Category Archives: Anaphylaxis

Dedicated or Shared? Cross contamination is a VERY real thing.

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If you must know, my children LOVE Oreo cookies.

I mean, I have read the studies that refer to them as #addictive as cocaine (by the way, unsubstantiated).  And I have even blocked a “former” Facebook friend when I posted the first picture of my youngest, Josephine, enjoying with great delight her first Oreo at about a year old.  This said “friend” went on to share my post of my daughter, attached with said articles mentioned above, and then wrote how HORRIBLE I was to feed my daughter these delights.

Needless to say, I wrote this lady a letter that shared my opinion of her exploitation of my daughter and immediately blocked her.

Some people!

But, regardless of this lady’s opinion on my parenting, I love Oreos, my husband loves them, and my children love them.

Best of all, they are “supposedly” allergy-friendly for our Max.

That’s a miracle.  To find a cookie that does not include any sort of nut or milk product?  It’s like finding an oasis in the desert.

When we go to birthday parties?  I always make sure Max has his Oreos to eat while the other kids gorge on cake.  Because of the creamy goodness, Max has never yet complained!  And, thankfully, that has allowed me to not make my kid his own cake for every birthday party he attends.

I mean, I am not a baker, folks!

But there is a big thing about processing, and Oreo just recently had to answer to the calls of it.  It is called “Dedicated” or “Shared” processing lines.

Basically, it means that there are processing lines dedicated to be free of any allergen product to touch it.  Or there are shared lines that mean that allergens touch the processing line.

This may sound like a lot, but, believe me, I have the child that IS the one to respond to cross-contamination from “Shared” lines.

Just the other day, I returned from Torun.  Torun is my favorite city in Poland, and it is where the Polish people claim to be the “home” of gingerbread.  Many parts of Europe claim this.

But it is DEFINITELY the home of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer that discovered that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric theory).

In any case, it’s a wonderland of science, beauty, history, and GINGERBREAD!

Most gingerbread, my son has been able to eat.

Therefore, when I checked and double checked the ingredients of the cookie I was going to bring him from Torun, I bought it confident of the fact that it contained no allergens.

Max was so excited.

He had his cookie!  It was a bear!  He couldn’t wait!

And then he took his first bite.

“My tongue is burning, Momma!”

An then welting began on his forehead.

Needless to say,  my heart sank.

It was IMPOSSIBLE to give my son ANYTHING!  My heart broke, tears filled my eyes, and I began our allergy routine to care for my son.

I told Max how sorry I was that he had owies, and I was so sorry that I couldn’t buy him a special souvenir.

As is with most allergy kids, my son, used to his fate and greatly disliking pain that comes with eating something “owie”, said in utter graciousness, “That’s okay, Momma.  Next time just bring me some gum or Oreos.”

Most likely, the gingerbread I brought Max was baked on a cookie tray that apparently must have been shared with something that makes Max hurt.

Dedicated or Shared?

This wasn’t the first time Max has reacted to something that was made with allergy-free ingredients.  But it was the most recent time.  And it just reiterates for me the fact that ingredients are NOT enough.

Dedicated or Shared?

Either word carries with it joy or pain.

My son is proof of that.

***

Here is a recent article sharing the “safety” of the plain varieties of Oreo Cookies for those of us living in the allergen-world:

Regarding the Manufacture of Oreos with Respect to Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Good News! I am to be published again…

first day of school

Well, I got GREAT news again today.  I have a second article picked up by The Mighty that will be published in the future.  When it is published, they will send me the email with the link, which I will then pass along to you.

In the meantime, my ALLERGY BOY is officially in the 5/6 year old class at our local school, and the school is scared.  I am scared.  Max’s dad is scared.  I think we are ALL scared.  In a small village, Max is the first to arrive carrying EpiPens and life-threatening allergies.  But it has been hashed out: he will only ever consume or touch his food.

This may not seem like a big deal in your country where food allergies are well known, discussed and people are pro-active on the fight-BUT in the country which we reside, it is still a very big unknown, under discussed, and, therefore, very scary for all of us in the game.

Emphasizing how scary this life we walk in this world we walk is, I bring you an absolutely tragic story of a woman that, after being repeatedly assured at a restaurant in Hungary her food was nut free in all ways, suffered anaphylactic shock that has left her in a state of suffering from life-altering brain injuries.

I have already watched my son receive CPR treatment while he was in a full-coma in the ICU.  The nurses kicked us out and bagged our son while waiting for the doctor to arrive.  It is because of their life-saving treatments, he appears okay.  Eventually they were able to intubate him and get a steady flow of oxygen going.

But, the thing is, every single day that I walk my son outside and purchase a food item for him, I risk this exact thing happening.  Because, no matter how many guarantees of safety we are given, my son walks a very unforgiving road.

Fear makes me want to hide him away.  But that is not living.

