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Put This on Your To Do List Today: Food Allergy Action Plan October 15, 2014

Severe Allergy Action Plan

One of the most helpful food allergy documents I ever received first came, not from our wonderful allergist, but from our  pediatrician.  An Allergy Action Plan is a vital document for you and your family.  It clearly outlines what to do and who to call in a variety of allergic situations.  It spells out how much medication to give and reminds the reader if the patient is asthmatic.

We keep copies of our Allergy Action Plan everywhere.  I have one in our emergency medication basket in the kitchen, one in the car glove compartment, one in our Emergency On-The-Go Kit, one at school, one at religious school, and others at camp.  Now that I’m writing this, I think I should give a copy to my parents and in-laws so that they can familiarize themselves with the right course of action and know where to access this crucial information in case my son is staying with them (even if his On-The-Go Kit also contains one).

To complete your Food Allergy Action Plan today:

1.  First download Allergy Shmallergy’s:  AS – Severe Allergy Action Plan;

2.  Bring to your allergist or pediatrician to fill out.  This is not for a parent/patient to complete;

3.  Make more copies than you think is necessary to display/distribute to anywhere you/your child keeps epinephrine;

4.  Date the document and remember to update it every 12 months.

 

While I’ve Been Away… September 18, 2014

Filed under: Recipes & Cooking,Uncategorized — malawer @ 6:17 pm
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September is always a crazy time.  Each year, I go through summer denial for the first two weeks before succumbing to autumn and finally getting our schedules together.

This year, however, I was baking allergy-free Christmas cookies.  No, I’m not that organized. And don’t worry:  I promise I’m not taking a cue from our local department stores either.   I was asked to contribute an article to AANMA’s publication, Allergy and Asthma Today.

Do you know about AANMA?  Allergy & Asthma Network Mother’s Association (AANMA) has been around for nearly 30 years, advocating, educating and reaching out to local communities about asthma and allergies of all kinds.  I was impressed with their efforts at AANMA’s annual Asthma Awareness Day on Capitol Hill this past spring.  It was evident they were committed to keeping lawmakers attention on these important healthcare issues. AANMA is a rich resource for allergy and asthma information and activity.

Check them out at aanma.org.  And, stay tuned for AANMA’s winter publication to check out my delicious recipes!

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“We’re Going Back, Back, Back to School….” August 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 3:13 pm

(**10 points for anyone who can remember what movie sequel this title is a lyric from…**.)

 

It’s with both excitement and sadness that we approach the start of a new school year and the end of summer.  While I love our long, lazy days catching sea creatures and playing wiffle ball, the nerd in me looks forward to school with all the social and educational stimuli that accompanies it. 

 

As my son enters 4th grade next week, he enters not only a new building but also new responsibilities in our school system.  This year, we’re preparing to handle his food allergies in some old and some new ways when it comes to school. 

 

As he matures, my son both earns and requires different forms of independence.  And, one of those ways is for him to have some limited control over how we handle his food allergies.  If you find yourself with a tween, you’re probably noticing the same thing.  Here are some of the ways we’re approaching my son’s allergies this school year:

 

1. Once we receive teacher assignments, we will talk with his teachers (particularly homeroom, art and science teachers) to educate him/her on my son’s particular allergies, ask questions about the in-class manipulatives the students will be expected to use, and to inquire about their snack, holiday and birthday policies so we can accommodate our son safely. Our school nurse is the same as last year and is well-versed in food allergy management, so that’s one less conversation for us.  If you have a nurse that’s new to you, it’s important to know what her protocol is and for her to know any food allergy symptoms/triggers you’ve seen in your child.

 

2.  We’re going to speak to the school nurse and middle school office about their policy regarding students carrying their own epinephrine autoinjectors.  Each school has a different feeling and liability on this subject.  While in school, our school nurse is well-equipped with the medications we’ve provided god forbid a reaction occurs.  But, my son now sometimes stays after school to watch his older cousins play sports or goes straight from school to play at a friend’s house and having his autoinjectors make him feel more self-assured.

 

This summer, my son took the initiative one day to pack a sports sackpack with his emergency on-the-go pack as well as his most recent allowance and, of course, his awesome neon sunglasses.  He was so excited to be in charge of his own pack and who doesn’t love seeing a kid’s confidence grow like that?!

 

3.  Got a few extra oranges laying around?  Any expired epinephrine?  These two things are great for teaching others how to use the autoinjectors properly.  This year, we’re including my son’s best friend and parents in on the practice.  His friend is old enough and mature enough to WANT to know what to do.  Not only will we demonstrate how to use the EpiPens/Auvi-Q, but we’ll also discuss contacting the nearest adult and calling 911 no matter what.  It makes all parties involved feel better knowing the proper protocol and having given the injectors a little practice.

 

4.  We have and will continue to have talks with my son and rehearse different scenarios:

  • In-class/sport team celebrations that involve unsafe foods;
  • Play dates that don’t quite understand how to handle his allergies;
  • Hygiene: proper hand washing (and when/how often) and how hand sanitizers do not eliminate allergens;
  • What to do if he believes he’s experiencing an allergic reaction and how this is a GOOD time to interrupt any teachers/adults; and
  • What to do/How to ask teachers and cafeteria assistants about the safety of any “surprise” foods that weren’t on our original menu for the week (sometimes a shipment doesn’t arrive on time for service that day or the kids earn an unforeseen treat at lunch).

