Parents and Kids article

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 11:58am
Kim M's picture
Joined: 06/09/2001 - 09:00

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!


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).]

Posted on: Wed, 01/28/2004 - 2:09pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Kate B., thanks for posting it here as well. [img][/img] It is excellent (IMHO). I'm group e-mailing it out and also sending it out to a lot of *regular* people that I don't send PA stuff to, I thought it was that good.
( [img][/img] I didn't realize people bypassed Media!)
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 12:34pm
KateB's picture
Joined: 05/11/2004 - 09:00

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][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 1:00pm
Jana R's picture
Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

I found this for her contact info - I just wrote her a quick thank-you:
Katherine Waters-Clark
Winchester, Massachusetts, United States
Email: [email][/email]
Published writer: Yes
Freelance: Yes

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 1:10pm
Jana R's picture
Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

Well, the above e-mail bounced for the author [img][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 1:24pm
rebeccas's picture
Joined: 07/05/2003 - 09:00

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 !

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 1:43pm
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

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

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 4:11pm
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

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][/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][/url])
Food Anaphylaxis Education ([url][/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?
Brazil nuts
Filberts (hazelnuts)
Hickory nuts
Macadamia nuts
Pine nuts (pinyon nuts)
Katherine Waters-Clark is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and fraternal twin daughters in Winchester.

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 8:46pm
helenmc's picture
Joined: 05/01/2002 - 09:00

Bless her [img][/img]
Geoff (Helen's hubby)

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 11:01pm
StaceyK's picture
Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

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.

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2004 - 11:58pm
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Truly a very good read!
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.


Peanut Free Store

More Articles

You already know that if you or your child has a peanut allergy you need to avoid peanut butter. Some...

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

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

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Most nut butters provide all the same benefits: an easy sandwich spread, a great dip for veggies, a fun addition to a smoothie. But not...