Keep your hand out the cookie jar, your finger out of your nose, and don’t double dip:
5 More Tips for Keeping Your Allergy Kid Safe!
Okay, obviously the finger out of the nose is for pretty much everyone. So let’s chalk that one up to common knowledge and all around good sanitation. But the following 5 tips are especially important if you have a child with severe or life-threatening allergies where mere contamination by touch causes very severe reactions.
I have a kid like this, and so we also LIVE these at our home (and I was reminded of them by some great friends on the other side of the world).
Before I share the tips, however, I do want you to know that I am raising two littles and one big. Maxwell (2 years), my allergy kid, is sandwiched between Adelyne (9 years of age), and Josephine (15 months of age). Therefore, I especially emphasize these with my oldest daughter as she has understanding. As for my last little, Josephine, I raise her the same as I raise Maxwell, with rare occasions where she gets yogurt or ice cream of her own (the owie kind—that’s how we explain it to Max). I find this a lot easier since they pretty much live and breathe the other.
So, while my Allergy Tips will apply to all, I have found it easiest to raise my two littles as equals. And Josephine doesn’t know differently, so life is still one big party all around!
Keep your hand out of the bag of chips and DON’T double dip!
My friend reminded me of this brilliant tip that we do live at our home. Pour the bagged item onto your plate without having your hand reach into it (pretzels, popcorn, chips, the like) and pass it right along.
This may sound silly, but when you have a kid like mine who even reacts severely to contact with what bothers him, this is actually BRILLIANTLY sound advice. It keeps the items inside of the bag clean while allowing the shared item to be shared again. Once a foreign hand enters the bag, I have to tell my son that he cannot have any because they are owie.
After all, I don’t know if the foreign hand just had cheese chips or peanuts before reaching inside, therefore, the rule stands firm and sticks.
Always check ingredients—even in your most trusted store-bought items.
I was reminded of this by another friend, and she is VERY right. It’s something I do every time, but sometimes we forget to remember what we always do because it becomes the ordinary.
But it was a very good reminder for me to share and this is why—companies are constantly changing their items and ingredients. Therefore, just because on Monday it was safe does not mean on Tuesday it is the same.
Which means—check and double check! Just like your test answers at school before you turn it in to the teacher.
That was wise advice when we were in school—and its wisdom rings JUST AS TRUE as we live this allergy life with our kid!
Use a separate knife, cutting board, and watch out for the sneaky sponge!
We use so many knives and forks and cutting boards it’s crazy! But it’s safe. And I have seen so many fewer reactions on my little man’s face since we started living this that it is just plain worth it.
Don’t you recall that horrendous ant bite or mosquito bite that just wouldn’t quit! I mean. It was so painful and irritating that you just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It consumed your mind. You couldn’t stop itching it. Well, that bite is how my son reacts when he comes into contact with milk.
And it makes him have trouble breathing. And he welts. And it irritates him.
This is just from contact/contamination. This is not from eating the item.
So, if you can reflect upon that horrible bug bite, you will understand WHY we live this tip. It takes more counter space, more dishwasher space, and requires more effort—but it’s worth it.
As for that sneaky sponge, let me share—perhaps you use a dishcloth. Perhaps a sponge. If you use either, it is a shared item. Which means, if you go and clean a milk spill with the same cloth that you clean another area, you will most likely have a reaction from your child.
My little man constantly was breaking out all over his face and I couldn’t figure out why. I mean, we religiously either only give him food we make or food we have read ingredients of 50 million times. So what could the culprit be?
It was then that it hit me—the sneaky sponge (dishcloth—we use them both).
And ever since we came to this realization (and bought our little man’s cups his own scrubber) and make sure if we clean milk with the dishcloth a new one comes out (new does not mean brand new—it means laundered)…Ever since we adjusted all of this, his face has been far far far far less irritated.
I have to say far far far far less—because—as in life—sometimes we make mistakes and he suffers the consequences for our foggy minds of remembering.
But, overall, we do a good job—and our son thanks us for it!
Another friend reminded me of this—which we also live under our roof.
Make and bake and freeze—oh my!
You will find yourself making a lot more food than you ever imagined. After all, we live a great world of freezer-worthy items. But what WE never noticed before was how many ingredients are actually in all of that glorious stuff called food. One million. And that means you have a LONG list to read through before you know if it’s safe or not.
In the end, even after all of that reading where you have now become a PhD student in the terminology, the package still ends with: May contain…
It also ends with: Could be processed in a plant with…
And you sigh. Do you risk it? Do you buy it? How will your child react?
