Pls review a ltr I want to give to parents of my sons school.

Posted on: Mon, 05/22/2000 - 9:27pm
momma2rac's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/03/2000 - 09:00

Too much? not enough? anything you would add, remove? thanks. His daycare has already gone peanut free. thanks

We would like to the time to thank you for your cooperation in making Park Cities Day School peanut free.
I know it can be difficult to figure out what to make for lunches each day and PB&J's are easy! We sincerely appreciate it as our son's life depends on it.

We discovered our son was allergic to peanuts one Sunday evening. I gave him peanut butter on toast at the end of a meal. He hadn't eaten that much and I wanted him to have some more protein. I also gave him a bite of my orange. He didn't eat either but gave himself a toddler facial!

It was obvious that he wasn't going to eat any so I started to clean him up. I said to my husband " Wow it looks like he got bit by something". He was quickly covered with hives. We quickly put him in the tub and cleaned him up, and put baby cortisone on his hives.

I called the after hours advice nurse. It was a busy night and she didn't call back for several hours. By that time he was asleep and the hives were settling down.

I called the advice nurse at my pediatrician's office the next day. She said well I wouldn't give him either oranges or peanut butter for a few weeks, then give him one at a time.
I explained to her again that he hadn't eaten any and I was concerned about what would happen when he did, if he broke out in hives on contact. She said "well if he stops breathing, call 911".
Needless to say that didn't sound like the best advice so we decided not to give him either peanut butter or oranges until we could speak to his Dr. I then asked the school not to give him either food until we could find if he was allergic to one or both of them.

We went to see the pediatrician for another issue. I explained to him what happened and what the nurse advised. He said, "someone in my office said that?". He advised me that we need to take a possible peanut allergy very seriously. He then wrote us a prescription for an Epi-Pen Jr.

Epi pens are auto-injecting devices that administer epinephrine (adrenaline). Most people are familiar with them for people that allergic to bee or other insect stings.

I went to the pharmacy and filled the prescription. The pharmacist advised me that they are not covered by insurance. $ 45.00 later we went home with the Epi Pen Jr.

We made an appointment with the allergist. In the meantime I started to do some research. What I discovered was very frightening. We were very lucky that our son didn't have a severe reaction that night. People who are peanut allergic (PA) can have an allergic anaphylactic reaction simply by being kissed by someone who just ate peanut butter!

We were very concerned for our son's safety. I know that when cleaning his hands after a meal, there are plenty of times that I think I got everything off him and haven't. There was a real possibility that he could have an anaphylactic allergic reaction at school, simply by touching a toy in his classroom or on the playground that another child has touched after eating peanuts or peanut butter.

We also discovered that peanut products are in lots of foods that you wouldn't normally think of. The list to avoid includes: beer nuts, cold pressed peanut oils, ground nuts, mixed nuts, Nu-Nuts flavored nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, peanut flour.

The list of foods that may contain peanut products: African, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Baked goods (pastries, cookies, etc.), candy (Jelly Beans!), chili, spaghetti, chocolate, egg rolls, hydrolyzed plant and vegetable protein, marzipan and nougat.

Another issue is cross contamination. Cross contamination occurs when a product containing peanuts is manufactured on the same line as something without peanuts. Just because the product doesn't contain peanuts does not mean the product is "safe". Plain M&M's are a perfect example, plain M&M's often have left over chocolate mixed in from the run when they made peanut M&M's. Rice Krispie treats that you buy in the store are labeled " May contain traces of peanuts" as they manufacture peanut butter and chocolate Rice Krispie treats.

We must be diligent about reading labels each time we use a product. We also have to contact food manufactures to find out about cross contamination issues.
Like all parents we will have to assess every situation in our son's life, can he go to a birthday party unsupervised? Does the adult in charge really understand the risks and what to do in an emergency?
Can we risk going to the ballgame, the circus and other places where peanuts are served? Airplane travel is a concern, will peanuts be served? Did the person sitting in his seat before him leave peanuts in the seat? The wrapper? Traces of peanut on the armrest? When we say to a server at a restaurant are you sure that there aren't any peanut products in the food? Do you fry in peanut oil? If PB&J's are served is the preparation surface really clean? Did they use the same knife? Is there peanut butter traces in the jelly?

It can be difficult to maintain a sense of "normalcy" at times. Some people just look at you like you are a Nut! (no pun intended) when you ask these questions. Before we found out that our son was PA and did some research I might think someone is a bit nutty or overprotective as well.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Peanut Allergies.

What is an anaphylaxis? A sudden severe allergic reaction that involves various areas of the body simultaneously or causes difficulty with swelling of the throat and tongue. In extreme cases it can cause death. This type of reaction is sometimes called a general reaction or allergic shock. The most common foods to cause anaphylactic shock are: peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, soy, wheat and milk.

