Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Now What? What To Do After Receiving a Food Allergy Diagnosis April 25, 2014

 

The child of a friend of mine was just diagnosed with a peanut allergy.  Until I began to discuss what this meant with her, I had forgotten just how overwhelming the initial part of this process can be.

 

So, what DO you do upon learning you or your child has a food allergy?  Where to begin!?  Don’t panic, take a deep breath and follow these few steps to get started:

 

1.  Find a recommended allergist; preferably one who specializes in food allergies.  Often times, food allergy diagnoses emerge from a pediatric/internist visit or a trip to the emergency room.  And while these professionals are knowledgeable, it’s important to touch base with an allergist who is on top of ever-changing information and treatment.  Our fabulous pediatrician not only has a child with food allergies but is food allergic herself.  And despite that, even SHE defers to our allergist!

 

2.  Fill your prescriptions and learn how to use your auto-injector.   There’s no wrong answer when it comes to choosing which auto-injector to use (see: Auvi-Q vs. EpiPen: Which Is Best for You?) .  And you can learn how to use them here:  Familiarize or Refamiliarize Yourself With How to Use an EpiPen and Auvi-Q: Watch and Learn.  While you’re at the pharmacy, I would pick up a couple of boxes of Benadryl (for kids, at least two liquid packages) to keep in your house and at school.

  

3.  Review your pantry and devise a labeling system.  It’s important to make your home a safe space to eat.  Begin by reading ingredient lists and separate safe and unsafe foods.  Put that dining room table to good use!  And, don’t forget: manufacturing being what it is, many products are made on equipment that contains your allergen and should be put aside until you speak to your allergist.  An example of a labeling system can be found here.

  

4.  Create an Emergency Action Plan and an Emergency On-the-Go Pack.  An Emergency Action Plan eliminates questions and increases your confidence about what to do when certain symptoms arise.  You can have your pediatrician/internist or your allergist fill one out for you. Make a few copies to keep at home, school, in the car, on the fridge, in your On-the-Go Kit, etc.  The more, the better!

 

An Emergency On-the-Go Pack corrals all your emergency medication, including your auto-injector, plus your Emergency Action Plan and a copy of your insurance card into one pouch.  You’ll always know that you have all of your necessary supplies when you leave the house.  Plus, it will make it super-simple to pass your pack between bags or to another caregiver and know that everything your child needs to stay safe is at hand.

 

A few notes:  Jot down questions as they arise in this early part of the process.  Use your questions as discussion points and get clear answers from your allergist.  Please refer to Allergy Shmallergy’s SCHOOL category to get ideas of how to handle allergy issues at your child’s school, starting with Back to School Food Allergy Checklist.

 

Most of all, remain calm!  Managing with a food allergy certainly requires a different perspective on life.  But, it doesn’t need to be stress inducing.  Staying informed and answering each challenge with simple solutions will allow your family to thrive.

 

 

 

Preparing for an Egg-Safe Easter and Avoid Articial Dyes! April 16, 2014

 (Photo: SheKnows)
 

Eggs and Easter are virtually synonymous.  But what do you do when you have an egg allergy?  

 

We had been using plastic eggs to hide safe candy for years.  My food allergic son was thrilled with the hunt, but it just didn’t feel like Easter unless we were sitting around smelly bowls of colored vinegar dyeing eggs.  When he was at the height of his egg allergy, I finally asked our allergist if my son could participate in this fabulous Easter tradition.  He informed us that the shell of an egg is made almost entirely of calcium carbonate – the same material found in sea shells, chalk, and pearls – and NOT the egg protein that my son was so allergic to.   Which meant…. that he could safely handle eggs enough to dye them!  

 

My son still couldn’t eat the eggs themselves, but faced with a choice between jelly beans, peeps and a hard boiled egg…  it didn’t feel like he was missing out!

 
If you are avoiding artificial coloring, try some of these natural dye recipes from Better Homes and Gardens:

 

 

Get Started on Passover with an Egg and Nut Allergy April 9, 2014

Spring holidays are upon us!  And while they are festive, they can be very difficult for those with food allergies.  Particularly if you have an egg or nut allergy.

 

Have no fear:  Allergy Shmallergy is here to help!

 

Let’s first discuss Passover as that is the holiday approaching the soonest.   Passover is a week-long holiday highlighted by a huge feast marked with tradition called a Seder.  Because many families eat according to tradition by avoiding leavened bread, many cooks are improving with matzo this time of year.  This becomes a challenge for us egg-free families, since egg is often used as a binder in food containing matzo.

 

Below is a link to an Egg-Free Matzo Ball recipe I found a few years ago.  There’s nothing like Matzo Ball Soup (at Passover or anytime throughout the year), so this recipe comes in VERY handy!

 

Egg-free eaters, aren’t the only ones who struggle at Passover.  Nuts dot several traditional dishes and desserts, including one right on the seder plate:  Charoset.  The link below also includes a delicious nut-free charoset recipe that your guests will be excited to indulge in.

Allergy-Free Charoset and Egg-Free Matzoh Balls

 

For an egg-free, nut-free dessert, why not try my favorite Sorbet Pie or some other passover friendly filled pie?  I came across this recipe and can’t wait to use it on Monday.  I’m thinking Raspberry Sorbet AND Chocolate Mousse Pies…. Mmmm…

 

Pesach Pie Crust (via food.com)

Shmallergy Sorbet Pie

 

I’ll continue to post any allergy-friendly Passover recipes I come across.  In the meantime, you get cooking!

 

 

 

Play Ball! April 1, 2014

The Washington Nationals have announced their peanut-free days this year and so have many of the MLB and minor-league teams!  Mark your calendars, grab your tickets and bring your glove.  You never know if you’ll catch a fly ball, but you can rest assured knowing that you’ll enjoy the game without worry!

 

Here’s the Nats schedule:

 
PEANUT FREE SEATS
Date Opponent Time
Sat, Apr 26
Nationals vs San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres

1:05 pm
Sun, May 18
Nationals vs New York Mets

New York Mets

1:35 pm
Sat, Jun 21
Nationals vs Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves

7:15 pm
Sat, Jul 19
Nationals vs Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

7:05 pm
Sun, Aug 17
Nationals vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates

5:05 pm
 
 

Check your local team’s website for more information.