Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Have a Happy and SAFE Halloween With These Simple Tips! October 30, 2013

Filed under: Holiday — malawer @ 9:03 pm

Just reposting an article I wrote about how to trick-or-treat safely with food allergies!

 

And, as an addendum:  be sure to read the ingredient lists of the miniaturized candy packs.   Sometimes, the ingredients are somewhat different and can include your allergens while the larger size doesn’t.

 

Happy Haunting!

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Halloween tends to make parents of food allergic children fairly tense.  And, with good reason:  so much peanut-laden and dairy-filled  candy!  So much of it unlabeled in those small snack sizes!

 

Most of us aren’t used to our children being around such an abundant amount of their allergens and we worry how they will feel.

 

But there are a few simple ways to keep kids safe during trick-or-treat time!

 

1.  Have a talk with your kids about the various candies that are not be safe for them.  It’s important to have this discussion before heading out the door on their sugar scavenger hunt so they can make wise decisions when grabbing goodies from plastic pumpkins.

 

2.  Also, remind your child not to eat ANY candy along the way.  All candy consumption should be done under your supervision and ideally, back at a house.

 

3.  If you’ll be trick-or-treating with your child, remember to bring their Emergency On-the-Go-Pack (with EpiPens) and a cellphone in addition to a flashlight. I have often brought a grocery bag to stick any peanutty treats in as we go.

 

4.  Stock up on allergy-friendly candy (or fun Halloween toys, like glow rings and plastic spiders) for your child and let them know you have their favorite treats on hand.  You have several options to work with here:

a.  If you know the neighbors well, it’s a great idea to plant some safe candy around the neighborhood so that your child can get the full experience of trick-or-treating and you get the peace of mind that they’re receiving treats they can enjoy.

b.  If you have a young child, you can follow them door to door and just slip one into your child’s bag in lieu of an allergic treat.

c.  In the case of older kids:  they can exchange their UNsafe loot for safe candy at the end of the night.  Knowing that they have a safe option at home will ensure they have a great time trick-or-treating and prevent them from feeling disappointed if house after house is handing out Peanut M&Ms, for example.

 

5.  Finally, make the fun and inevitable candy swap work for your child’s allergy!  A supervised candy swap can serve your food allergic child well!  Make a pile of all the candy he/she is allergic to and/or doesn’t prefer and let him trade away for things that are safe.  They can either trade with friends (again, under your supervision) or swap with the safe candy/treats you purchased!  Everyone wins!

 

Individually wrapped candy (often in snack sizes) don’t always have ingredient information.  Make the internet your friend in making sure candy is safe for your child:

 
 

Food Allergy-Friendly Ideas for Your Class Halloween Party October 24, 2013

Looking for a fun, allergy-friendly way to spook up your class Halloween party?

 

Here are some fantastic suggestions.  I wish I could claim credit for all of them, but instead I stand in awe of people’s creativity just like you.  I’ve tried to link them to their original posts where I could for recipes and instructions.  Check these out!

 
 

My boys will LOVE these from The Outlaw Mom:

Fun & Easy Halloween Food
 
 
And, I’m 100% doing this for our pre-Trick-or-Treating appetizer from My Journey To Health.  Maybe hummus instead of the dairy-based dip?  *Just remember to use tahini-free hummus if you have a sesame seed allergy!*
 
 
This would be so simple – and healthy – for a class party via Decorating By Day:
  
  

Who doesn’t love pigs in a blanket?!  I mean…Hot Dog Mummies.  Great idea via Seakettle:

Mummy dogs!
 
 
 

Everyone loves breadsticks!  To make them allergy-friendly, skip the cheese and use dairy-free butter and you’re good to go!

Breadstick Bones and Marinara

 
 

Are you serious?!  Peeps makes Halloween ghosts!

Creepy Halloween Food & Spooky Halloween Food | Best #Halloween Costumes & Decor
 
 

I’m so inspired by these creations, I’m now planning a Halloween party just for our family!