I feel you, allergy mom. I feel you.
And so I say this—the Internet is FULL of brilliant and VERY tasty recipes JUST FOR YOU!
But I do also know how time consuming it is to make this food—believe me. I have three kids, live in a foreign country, am a pastor’s wife, and work full time for our foundation that helps rescue the forgotten.
I know—and so I feel your sigh.
BUT—and this is where the last little shred of your strength should be renewed.
BUT—we live in this magical world of electricity (if you are reading this via the internet, I know you have it, too!). And with electricity comes beautiful inventions such as freezers.
We have a rather worldly large fridge. I say worldly large because in Poland (where we live), our fridge is enormous. In the States, it’s normal.
And this enormous fridge has been one of the best investments in our lives. Especially now that we have an allergy kid.
So, this is what we do…
We make his waffles from scratch (brilliantly delicious Belgian-style waffles). And we serve them immediately (because they are divine hot all smothered with good stuff), freezing the rest. They are just as divine the next day.
How do you warm them? Pop the waffle in your toaster and voile! It’s as if you just made it.
We do this with so much of his food.
And my friend suggested also keeping premade cupcakes in the freezer, that way when it’s party time somewhere else, you have your kid’s cupcake all raring to go!
Friends—we live in this world of electricity. Use it. Abuse it. And freeze it! (okay—don’t really abuse it—it just flowed).
The longer you begin to live this allergy life, the easier it eventually becomes. It’s just hard to start. Believe me. I know!
Tip 5 and Don’t Ever Forget It:
There is one thing that we constantly worry about as an allergy parent—it’s being that ANNOYING ALLERGY PARENT!
But I am here today to tell you this is the most important Tip of the Day: BE THAT ANNOYING ALLERGY PARENT (Respectfully, of course)
I get it. I am living it. And I am that parent as much as it drives me insane to be it.
But there is something that we perhaps don’t do as that annoying allergy parent—it’s tell others that, perhaps, they can, you know, keep the peanuts away from your son…
You see, we took an airline trip from Poland to Norway to visit family. On the flight, you purchase items. And one of the items you can purchase is peanuts.
I hadn’t thought about it before the flight—and when on the flight and people begin purchasing items, I didn’t think much of it UNTIL my son’s face turned bright red and his eyes wide. He looked at me and didn’t say a word.
That’s when I looked at my husband and my husband said, “I smell it! Peanuts!”
I rushed my son to the bathroom, hoping to lock him out of the general assembly area and began giving him his rescue inhaler and allergy medicines. I washed his face and began asking him questions. I told the stewardess and told her to keep medical alert on HIGH ALERT, and she immediately had everyone put their peanut snacks away.
I got out my son’s epi-pens and panicked.
Do I use them? Do I not.
I know the answer you hear everyone say—GIVE IT!
But when you are there you really begin to wonder.
My son did not ingest the item. We were not in that close of proximity to it. And he did not touch the item.
I prayed and sat with him in the bathroom washing his face and talking with him—hoping the bathroom ventilation would be different from the regular galley’s—and we spent the remainder of the flight in the bathroom stall (until it was time to land), as he returned to normal coloring and happy smiling.
After we got out, we got yelled at by the stewardess. And we deserved every second of the lecture. “TELL US IMMEDIATELY AT THE START OF THE FLIGHT THAT YOUR SON HAS ALLERGIES!”
Yes. She was right.
Yes. Our son was safe.
But, no, no, no, no, no…we would NEVER EVER do that again.
We will not fail to be the ONE REASON that you and I can’t eat those divine peanuts on the plane anymore.
I LOVE THOSE PEANUTS. I am sure you do, too.
But we will be THOSE people. The ones that keep you from snacking on them at the airlines.
We should have been THOSE people to begin—and our son suffered the consequences because we were not.
But we will never do that again.
Yes, Allergy Mom and Dad, you will be the annoying parent that keeps people like me (even though I am also you) from enjoying peanuts on the airlines—and other such stuff—but take it from a mom that lived it…
It’s not worth the scare to NOT speak up.
So as I walk this path as allergy mom, I am learning bit by bit how to speak up and scare people.
My son’s life depends on it.
Therefore, my final Tip 5 for the day, “BE THE ANNOYING ALLERGY PARENT (Respectfully, of course)” needs to be truly felt. Truly heard. And truly lived.
Your kid’s life depends on that.
Your kid’s life depends on you.
Now, what else can you share with me as we walk this road together?