Tag Archives: nut allergies

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

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 😉

The Mighty!

Perhaps you are here because you have been directed here by The Mighty, the online site that focuses on Real People Real Stories!  

If so, WELCOME!  I hope that you enjoy Allergy to the Max!  A site I started to find better ways to manage being a mommy to Max.  He’s a tough nut to crack, which is ironic considering he can’t even TOUCH A NUT!

If not, then I hope that you’ll hop on over to The Mighty and see a post that they recently picked up!  Super excited about it.

Here it is:  5 Tips for Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies Abroad .

Enjoy the read and please like & share,

Brooke

Mom of Max

Raising a Nutty Kid…My child’s #TBT and Reaction story.

My son did not have a killer kiss.  It was, however, a HUGE wake-up that it could actually happen.  I have shared my son’s story before, and since today is #TBT Your child’s reaction and story, I thought I would just link it in here, so you have a chance to read.

As in every story, his is evolving…every day.  And, every day, I learn more about him, what makes him sick, how I fight every day for his life, and try not to panic about his future.

But I know that I am not alone.  So many of you out there are like me.  Fighting for your children’s safety, too.  I commend you!  Carry on, Mom and Dad warriors.  You rock!

Here’s my kid’s story.  And a great look at how Maxwell’s allergies have sure humbled this once very arrogant momma 😉

Raising a Nutty Kid—Maxwell’s Story!

turnittealweek

When your allergy kid is allergic to the family pet


Oh man!  When I was pregnant with my son, it was hard enough…he wanted to bring me to an early grave.  And then he was born and tried to go to his early grave…But we made it through ALL of that just to find out he was allergic to life.  Pretty much everything.  INCLUDING the family pets.

Now, perhaps you have not met me in person—so you may not UNDERSTAND the enormity of this situation.

So, let me clarify how serious this diagnosis was…

At first, when we finally went to have him tested at 13 months old, I assumed we would get the diagnosis that he was allergic to cats, much like his dad.  And this was not going to be a big problem for me since we didn’t have any cats.  My husband has a hard time even breathing around cats, so it was likely we would NEVER get a cat.  But my son kept having problems around animals, so we thought, since we were testing him, we would find out for sure.

We told the doctor, “Test him for cats!”

And the doctor said, “And we’ll test him for dogs, too.”

“Um, okay…” we said, not taking this testing serious since no one we knew was allergic to dogs.

BUT THEN THERE WAS MAX…

And sure enough, “You son doesn’t have an allergy to cats, he has an allergy to dogs!”

Okay, to be honest, i heard that he had a peanut allergy and milk allergy and … SAY WHAT????!!!!  A dog allergy?!

This, in my world, is an IMPOSSIBLE allergy to have.

What you need to really hear…like from my heart…is that I had at that moment 2 actual children and 3 other babies—and those babies were my DOGS!

One dog was the same age as my daughter…and, for the longest time, it was only my daughter and that dog (Sierra—a beautiful, gorgeous, lovely, hyper and ever-so-bothersome bumbling GIANT SCHNAUZER).  For 6 and 1/2 years, I had Adelyne and Sierra.  I had no other children but those two.  ONLY those two.  And they were lovely and beautiful…and I know one was my actual baby—but the big dog was my second.  Max came 3rd, you know.

So when I heard the diagnosis that my dog was an allergy for my son, I did not know what to do.

I approached the doctor, “So, um…I have 3 dogs…AND I LOVE THEM AND THEY MUST STAY…What should I do?”

I am sure the doctor has seen many reactions before—including reactions to people finding out that their beloved family pets were causations of allergic reactions, so he seemed unfazed by my panic.

“Listen,” he said, “I can’t tell you to get rid of your dogs.  What I am telling you is that your son is allergic to them.  Now what most people don’t realize is that while many people are allergic to the dander of cats, many are allergic to the saliva and urine of dogs.  So, as long as your son does not have breathing issues or you keep the dogs from licking him, you will probably be okay.”

You have no idea how the relief of knowing that I would be okay (which meant I would probably get to keep my puppies) made me feel.  Super good.

So we left the office with Epi Pen instructions and warnings to stay away from a huge list of milk-related words (that we still can’t pronounce) and every tree nut warning with occasional other things that I just can’t keep up with it all (just kidding—I try hard, it is my son’s life, you know)…and I decided to see if this doctor was spot on in regards to the dog or just a quack 😉

My sister has two dogs:  one hypoallergenic dog and one Boxer.  Max could lay all over them.  No problems.  Hmmm…perhaps the doctor was wrong?!

My mom and dad, one also hypoallergenic puppy, Lick, lick, lick!  Jump all over him.

Welting of eyes and face.  Sneezing.

Okay…Doc was not a quack.  And right.

And so I paid closer attention—how was his breathing?  No problems?  No problems.  Phew!

So, what did we do?

We had to wash his face and hands with soap and water, give him a dose of an allergy medicine to help with the welting/swelling, and then teach my son to not let little adorable puppies lick him all over his face.

THIS IS A HARD THING TO TEACH.

You see—what kid DOESN’T love a dog?  All kids love dogs!  (okay—most).

