non-PA parent. I was really really pleased. Thanks for posting it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

On Jan 28, 2004

This was a great article. I couldn't have said it better myself!! One of the best I've read!!

On Jan 29, 2004

must admit, very impressed. worth keeping a copy of this! sarah

On Jan 29, 2004

Great article. I've sent it out to close friends and family along with a 'Thank you' for their continued vigilance.

On Jan 30, 2004

MB: I'm a Catholic but maybe the Wiccan Rede is relevant to what the 'right thing' is in a universal way: "An it harm none, do what you will" ~ I also like the "do unto others" idea but there are many loopholes in that one. (Masochists, for an extreme example...!!) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Jan 30, 2004

Quote:

Originally posted by StaceyK: [b]MB: I'm a Catholic but maybe the Wiccan Rede is relevant to what the 'right thing' is in a universal way: "An it harm none, do what you will" ~ I also like the "do unto others" idea but there are many loopholes in that one. (Masochists, for an extreme example...!!) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] [/b]

I am not Catholic. (just clarifying)

WRT My own personal, highly individual, and unique situation:

Personal drawback I find with soundbites is they are just part of the "Big Picture". Forgive me for using one. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Guess *I* also have to look at my (not really *mine*, but just something I referenced, personally) "soundbite" in the light of a larger context:

"whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things".

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

Big Boolean Thing.

"whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things".

On Jan 30, 2004

Kim M., I group e-mailed this out within the last two days and the response I've been getting is quite overwhelming. Everyone loves the article and asked me where I found it. Of course, I do fess up, tell them that I found it on PA.com (they are all PA.com members that have responded to me so far), that you had found it and posted it and I just got it out there because I thought it was quite good (IMHO).

But what I've also found myself telling people that are e-mailing back is that this is the first time in YEARS that I have sent anything re PA to family/friends. YEARS.

I did my regular group e-mail out which is all PA.com members. Then, I did a separate one to family/friends who I thought *might* be interested. Again, I haven't done that in years.

Everyone that I have heard back from, and again, it has been overwhelming, has said that they are giving the article to family/friends/schools.

Thanks so much for posting it and please know I'm not taking any credit.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

On Jan 31, 2004

Quote:

Originally posted by Kim M: [b]Fabulous article (not written by a PA parent) in Parents and Kids, a free periodical here in the Boston area. [i][b]Very[/i][/b] supportive [/b]

I noticed among the references and resources she quoted were from [b]FAAN[/b]. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Sep 14, 2005

Update:

Although the website where this article was originally published has since removed it [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] , I was able to find a cached version that you can still access.

[url="http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:m_ihHIkADwsJ:www.townonline.com/parentsandkids/news/news/pak_feapkpeanuts01232004.htm+katherine+waters-clark&hl=en"]http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:m_i...ers-clark&hl=en[/url]

For those that are looking for a great article written by a non-PA writer, it is really helpful for sharing. We have included this in the school packet that has gone out to parents in the past...

On Sep 15, 2005

Wow...that was great. I will definately print and save that for future use.

Jeannie

On Sep 15, 2005

I missed that the first time, thanks so much for raising it. Really well written!! Meg

Related