 

Stay Healthy This Winter – Flu Vaccine For the Severely Egg Allergic October 23, 2013

Filed under: Health — malawer @ 9:32 am
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Flu - Allergy

Here’s some good news for everyone.  Researchers have come up with Flublock which uses recombinant DNA technology to prevent the flu.  Now available and approved for adults ages 18-49.

 

This is great news for those who are severely allergic to eggs!  Instead of using traditional vaccine components including egg, it uses an insect virus to help protect us from the dreaded flu.  Not only is it safe for those with an egg allergy, but it also protects those vaccinated against all strains of the flu and represents an advancement in the vaccine manufacturing process.

 

So, don’t cringe too much when you’re headed for your shot.  Relish in your good health and remember that you’re a part of the future of medicine!

 

And, if you’re looking to vaccinate those allergic to egg UNDER the age of 18, there’s more good news.  The CDC – endorsed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology ( ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – just recently updated their recommendations regarding flue vaccines for the egg allergic.  The October 2012 edition of the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology stated that special precautions (such as receiving the vaccine under a doctor’s care and remaining under observation for 30 minutes following the vaccine) are likely not necessary.

 

In emphasizing that the benefits of the flu vaccine outweigh the risk, allergist Dr. John Kelso, of the ACAAI, said, “In a large number of research studies published over the last several years, thousands of egg allergic children, including those with a severe life-threatening reaction to eating eggs, have received injectable influenza vaccine (IIV) as a single dose without a reaction. ”

 

**As always, contact your allergist with any concerns and for guidance specific to your individual healthy history.**

 

Auvi-Q vs. EpiPen: Which Is Best For You? October 4, 2013

Filed under: Preparedness — malawer @ 9:12 am
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As most of you are aware, there are many different types of epinephrine auto-injectors available these days.  Up until recently, EpiPens ruled the marketplace.  But recently, a new product, Auvi-Q, has been getting a lot of buzz.

 

So, if you’re asked which one you’d like to be prescribed, as I recently was by our allergist, which will you choose?

 

Here are the pros and cons to both as I see it:

  

EpiPens:

  • Because they dominated the market for so long, EpiPens are recognizable.  In an emergency, that might mean someone who does not have food allergies may know to look for one and may be familiar with what to do with it.
  • They are larger (especially because you’re carrying two of them), ensuring that they are easy to find in a purse or sports bag when seconds count.
  • EpiPens have been in use for a long time, making them tried and tested.
  • Because they are large, EpiPens are hard for men to carry.
  • In a panic, you have to either remember your injection instructions or read them on the outside of the pen itself – something that someone who is frazzled may have trouble concentrating on.
 

Auvi-Q:

  • There’s no doubt about it, Auvi-Q is sleek and small.  This is likely appealing to teenagers who may be tempted to leave their epinephrine at home.
  • It instructs you!  So, even if you’ve never touched an auto-injector before, chances are you could properly administer epinephrine using the Auvi-Q.
  • It fits in your pocket.  I think this will be very helpful to both adolescents and men.  Women carry bags, so no matter the size of the auto-injector, it likely fits.  But men… well, the “Murse” doesn’t look like it’s really catching on.  Dads can stick the Auvi-Q in their pocket while they’re out on the town with the kids.  My own husband is planning to leave it in his pocket when he coaches my son’s baseball team this weekend.
  • The Auvi-Q is about the size of a cell phone.  Again, this makes it convenient for a pocket, but less so for locating it in a large purse.
 

So, what do I decide to do?  Well, I chose both!  I want my babysitters and other visitors to my house to have the emergency instinct to go for what they know:  the EpiPens.  But, I love the convenience of carrying the Auvi-Q for my husband, in particular, ensuring that my son’s emergency meds are always on-hand.

 

Both Auvi-Q and EpiPens have a solid place in the marketplace.  Both administer epinephrine which saves lives!

 

Which one did you choose?