My son loves his dogs.  He thinks that they are the cat’s meow 😉  Seriously—he thinks they are the best inventions next to potato chips (which, if they are salt only, he can eat).

And, since they do not cause him any breathing problems, we have had to work with our son over the years, since finding out about his allergy, that he can love dogs…he can love on dogs…but he needs to not let them lick him.  He needs to not rub his eyes after touching them.  And he needs to no let them sit on him/or his chair.

On top of all of that, we have had to leave our dogs mostly outside, and we also, when they are inside, have taught them that they have a corner.  It’s not an option…It’s a must.

When I notice him rubbing his eyes slightly more than normal or sneezing a bit out of the ordinary, I realize the dogs have snuck out of their corner and into his realm of the world.  Where I then have to vacuum and clean his chair (where he sits in the living room) and admonish the pups to their corners again.

Okay, just kidding…they don’t get admonished—but they are retrained to stay out/off of the living room furniture and carpet.

It’s hard to take man’s best friend away from man—but, when you are allergic to said best friend, you do have to find ways to keep that best friend AND your child healthy at the same time.

It is possible—as long as there are not breathing problems that go along with it—to do.

And, so, we get to keep our pets — even with our Allergy Kid Max!

When your allergy kid can’t eat Cheetos!

Cheetos are not the healthiest—but they are close to the best!!!  And every time my non-allergy oldest buys a bag, I feel tremendous pity for my allergy middle.  He watches his sisters devour my favorite treat.  He knows it will bring him owies—but you can still see the longing in his eyes.

Well, what do you know???  I found a fantastic chip in Poland that is “Ketchup” flavored—but really tastes like the tamer cousin of the Cheeto.  Hurrah!

And the best part—they really are shaped like dinosaurs.  What fun!

So, to all you dairy allergy moms and dads living in Europe—I hope you can find these, too.  

Be careful, though, the ketchup one is the only dairy-free one I have seen.

And for Gluten-Free Mommies and Daddies out there…these are for your kids, too!

Hey—they may not be the healthiest snack around, but they sure are fun.

Smacznego, Kiddos!

  
(These come out of the Slovak Republic, according to distribution.  Brand:  McLloyds)

Potty Training the Allergy Kid. Task: Impossible.

allergy kid toilet training

Okay, so potty training is actually not Task Impossible—but it sure is difficult.

If you have an allergy kid, you have quickly realized that when they eat or touch something that bothers him/her, his/her body reacts.

My son is very sensitive to three things:  atmosphere around him (such as a restaurant with peanuts at the tables or an airplane with peanuts in the air); touch (when dairy or nuts come in contact with his skin); and ingestion (placing the allergen in his mouth —- even if it comes out before he swallows it).  And when his little body (he turned 3 in the middle of May) is attacked by something that it does not like, he has many reactions:

Breathing difficulty

Welting on his skin

Vomiting

and Diarrhea

And it is this last that is proving to make potty training a really hard task.

If you have been following my blog, you will see that both my husband and I are religious about making sure that we check and double check any food item we give our son to make sure that it is what we call at our home “Max Friendly”.  We are also adamant and very strict about the zoo rule:  Don’t feed the Max!  Maxwell is not to accept any food from ANY person without me personally seeing it and agreeing and giving it to him myself.

YET—yet as much as we prep and read and prepare and care—it is such a hard world to live in with allergies, and I find time and time again Maxwell reacting to something that I could have sworn was Maxwell Friendly.

Even when I go back to the product and look again, I can’t seem to find what might have been the problem.

And, to be honest, friends, sometimes it is simply the production equipment itself that can be a problem.

Anyhow, when you have an allergy child, you, more than most, will notice that on more occasions than perhaps took place with your other children, your allergy child has diarrhea.

I do notice this.

Max does have it.

And potty training is quite difficult because of it.

So, what is the trick and how do you do it?

Those are GREAT questions.

This is what I am able to do:

At home, Maxwell runs around naked.  This past week, he has had quite a bit of diarrhea, so he is frequently running to his potty chair.  After some time when he is tired of running back and forth from his potty chair, I simply put him back in a diaper and give the little kid a break.

In public, still as of now, he wears a diaper.  It is far easier and safer for Max and Mommy that he does not have to worry about his tummy or accidents.

And I don’t stress.

Sometimes as a mom or a dad, we stress too much.  We want to be looked at as all together and a-okay in the world around us.  But the stress is unnecessary and often causes misery.  So, take a deep breath—and don’t stress.

My allergy kid is so much work already (no hate mail—i LOVE my kid) that the added stress of trying to regulate his little tummy while potty training at the same time is a lot.  And I mean A LOT!  Therefore, we go about our days the best we can.  Using the potty toilet as much as possible—and giving the little man a break when he really needs it.

In public—especially when episodes of an upset stomach are evident—a diaper is a our best friend.

And Max and Mommy are most happy for it!

So, Allergy Mom and Allergy Dad, potty training your allergy kid may take a little more work, especially if your kiddo has a sensitive stomach that requires a bit more attention (and most allergy kids’ tummies do).  Do your best.  Don’t stress.  And let your kiddo do the rest!

God bless on this exciting journey (yes, that was sarcastic-not sure I’d call potty training exciting 😉 ),

Brooke