Will a reaction happen immediately?
Most people the reaction will be fairly immediate. In some cases there will be a delay. In most cases there is another follow-up reaction. This is why it is important to seek medical attention.

Will every reaction be serious?
There is no way of telling if the allergic reaction will be mild or life threatening. In most cases when a person has an allergic reaction to peanuts, each successive reaction is worse than the last one.

Will your son outgrow the peanut allergy?
Peanut allergies are generally life long and grow worse with each exposure to peanuts. Other food allergies such as milk and eggs children often grow out of.

What's the difference between being allergic to peanuts and milk?
The biggest problem with peanuts is that a PA person can have an anaphylactic reaction by simply smelling peanut products. It is also very difficult to clean all traces of peanut products from your hands, even with soap and water. Milk products are easier to clean off your hands and do not normally cause an anaphylactic reaction to smell.

What else can we do?
Read labels! Do not give any food to a child at the school without the teacher's permission. If your child has peanut butter before school, Please make sure that it is completely cleaned off of your child! Make sure that they don't bring any toys to school that may have peanut butter traces on it! Please let the teacher know as well. Wipe their hands with a wet wipe when they get to school. I know it sounds like a hassle, but it could save a child's life.

We personally feel very fortunate that the school, teachers and you, the parents are willing to help us keep our son safe as well as the other PA children at the school. We also feel fortunate that he is just allergic to peanuts. There are other children in this school with other food allergies such as milk, eggs, strawberries and apples. For information check : [url="http://www.foodallergy.org"]www.foodallergy.org[/url] or [url="http://www.peanutallergy.com"]www.peanutallergy.com[/url]

If you have question please feel free to call us.
Rob & Julie Chickering
214-824-5292, email [email]sitfly@flash.net[/email]

Posted on: Mon, 05/22/2000 - 11:53pm
adamsmom's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/09/2000 - 09:00

Hi. It is a tough thing to do writing an informative letter explaining the difficulties a family faces with having a peanut allergic child. But I guess really you are not doing that ... you are just trying to thank these parents for helping in any way that they can to try and not send any peanuts/peanut products to school. You don't wish to step on anyones toes and you surely can't expect them to change their lifestyles just to suit your own. I think that it is wonderful that the parents are willing to try to make it peanut free at school ... (maybe you could work in the section on the importance for reading labels and looking for the "may contain peanut traces/made in a facility that processes peanuts" in case they send in any food items to school for a special treat day etc... instead of your telling them of how you yourself have to read the labels every time.) They might be offended about being reminded to wash their childs hands at home before coming into school ... it is a little much. (Don't get me wrong about not supporting you here on your idea because I have the SAME concerns as you in regard to my pa son.) I don't see the need to inform them about what the nurse said ... what the doctor said ... Could you just inform them once again about how "immediate" and "severe" a reaction can be ... the whole "it only takes one bite"? And in your case it wasn't even a bite ... it was on the skin ... (maybe you could mention a note of thanks again for not sending in any pb&js at this point in your letter instead of at the beginning so that you can use the example of how you first found out about your child's allergy.) I like how you describe what an Epi-Pen Jr. is, the meaning of cross contamination, foods that could possibly harm your child (good for the teacher to know), the frequently asked questions are okay. I don't see that there is a need for you to tell about your concerns about future outings, cost of an Epi-Pen Jr., etc.
I think that you want the letter to be as short and precise as you can make it. Say thank you, state the importance of the issue, give your definitions, the Q&A (could be condensed), and then say thank you again.
Good luck to you and your family.
Sincerely, Susan

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 12:59am
jh5000's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2000 - 09:00

I agree with adamsmom - it needs to be shorter, and she made great suggestions on what to cut. There's another simple way you could make the length seem less intimidating, while still getting important information in parents' hands - just put the "Commonly Asked Questions About Peanut Allergies" on a separate, attached sheet.
Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 1:30am
kristene's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/27/1999 - 09:00

Julie,
I think you have a great starting point. It is very informative, but it may be a bit long.
And, there is a part of me that hates the section
quote:
What's the difference between being allergic to peanuts and milk?
The biggest problem with peanuts is that a PA person can have an anaphylactic reaction by simply smelling peanut products. It is also very difficult to clean all traces of peanut products from your hands, even with soap and water. Milk products are easier to clean off your hands and do not normally cause an anaphylactic reaction to smell.
END quote
Maybe it's just me, but since Eli is anaphylactic to milk by contact, it seems to downplay a milk allergy. I have to fight that stereotype quite a bit. People seem to be getting how serious PA is, but they still seem to think of a milk allergy as more troublesome than dangerous.
And from experience, milk residue is not that easy to wash off. Maybe if it is in the form of milk it is, but when it is in the form of chocolate, cheese, etc. it is tough.
But I think it will help your cause immensely.
The only question I have is this:
Can I plagerize it when my time comes?
Kristene

