Thursday, October 23, 2008

Food Allergies in Children

I read a recent post on dealing with food allergies in children. I've always been sensitive to the dangers of food allergies. When I was working outside the home, my job responsibilities as a school counselor included writing accommodation plans for children with acute allergies. More than once we had to call an ambulance and administer Epipens to children who had been accidently exposed to allergens in our school...usually at lunchtime.

When Grace first started eating solid foods, we discovered that she had an allergy to eggs. I had given her scrambled eggs, and she broke out in hives all over her face, neck, and torso. Her lips grew to 10x the normal size. It scared me to death, but our doctor reassured me that most children outgrow this allergy. Unfortunately, she has not. I am thankful, however, that her reactions thus far have been in the mild-to-moderate range of severity. Her throat has never closed, and her breathing has never been interrupted. I am also thankful that her reactions seem to be contained to products that contain raw eggs or products that have a high concentration of eggs (quiches, custards, omelets, french toast, some ice creams, etc.).

Through the years, she has also reacted with hives/swelling to some dogs, cats, and sterling silver products. We're considering allergy testing in the future, but in the meantime, we are able to keep her away from allergens. She wears an allergen identification bracelet in the church nursery when they eat or cook. We have no pets in the house. I got rid of all silver in the house (platters, baby spoons, serving pieces, etc.) and packed away my silver jewelry after Grace got in my jewelry box and had a particularly bad reaction.

I've heard horror stories about children who had mild reactions to allergens, then suddenly experienced anaphylactic shock out of the blue. We pray that God will continue to protect Grace from this type of reaction. I want to encourage everyone who reads this post to be mindful of children around you who experience food allergies. Don't complain when your child's school or daycare bans certain products from your child's lunch to protect other children. Many children with severe allergies (i.e. peanuts) cannot even be in the same ROOM with peanut products without experiencing a reaction.

The New York Times reported yesterday that food allergies in children are on the rise. To read this article, click here. It's good for everyone to be aware of the potentially fatal effects of food allergies in children.

1 comment:

Jane Anne said...

Joanna- I followed your link over here (from your comment on Rocks in My Dryer). Thanks for your encouraging comment and the link to my post. I am so encouraged by the great response! I enjoyed reading this post and your daughter's story.