Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘anaphylaxis’

Tips for Parents Raising A Child With Food Allergies: A Teen’s Perspective

By Bailey Francis (bio below)

Having anaphylactic allergies isn’t easy for anyone. Reading food labels, avoiding your allergen, and having to take major precaution every time you eat something are huge responsibilities no matter what how old you are. However, when a child is diagnosed with anaphylaxis at a young age, like I was, many of these responsibilities fall into the hands of the parents. This is often difficult and can cause adults to have to make huge dietary adjustments based on their child’s diagnosis. Figuring out how to handle my anaphylactic allergies was a learning experience both for me and my parents and although we did a lot of things correctly, there are areas which could have been improved upon. Read more

6 Steps in the Emergency Treatment of Anaphylaxis

You’re at a restaurant, and the person at the next table is having a severe allergic reaction to something he ate. His lips are swollen, his face is covered in a red rash, and he’s wheezing. He collapses to the floor. Everyone stares, not sure what to do. Would you know what steps to take? Read more

Are Antibiotics Contributing to the Rise in Food Allergies?

Do you or someone in your family have food allergies? Then this study will interest you. Scientists discovered that by altering the gut bacteria of mice with anti-biotics they could confer peanut allergy in the mice. Then they re-colonized the mice’s guts with a common mammal gut bacteria and reversed the peanut allergy. All by changing the bacteria in their guts! You can see the study here.

The type and quantity of bacteria in our gut have an integral role in our health. Called our microbiome, it has a place in digestion, immune function and now it looks like food allergies. Read more

A Quick Guide To Better Understanding Food Allergies: Know, Identify, Act

Today's Lesson by Allerject: Food Allergies

The WINNER of our Camp W*K Contest! Congratulations Grace!

 

Grace and Mia at Camp Wingate*Kirkland, standing in front of the bunkhouse.

Grace (on right) and Mia at Camp Wingate*Kirkland, standing in front of the bunk house.

In February we hosted a camp contest for food-allergic kids to win a 2 week spot at Camp Wingate*Kirkland  this summer. Any food allergy parent knows what a special opportunity it is to go to summer camp like a ‘regular’ kid and have fun, without the worries of food allergies for the camper or the parent! Well, we’re proud to share the winner with you. Congratulations to Grace!!! Grace’s mom, Christie, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us and sent us a letter about their introductory tour of the camp.  It brings joy to my heart to see the smile on Grace’s face and we wish her a fun-filled camp experience.

Read more

How I Became a Food Allergy Mom

 

By Elizabeth Flora Ross (Bio below)

“I think she’s allergic to strawberries,” my husband said one night. I was dubious. My daughter’s eyes would water, her nose would run and she would sneeze when she ate them. But I did not recognize those as food allergy symptoms – I dismissed it as seasonal allergies. One evening as we enjoyed a family movie night, our daughter began to complain she was itchy and hot. With only the light from the television, I couldn’t really see her. Then she said she needed to use the potty. When I turned on the light in the bathroom, I was shocked by what I saw. Her face and lips had transformed into a huge, red, swollen rash.

Read more

Are Escalating Food Sensitivities Hampering Your Life? A GAPS Story

You’ve read some of our updates on the GAPS diet, so for another perspective here is another story from a Certified GAPS Practitioner about her patient’s journey to healing. While the patient has seen improvements, she remains on the diet in hopes of one day being completely healed. Only time will tell how it will go, but things are looking promising for her already.

-Jennifer

Are Escalating Food Sensitivities Hampering Your Life? A GAPS Story

By Jennifer Scribner (Bio below)

One of the most urgent reasons people come to me to learn about the GAPS Diet™ is because they have multiple food allergies and sensitivities.