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 3:15am
momma2rac's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/03/2000 - 09:00

Thanks for the input! I was told by others it was too long and that they dont care how we found out.. I was thinking it was good to put that in there since people ask, and maybe they would know what to look for.
Kristine, I understand what you were saying about the milk and would be happy to cut it, I was trying to figure out what to say when other people say well we cant cut every food that causes allergic reactions can we? I was thinking of the story that you told me about Eli and his car and how he got sick after the neighbor rode it.
As far as the section about reading labels and stuff I was trying to illistrate all the stuff we need to think about EVERYDAY that other parents dont have to. If you dont think it will really make a difference then I can take it out.
The part about handwashing etc is that another parent, (she also reads this board) is about to bring her PA child to our school as it is peanut free. She wants to have each child wash their hands each morning with wipes in case of peanut residue. I didnt get to finish the conversation with her. My concern is that the parents are going to say, thats too much to deal with.
I will work on cutting it down. Thanks.

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 4:44am
momma2rac's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/03/2000 - 09:00

How about this?
We would like to take the time to thank you for your cooperation in making
Park Cities Day School peanut free.
We figured out that our son was allergic to peanuts one evening when he broke out in hives by touching peanut butter. We were advised by his Dr. that we must take an allergy to peanuts very seriously. He prescribed an Epi pen Jr. We must have this medication with him at all times. Epi pens are auto-injecting devices that administer epinephrine (adrenaline). Most people are familiar with them for people that allergic to bee or other insect stings.
In researching peanut allergies what we discovered was very frightening. We were very lucky that our son didn't have a severe reaction that night. People who are peanut allergic (PA) can have an allergic anaphylactic reaction, which can be fatal simply by being kissed by someone who just ate peanut butter!
We became very concerned for our son's safety. I know that when cleaning his hands after a meal, there are plenty of times that I think I got everything off him and haven't. There was a real possibility that he could have an anaphylactic allergic reaction at school, simply by touching a toy in his classroom or on the playground that another child had touched after eating peanuts or peanut butter.
We also discovered that peanut products are in lots of foods that you wouldn't normally think of. The list of foods that may contain peanut products are: African, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Baked goods (pastries, cookies, etc.), candy (Jelly Beans!), chili, spaghetti, chocolate and egg rolls to name a few.
Another issue is cross contamination. Cross contamination occurs when a product containing peanuts is manufactured on the same equipment as something without peanuts. Just because the product doesn't contain peanuts does not mean the product is "safe". Plain M&M's are a perfect example, plain M&M's often have left over chocolate mixed in from the run when they made peanut M&M's. Rice Krispie treats that you buy in the store are labeled " May contain traces of peanuts" as they manufacture peanut butter and chocolate Rice Krispie treats. Therefore we must be diligent about reading labels each time we use a product and contact food manufactures to find out about cross contamination issues.
Like all parents we will have to assess every situation in our son's life. Restaurants and airplane trips are a challenge as we must rely on someone else to help keep him safe. Will we be able to take the risk of doing normal activities like going to the ballgame?
It can be difficult to maintain a sense of "normalcy" at times. Some people just look at you like you are a nut! (no pun intended) when you talk about the risks of PA. Before we found out that our son was PA and did some research I might have thought someone was a bit nutty or overprotective as well.
We personally feel very fortunate that the school, teachers and you, the parents are willing to help us keep our son safe as well as the other PA children at the school
If you have question please feel free to call us.
Rob & Julie Chickering
214-824-5292, email [email]sitfly@flash.net[/email]
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Peanut Allergies.
What is an anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis is a sudden severe allergic reaction that involves various areas of the body simultaneously or causes difficulty with swelling of the throat and tongue. In extreme cases it can cause death. This type of reaction is sometimes called a general reaction or allergic shock. The most common foods to cause anaphylactic shock are: peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, soy, wheat and milk.
Will a reaction happen immediately?
Most people the reaction will be fairly immediate. In some cases there will be a delay. In most cases there is another follow-up reaction. This is why it is important to seek medical attention.
Will every reaction be serious?
There is no way of telling if the allergic reaction will be mild or life threatening. In most cases when a person has an allergic reaction to peanuts, each successive reaction is worse than the last one.
Will your son outgrow the peanut allergy?
Peanut allergies are generally life long and grow worse with each exposure to peanuts. Other food allergies such as milk and eggs children often grow out of.
What else can we do?
If your child has peanut butter before school, please make sure that it is completely cleaned off of your child and any toys that s/he may bring to school. I know it sounds like a hassle, but it could save a child's life.
For more information on peanut allergies see [url="http://www.peanutallergy.com"]www.peanutallergy.com[/url]
For more information on food allergies please see [url="http://www.foodallergy.org"]www.foodallergy.org[/url]

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 5:30am
jh5000's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2000 - 09:00

I think that sounds much better - more direct and to the point...the only parts I might still lose are the restaurant, airlines and ballgame paragraph, as well as the "normalcy" paragraph following it. I'm not sure the other parents would see that as relevant to the school issue, and may see it as trying too hard to garner sympathy.
But otherwise, I really think it sounds great!