And so we walk.  Hoping for life.

***

Please click here to watch the video and read the link:

Heartbreaking scenes on This Morning as ex-producer left paralysed by nut allergy is comforted by Ruth Langsford on show

Will this make me die?

nungesser 3

My poor little man.  He LOVES Kinder Eggs.

What are those, you may ask?  OH THEY ARE HEAVEN ENCASED IN CHOCOLATE, I may add.

They are brilliant itty bitty little toys that half of the world loves, the other half hates.  The parents, we are a mixture of in-between.

There are YouTubes.  Millions and millions of hits that have children seriously JUST UNWRAPPING the Kinder Egg and showing what is inside this chocolate delight.

It’s ridiculous…but yet guess what my children choose to watch when they get TV?

Yes.  That’s right—The Kinder Egg kids and these ridiculous toys.

But my children love them…just like the kid next door.  And they are FANTASTIC for bribery!

Yes, I proudly bribe my children and expect great results from said bribery 😉

Even my allergy kid LOVES these surprise eggs…He just has to get a little more creative when opening them.

Sometimes he smashes them open with a hammer.

Other times, he puts on latex gloves.

Once I wrapped his hands in tin foil.

Another time, plastic wrap.

We have taught him to break it open.  Then he waits for us to move the chocolate, clean the table, and wipe down the plastic egg surprise container.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS????  You may ask.

Isn’t this a LOT of work?

Yes.  It is.  We do it because in this life he leads, it’s a small amount of time for my boy to be “just one of the guys!”  Even though Just One of the Guys requires lots of prep and cleaning work.

But he is thrilled each time—even though he can’t eat the treat.

Today, however, he surprised me.  I was cleaning the mess that was made (his sister went poopy on the potty, earning her and Maxie a kinder egg—see post here), when Maxwell stated, “Is chocolate what will kill me???”

I stopped and stared.

He got it.

He got that there are foods out there that will kill him.

That if he eats or ingests or even samples them, he very very very very well could die.

And I am not sure if at that moment I was okay, happy, relieved, or sad.

Maybe I was a mixture of ALL because it’s the reality of his world.  But it’s not the reality of mine.  Or his dad’s or his sisters or even his cousins.

My son could die if he simply ingests the wrong food.

And we live every moment of every day making sure that his food is safe so that he will live.

Boy—when I woke this morning, I had NO IDEA that a Kinder Egg would bring such perspective into my life.

Not just the annoying little plastic toy 😉

Unintentional Allergy Pumpkin!

My allergy kid doesn’t live where Trick or Treating is common, so he has never really been.  But we still have a lot of fun this season—and despite not knowing about this #tealpumpkin thing-y, he still made his own pumpkin—and it turned out all allergy friendly!  How cute!!!

The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies…

Do you honestly want to know one of the FIRST things I did when I left all 3 of my children with my hubs and went to visit my family in Arizona????

I BOUGHT, ATE, AND ENJOYED PEANUTS!!!!

And I felt guilty the ENTIRE time.

I ate them thinking that I shouldn’t.  After all, we have been a SERIOUSLY peanut-free home for at least 2 years.

And, second of all, I felt as if I was cheating on my kid Maxwell (that I could kill with my peanuts)…AND ESPECIALLY my daughter Adelyne (age 10—no allergies) because she was suppose to be on the trip with me—eating peanuts right alongside of me.  Snacking.  On peanuts.  No worries.  Carefree…

At home, if she EVER eats a peanut at a friend’s home or touches one—she has to immediately wash her hands and brush her teeth—and then MAKE SURE that her toothbrush is not touching her brother’s (just in case there is cross-contamination in toothbrush remnants???!!!).

Friends…you should seriously know that it is not just the allergy kid—NOR the allergy parents—that live every single moment of their days on edge…It’s the siblings, too.

And it is just as tough for them—especially because they are kids.  WE MAKE MISTAKES as parents in regards to our kids and their allergies.  Which means, kids make mistakes, too.  After all, they are kids.

Here is one mom’s honest look on raising her now 9-year-old who lives with egg and peanut allergies, featured on Huffington Post.

As a mom of a bubble boy (pretty much he ONLY will touch or eat food I hand him personally)…

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I hear her.

Notice each of my kids have their own bubble blowers???  BECAUSE MAX DOESN’T SHARE ANYTHING that goes in his mouth.  After all, Josephine ate yogurt for lunch.  He welts at the touch of milk…he vomits at the ingestion of beef…he breaks out to the peanut kiss.

Did I say, I hear her????  Because I do.

Enjoy the read found on Huffington Post:  The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies

xo b

Food Allergy Fact: The Many Words That Mean MILK

turnittealweek

Today I am going to share with you some information about Milk Allergies.