 

To see our complete list of back to school prep, please read Back to School: Safe, Ready and Prepared and Back to School Food Allergy Checklist.

 

What other changes have you done to prepare for your growing child to go back to school?

 

 

FARE Walks and a Girl with a Dream August 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 1:30 pm
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Many of you are preparing to participate in FARE Walks nationwide this year.  FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is the one of the nation’s leading food allergy organization whose mission is to find a cure for food allergies, and to keep individuals with food allergies safe and included.  FARE Food Allergy Walks occur all over the United States and help fund food allergy education, advocacy, awareness and research.

 

One participant is the daughter of my friend.  In an effort to raise $5,000 on behalf of her brother who is allergic to eggs, she asked her mom to post this picture she had drawn.  

Shalyn

 

Can you say A-DORABLE?!    And not just sweet and adorable, but thoughtful and altruistic.  What an awesome kid!  

 

The FARE WALK for FOOD ALLERGY is a family-friendly event, so bring along the kids!  I encourage everyone to get involved in FARE walks – they’re fun, benefit a great cause and expose kids with food allergies to a community of people familiar with the challenges they face.  For more information on what they entail as well as dates/locations, please see FARE’s Walk Page here.  

 

For information on how to support Hadley, please see Allergy Shmallergy’s Facebook page.

 

 

An Opportunity to Help July 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 2:24 pm

 

Mandate insurance coverage of Epinephrine Injectors under the Affordable Care Act

 

A reader of Allergy Shmallergy just contacted me with some interesting information.  She informed me that the Afforable Care Act does not cover epinephrine injectors.    These life-saving devices are critical for people with life-threatening food allergies.  I can’t imagine the day-to-day worry I would have if I didn’t know that I had epinephrine handy.

 

Our reader informed me that she has written a petition on Change.org asking the US government to mandate that all insurance plans cover epinephrine autoinjectors.  

 

I urge everyone to take a look at the petition, consider signing and passing along this information. 

 

Mandate Insurance Coverage of Epinephrine Injectors Under the Afforable Care Act

 

Thank you for your consideration on behalf of a fellow reader and me.

 

 

Safe Travels! Apps for Food Allergies July 5, 2014

Summer is a great time to hit the road (or the sky!). But travel can pose some issues for those with food allergies.  New restaurants, meals on the go… they can be hard to sort out safely.  Here are a few apps to play with over the summer that might just help out:  

 

Restaurant Nutrition:

While developed as a way to check for nutritional information of restaurant chains, it also includes ingredient lists whenever possible… Making that last minute rest stop a lot easier to navigate.  Available (free) for iPhone and Android platforms.    

 

Yummly:

So, you’ve spent all day at the beach or on a hike and your gang is exhausted.  Sounds like you’re eating at the rental house tonight!  Do you need a dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free dessert?  Try checking out Yummly.  What I love about this site is that you can search for recipes WITHOUT certain ingredients.  Who doesn’t want to make this amazing recipe?!

Mini Peach Pies

Mini Peach Pies via Yummly.com

Allergy FT:

Traveling abroad with a food allergy can be tricky?  You will want to make absolutely sure that your waiter and chef know you know a food allergy.  Allergy FT translates your food allergy from English into Spanish, French or German allowing you to communicate in roughly 57 countries!  Best of all, no internet connection is involved so no soaring internet rates!

 

 

Emergency Apps:

  • The American Red Cross app may be useful for any number of reasons.  But for us, it’s symptoms and advice on anaphylaxis is particularly helpful.   
  • FindER will use your phone’s GPS to locate the closest ER to wherever you are.  While I hope none of us ever has to use this, it’s good to know it’s available.

 

I’d love to hear of any other apps people are using and finding helpful!  And, of course, safe travels wherever your plans may take you!

 

Some Delicious Ideas for the Fourth of July! July 3, 2014

Filed under: Recipes & Cooking — malawer @ 12:30 am
Tags: , ,

If you have food allergies or are hosting someone with food allergies for the Fourth of July, you’re likely fretting about menu options.

 

Here are some quick and easy ideas for an allergy-friendly Fourth:

 

My Sweetheart Sorbet Pie idea can be made with any flavor sorbet (dairy and nut-free!) and topped with red raspberry, blueberries and banana or pineapple slices for a red, white and blue display.

Allergy Shmallergy:  Sweetheart Sorbet Pie

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Check out these adorable fruit kabobs from The Frugal Girls:

4th of July Fruit Kabobs Recipe Patriotic

 

These drinks from In Katrina’s Kitchen look as adorable as they do refreshing:

 
If the only way to celebrate being American is through Apple Pie, then try these two allergy-friendly pie crust recipes:
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    And, of course, be sure to ask and double check packaging for all hot dog and hamburger buns if you’re allergic to sesame seeds.  For some reason, those little buggers are in everything!  Here are a few brands we’ve had luck with:
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    Hope you all have a safe and fun-filled Fourth of July!
     

     
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