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 7:18am
Lisa M's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/07/1999 - 09:00

I read both and like the second one a lot. I would leave in the paragraphs about the airplane, ballgame, etc and normalcy. I think it helps show the other parents that you aren't just 'picking on' the school situation but it is an hourly, daily, stuggle. I like it the way it is.

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 7:45am
jh5000's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/02/2000 - 09:00

momma2rac,
Are you going to show this to parents of non-pa kids before you send it out? I would get and heed their input as well, since they'll have a perspective closer to that of the parents who will actually receive the letter.
Just a thought...

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 10:19am
momma2rac's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/03/2000 - 09:00

we are having a board meeting tomorrow so will run it by some of them. maybe my girlfriends who have babies about his age too. thanks everyone!

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 1:27pm
rilira's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

I love the second letter. i have found by not going into a lot of detail about how we found the allergy garners interest. People are very willing to ask How did you find out or what do you mean by touching it? This leads to many interesting conversations. I think the letter is great. Oh as a side note. The kids in my daughters class wash everyday when they first arrive to school.It is a great idea and the teacher really emphasized how much it would help cut down on sickness.

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2000 - 8:25pm
momma2rac's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/03/2000 - 09:00

thank you. using the angle cutting down on sickness is something that ALL parents can relate to! Great tip! Do they use soap and water or wipes? I dont think diaper wipes are antibacterial.

Posted on: Wed, 05/24/2000 - 9:51am
rilira's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

The kids in my daughters class use soap and water when they first come to school and wipes after snack. We use wet ones wipes. They cost more than baby wipes but the kids don't view them as babyish. My daughter was very specific that we don't take "baby" wipes to school.They are antibacterial.

More Community Posts

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

create a new community post
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:56pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:52pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:19pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:18pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:19pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:16pm
Comments: 10
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:13pm
Comments: 13
Latest Post by penelope Mon, 10/07/2019 - 7:10pm
Comments: 9
Latest Post by mom2two Mon, 09/16/2019 - 1:03pm
Comments: 18
Latest Post by desmond Mon, 09/16/2019 - 1:00pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by desmond Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:58pm
Comments: 19
Latest Post by TeddyCan Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:32pm
Comments: 10
Latest Post by DTurner Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:31pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by B.M.18 Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:30pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by abolitionist146 Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:28pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by nutfreenyc Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:19pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by AllergicTeen2 Mon, 09/09/2019 - 4:18pm
Comments: 2

More Articles

You might have wondered if small amounts of an ingredient can be added to a food product without being declared on the food’s label. The FDA...

Is it possible to eat your way to a food allergy cure? Scientists think it’s...

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

Not all oils are created equal. Some oils are high in saturated fats or in trans-fatty acids – not good for general health. Some are partially...

It may never be safe to begin feeding peanut butter to your baby or toddler if you have peanut allergies in your family. If either parent or one...

More Articles

More Articles

What is a peanut allergy? It is a reaction that occurs in the body after eating peanuts or peanut...

For those with severe food allergies, flying can be a stressful process. Here are...

Approximately one out of 13 children under age 18 are allergic to at least one food, though many of them will outgrow their allergy by the age of...

Fact 1: Over a third of food allergy reactions happen after the first known oral...

The reason why some people are affected by allergies while others are not begins in their genes. Allergies are passed down from generation to...

Here’s a tip that might someday save your life, or that of a loved one: two to four times a year, review the proper way to use your epinephrine...

Lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, a sugar found in milk, caused by the lack of a needed enzyme. Those with lactose...

Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)

An important part of peanut allergy awareness was enacted on January 1, 2006...

Tomato allergies are very rare. They are a "type 1 allergy," which means a contact allergy. When a person with this type of allergy touches a...

Milk allergies are becoming more common, especially in babies and small children. There is some confusion about what is an allergic reaction and...

Recognizing food allergy in babies or toddlers is not always easy, but there are specific risk factors and signs that parents and other caregivers...

Burlap bags are often used to store and ship coffee beans, potatoes, rice, seeds, nuts, and peanuts. They can be one of the disguised...

People with pollen allergies need to stay away from some foods. If you have allergic rhinitis in the spring or fall, you may not realize that you...

Of course, everyone knows that if you have a peanut allergy that you should avoid peanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter cookies and foods that...

Eating at a nut-free lunch table in school is a safety precaution that causes some students to feel isolated from their peers. Unfortunately,...