Here are some facts taken from foodallergy.org :

  1.  Approximately 2.5 percent of children younger than three years of age are allergic to milk.
  2. Sensitivity to cow’s milk varies from person to person. Some people have a severe reaction after ingesting a tiny amount of milk. Others have only a mild reaction after ingesting a moderate amount of milk. Reactions to milk can be severe and life-threatening (read more about anaphylaxis).
  3. Individuals who are allergic to cow’s milk are often advised to also avoid milk from other domestic animals. For example, goat’s milk protein is similar to cow’s milk protein and may, therefore, cause a reaction in individuals who have a milk allergy.
  4. Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein.
  5. Studies have found that a very small percentage of children with milk allergy are also allergic to beef. Talk with your allergist to see if you should remove beef from your milk-allergic child’s diet.  (relation of meat and milk allergies)

Before we continue, this is how Maxwell Loren feels about all of his allergies 😉

myallergymaxbeingsilly

Changing it up a bit, we will now take a look at words that don’t say MILK but mean that they are STILL milk (or byproducts of it).

It makes it really difficult when looking through products if you don’t know these words—and it makes for severe pain or difficulty for your child if you MISS these words.

So, here goes!  And, yes, it is extremely overwhelming.  And a HUGE kudos to www.kidswithfoodallergies.org for compiling such detailed information for children and parents like my Maxie Moo and me/Richard (as the parents), as we need it desperately.

Click on this link for an AWESOME and very comprehensive but ONLY 2-page, easy to read, PDF on MILK ALLERGIES AND HIDDEN WORDS.

I’m on my way to printing it out for me as I type this as well.

MILK ALLERGIES AND HIDDEN WORDS

It will include words like:

Casein & caseinates,

Galactose

Ghee

Lactyc yeast

Recaldent

Rennet

Whey

Oh…and so much more!

Again—to get the entire PDF, click on the above link:  Milk Allergies and Hidden Words.  You will really appreciate the list and all of the time and effort people put into it.

I hope that this helps your allergy journey—if even a little!

God bless,

Brooke

P.S.  I know, I know…you are like me and want to hide from these things, but—since we can’t—let’s do this together as a TEAM—encouraging one another and sharing all of the information we can, so that we are better able to serve our children!

Speaking of hiding, here’s Max playing hide and seek with his precious sister, Josephine.  I found him!

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Turn it Teal and Sarah Jessica Parker

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Today is Turn it Teal and Allergy Awareness!

My friends, I live in a country that eats a LOT of nuts and uses dairy for everything.  It is virtually impossible to even take my son to a restaurant to eat.

At one restaurant recently, every single thing on the menu had either nuts or dairy in it.

SERIOUSLY.

Except the salad—and what 3 year old runs around eating a salad???  Not mine.  And, truthfully, nearly every salad had nuts.

So what did I do?  I asked for a fresh bowl of fruit so that he could eat at the table with the rest of us (No, I was not prepared with a full meal.  Sorry, folks.  Real mom sometimes = unprepared).

It was a bit of a fight, but eventually the waiter said he could bring a bowl of fresh fruit for my son.

When he brought it, you would NEVER believe what he brought.

JAM.

Strawberry jam.

Raspberry jam.

Blueberry jam.

And then bananas that the chef smashed up into a puree.

My son took one look at the bowl of jam and played with it.  But did not eat it.

Listen, I know it’s my fault for being ill-prepared at a restaurant.  But, to be fair, I did not expect to see a menu without a SINGLE item outside of salad on it for my allergy kid.  And I thought asking for fresh fruit could tide him over until we had to go.

Except the fresh fruit was jam.

And jam is not something most of us will eat by the spoonful.

I understand that I am the one that lives in a country that eats nuts (especially walnuts) on everything and uses milk or butter in nearly everything, but I also know that my son lives here, and I know that I am not the only mom in Poland with a kid that has these allergies.

Poland is GREAT at labeling their items.  Better than other countries that I have seen.  So, I am so grateful for that when I go to grocery stores for shopping.

But, public outings are still so hard with my kid.

And, so, Poland, I ask that as this week approaches—the Turn it Teal and Allergy Awareness Week, that we all understand that allergies aren’t just a nuisance—they are life or death issues.

My son has them.

And he is not alone.

Here are some videos and articles and information that I am VERY happy is out there…and I am VERY happy a public face is behind one of them, Sarah Jessica Parker, whose son has a peanut/nut allergy…

It’s when faces are seen and voices are heard that our struggle becomes more widely recognized and real to the many out there that don’t have to fear, day in and out, for their loved ones’ lives.

So, I hope you have a couple clicks and watch as we begin to address the world with our Allergy Awareness Voice!

My son’s very life depends on it.

xo b

Turn it Teal!

Sarah Jessica Parker on “The View” (her son has peanut/nut allergies and had an anaphylactic episode—that’s how they found out)

Anaphylaxis for Reel