Friday, May 13, 2016

Food Allergy Awareness Week

I know I've been MIA lately... 
Honestly, I have a separate private blog for friends and family 
that isn't censored on personal information like this one is (for the most part)... 
so I spend most of my blogging time over there!

BUT, I wanted to share a few things today!

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that 
Eloise has severe food allergies to eggs and peanuts.  
I am continually surprised by how much people don't know about 
food allergies, but then... I was once that person also, 
so I'm not sure why I'm so surprised!  
My life has become totally engulfed in avoiding El's allergens
 that it's just second nature to me.  Though even at home, where we 
live in a nut-free environment, any little hive or sneeze makes me
 jump into action to make sure she didn't accidentally come
 into contact with something she is allergic to.

Normally I am not all about assigning special "weeks" or "months" for things.  
But, of course, this one is near and dear to my heart... 
so I can understand why some people are passionate about 
other specially designated days, etc.

Here is a little graphic I made with some information...

(Someone lost their first tooth!)
Did you know that 1 in 13 children now has a life threatening food allergy?  
That's roughly 2 in every classroom!  (Thankfully we homeschool - last day 
of KINDERGARTEN!!  Hooray!).  I took El to a library program this 
spring and in just the small group of children and adults that attended there 
was peanut and egg allergy (Eloise), a boy with red dye sensitivity and 
shellfish allergy, a little girl with wheat allergy, a little girl with gluten allergy, 
2 adults with several food allergies and a librarian who learned she was all 
of a sudden allergic to peanuts and milk in her early 60's!  
(Food allergies can develop at ANY time in your life!)  
That's a lot for just a small little town and a small little library!  
It's more common than people realize.  Research shows that 
allergies DOUBLED between 1997-2007.  Of course, I can speculate on 
reasons why... but I am no medical or scientific professional, so I won't 
get into all of that!  

As a mother who deals with the anxiety of food allergies every time we 
step foot out of our own home (and sometimes while in it), I would urge you 
to think a little bit about those around you when you're out and about.  
Don't touch people's babies or offer them food without checking with 
a parent first (not saying any of you do!) and if you're hosting a party 
or get-together for children, maybe inquire if there are any allergies to be aware of.  
Trust me, it will be appreciated by the parents!!  At Halloween time, 
maybe look into the Teal Pumpkin Project.  You put a teal pumpkin 
out on your porch so Food Allergy kids know that they can get safe 
(non-food) treats at your house!  (But please, don't mix them in a 
bowl with food items as even the outside of wrappers can be contaminated 
just from being in a factory with allergens).

Also consider things like bird seed that usually contain or are manufactured
around peanuts and tree nuts.  Garden/Potting soil often has peanut shells
as a filler.  And also know that company's are required by law to list
any allergens that their food products may contain, but they are NOT
required to disclose if the items are made in a nut free facility or even
manufactured on the same production lines as allergens.
If you are trying to get information just from a label, it most
likely is not complete information.  The allergy community often are
making phone calls and sending inquiry emails as to the safety of food items.
I recently learned that there are lighter fluids that many contain peanut oil
due to the fact that they use "recycled oils" from restaurants and
can't guarantee that peanut oil or other allergens weren't in the mix.
Never would've thought of that one, would ya?
Me either.

In other words, Food Allergies are not so cut and dry!!
 Taking time to educate yourself, even a little means so much!!

This summer, Eloise plans to trying to raise enough money to buy 
some Food Allergy Awareness Children's Books to donate to our local library!

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