Take Allison (not her real name), a client who was using an EpiPen 2 to 3 times a month for her anaphylactic food allergy reactions. She’d had digestive problems (along with asthma) most of her life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she realized they were caused by food sensitivities. Once she figured that out she eliminated those foods and felt better for a couple of weeks. Then she started reacting to new foods that she didn’t have problems with before, so she tried eliminating those too and ended up caught in a vicious cycle. What she reacted to was always rotating and she lived in constant fear of how every food might affect her. Not to mention how terrible she felt all the time, which wasn’t working for her while raising 4 kids and homeschooling.

Read more

What Is Anaphylaxis Really Like? A First Person Perspective

by Natalie Honodel  (see bio below)

It has been almost a year since my life changed drastically. First, let me go back a few years. Well, fifteen years to be exact. I was in the lunch room in kindergarten when I started breaking out in hives and we were unsure what caused them. After seeing a few doctors I was diagnosed with food allergies and from that day on, I have always had food allergies in my life. Even though they have been a part of my life, they have not been the main focus in my life. There were even a few years where I thought I completely had my allergies under control. I would go out with friends, go to school, and live life without really thinking or worrying about allergies. I knew my triggers, worked to avoid them, and knew what to do in case of emergency. However, that picture of confidence was shattered last March when I suddenly went into anaphylactic shock after one bite of peanut butter. Peanuts have never been a problem for me. On every skin test and blood test peanuts have always been fine. Tree nuts were a positive, but never peanuts. In fact, I had eaten peanut butter or peanut products almost every day until this reaction. Read more

Confession: I Overlooked a Suspected Allergen In an Ingredient List

I feel really lucky at this moment because I made a mistake, a HUGE mistake. Thankfully, Tristan is ok.

A little background: We think Tristan has an allergy to almonds. He used to drink almond milk daily and was incredibly itchy. After stopping the milk, the itching stopped. So, now, as far I as I know, he hasn’t had almonds for about a year. No, I take that back, he tried a bite of yogurt made from almonds the other day (completely dairy free) and he got a little pink around his mouth, so he didn’t have any more. I avoid almonds now because I just don’t know if he could have developed a more severe reaction to them, like he did with dairy not long ago. Blood and skin testing was always negative, like most everything else – even for his anaphylaxis to dairy. Read more

Sloane Miller on Traveling and Dining Out With Food Allergies

Tristan and I were headed to the Big Apple to visit my sister and newborn nephew. (She’s just started her own parenting blog, please check it out!) It would be a trip of firsts for both of us – first mother-son trip, first trip by train, first time to NY (for Tristan), and first time dining out since Tristan’s first anaphylactic reaction. Needless to say I was most worried about the latter item.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I reached out to Sloane Miller, aka Allergic Girl, food allergy expert, and NYC resident.

sloane miller allergic girl

Through her company, Allergic Girl Resources, Sloane “provides advocacy, coaching and consulting to empower individuals with food allergies and their families to engage in the world safely, effectively, and joyously.” She also provides food allergy consulting and training for restaurants, government, and corporations. Sloane graciously offered me with a condensed consultation about managing, traveling with, and dining out with food allergies in preparation for our trip. (Please note that Tristan and I were not clients under Sloane Miller’s care and I’m offering this review of my own will, without any obligations.)

In preparation for our phone consultation, Sloane asked for the following information as they pertain to Tristan’s food allergies:

  • Diet Restrictions
  • History, Onset, Reactions
  • Testing Methods and Results
  • List of Doctors and Medication

Sloane used Tristan’s medical information to customize our session, where she shared her wisdom for traveling and dining out with Tristan’s multiple food allergies. And just what did I learn?  A LOT! She was so helpful and understanding, but also persistent (as a coach should be). A few of her recommendations really overwhelmed me and she sensed this, gently pushing the issue and reminding me why it was crucial.

Are you curious? Would you like to hear some of her advice? Well then, here are some of the highlights (in my own words).

  1. Make sure all medications are easily accessible and up to date.
  2. Have an Anaphylaxis Action Plan in place and approved by your or your child’s physician. AAAAI and FARE have samples you can download. While you may feel like you know exactly how you or your child reacts to an allergen, what if your child is out of your care and experiences a reaction, how will those temporary caregivers know how to immediately recognize a reaction and understand when emergency treatment is necessary?
  3. Locate the nearest hospitals and 24 hour pharmacies to your hotel. If possible, obtain the name and number of a local physician who can assist you if allergy medication is lost and needs replacement.
  4. Create a reference list of all known food allergies. Then add common foods where these allergens can be found. For example, for soy allergies you’d list tofu, tamari, soy sauce, vegetable oil, etc. Use this to email in advance to restaurants and hotel.
  5. Look for Allergy Friendly restaurant recommendation. Some great places to look are: AllergyEats, Allergic Living’s Dining Out Forum, AllerDine, and Nosh It (a new app). AllergyEats published a list of the most allergy friendly chains in America, which you may find useful and can find here.
  6. Research restaurants of interest online. Review the “about us” section of the restaurant’s website. Look for comments about how much they love their customers, hospitality first, special food requests, and food allergies.
  7. Contact restaurants & compliment the chef. Email or call the restaurant (during off hours) with your list of known food allergies and tell them you have emergency medication on hand. Ask if they can accommodate you.  It never hurts to compliment the chef and tell them you heard great things and really hope you can try their restaurant. If you’re not being “heard” move on, it’s not worth the effort and potential life threatening mistake.
  8. Make a reservation and dine early. If possible, make reservations using OpenTable, where you can create a profile and list all your allergies and make dining notes that will be sent to the restaurant when you make the reservation. Make a dining note like this one, “Looking forward to dining with you, severely allergic to…, carry emergency medication.” Try to eat with the early crowd as the chef and managing staff will have more time to talk with you and make you feel comfortable. Fewer customers means fewer errors in the kitchen and from the wait staff.
  9. Ask to bring your own food. If you’ll be dining out with several people and it proves too difficult to find a restaurant to accommodate your or your child’s allergies safely, ask the manager if you can bring your own food while the rest of your party eats from the menu. Sometimes they are ok with it, sometimes they aren’t. So ask when making a reservation, don’t wait until you show up for meal time.
  10. Listen to your intuition. If you feel at all uncomfortable at the restaurant, with your waiter, or the chef and feel the situation is risky, never eat. Send the food back if it’s questionable or ask to see product packaging to verify ingredients. If they won’t show you the bag because they’re too busy or for any other reasons, that’s a huge red flag – just walk out.
  11. Always have back-up food/snack to last you until an allergy friendly meal is available. This will come in handy especially if you walk out of a bad situation and need to spend time finding an alternative restaurant that can accommodate you. Even more so with small, hungry children in tow.
  12. Create a Chef Card.  This is basically a list (usually wallet size) of all food allergens that is given to the chef when you arrive at the restaurant. The Food Allergy Gourmet has a list of Chef Cards from various online resources. This was a LIFE SAVER for us, probably quite literally. I started out creating the food allergy list as described in #3 above, and it morphed into a Chef’s Card on steroids. The chefs (which I spoke with at every restaurant we dined at) loved my card as it was so thorough. Here is a pdf of the card I created and laminated.
  13. NEVER EVER go to a buffet. It’s just a cross contamination nightmare.
  14. REMINDER: There are no restaurants that are completely allergen free. Every single restaurant will have an allergen someone could react to because realistically people can be allergic to just about anything. So, it is your responsibility to make sure the restaurant is safe for you or your child.  Never assume.

On top of all this great advice, Sloane gave me the name of many restaurants she’s either dined at in NY or personally trained on food allergy safety. This really helped us. I’ll share the restaurants we chose to dine with in the next post about our visit to NY with multiple food allergies.

A HUGE thank you to Sloane Miller for her food allergy wisdom and allowing me to share it with you!

Now, let’s hear from you. What tips do you have for traveling and dining out with food allergies? What lessons have you learned?

%d bloggers like this: