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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:41 am
Posts: 3
Location: Toronto
Hi,
My son is in grade 2 and has a dairy allergy that is also upon contact.
I'm having some issues with protocol to help him feel less anxious about coming into contact with dairy during his day.
The school has peanut and nut restrictions and policies which is great, but yet none for kids with other allergies especially dairy which is a staple food for most children.
Has anyone had any experience with this and is there anyone who knows any school that has made changes and exceptions for kids with dairy allergies?
I'm trying to change the policies in my sons school that could help kids with allergies other than peanuts to feel the same protection.

Need all the help I can get!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
Hi Cheryl,

We were fortunate in that we had a change of Principals and we were finally able to get rid of Pizza Day. Our new Principal realized that having every child eat pizza at lunch made it impossible to reduce the risk of exposure to the allergen. Until that happened, we kept her home on Pizza Days at the advice of her Allergist.

Luckily we only had Pizza Day once a month but it always seemed to fall on the same day as the Valentines party, Easter Party, St. Patrick's Day and the Halloween Party. My mantra had been "Isn't Pizza Day special enough?"

Children are allowed to bring pizza for lunch. The school practices risk reduction by limitting eating to the classroom, no eating in computer labs, music classes, the library or the gymnasium. Special attention is given to cleaning my daughters desk and this year the teachers even asked that each student send in a package of wipes!

I make sure that her lunch bag is the type that when opened can be eaten right out of so that her sandwhich need never touch the table. I send 2 zip lock baggies. One with wipes cut in half and another empty. I label them clean and dirty. She is able to give her hands a quick wipe before eating and she has enough to give the table a quick wipe if she is concerned.

To the best of our knowledge, she has not had a reaction at school. Lart year, she did have a reaction at daycare which started on the school bus when she rubbed her eyes. They swelled up to look like tennis balls and it was not just the upper and lower lids but the cornea which swelled as well. We ended up giving the Epi-Pen and going to the hospital, so I do think that contact reactions are a concern.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:08 pm
Posts: 41
Hi Cheryl,

My son also has contact issues with his dairy allergy and I completely understand the struggles that go along with that in trying to keep him safe. We haven't had to worry about school yet though, he's just turning 2 and starting nursery school in 2 more weeks, which is only mornings 3 days a week.

The nursery school were my son is going to serves morning snacks and lunches in the same room that he'll be in, but they have assured me that they keep the kids (like Susan was saying at her daughters school) allowed to eat only in the tables, and after the tables are thoroughly cleaned.

They are going to be trying not to serve dairy or sesame seed (his other severe allergy) snacks on the days when my son is there to help reduce his risk, which is great. (They are peanut free already). It actually means the kids will be eating probably more fruit snacks which is good for all the kids too! The nursery school has also contacted their food supplier to help determine what safe options they would recommend, and alerted them that about Zachary's allergies. If there is any day in which Zachary couldn't eat the snack being served because it contained one of his allergens, then I'll be providing him his own seperate snack (however I'll be worried like crazy that he'll get a hold of one of the other kids snacks, so i'm really hoping these days will be far and few between).

The teacher also all have training and update their training on administring the epi-pen every year. In addition, they sat with my husband and I for almost an hour going through Zachary's emergency plan. Because of the contact issues, he frequently gets hives or some minor swelling from contact (like today), so we treat him with a two stage approach to his allergies. First stage for minor reactions being washing him down and administring bendryl, and giving epi for more a more severe reaction. One nursery school didn't like this though, as their policy was to administer epi upon any reaction (one hive), which with his contact issues would probably result in him being sent to the hospital every class!

From our experience contact issues can really make things difficult. Like Susan, we use wipes a lot! Zachary's not even 2 and now knows he has to wipe everything and trys to always help me with it, it's cute actually! I would recommend loading up your son with wipes, and hopefully his classmates can all have wipes sent with them too, like Susan's daughters class, that might give your son some comfort.

The other children not washing their hands before class is actually one of our worries for Zachary attending nursery school soon. I have asked that the school kindly send out a note to request that the parents ensure their kids have cleaned-up before coming to school to help protect the children with allergies (also it helps to minimize the spread of colds!). Alternatively, my husband and I were thinking we could just arm the teachers with a case full of wipes! Susan, does your daughters school make similar requests about hand washing before coming to school and of course after meals, not just before meals?

Also, Susan hearing about your daughters reaction on the bus, what does she do to avoid from having that happen again? Are the kids allowed to eat on the bus, i.e. she ran into spilled milk on one of the seats possibly?

Definitly more awareness needs to be made at the school level. I saw that your in the Toronto region, are you going to the Sabrina's Law documentary fundraiser on the 25th of this month? It's might be of interest to you, its being put on by Anaphylaxis Canada.

Anyways, sorry I can't be of more help and I apologize for the length! Please let me know how it all goes. It's nice to know that their are other kids out there like Zachary too.

Take care,

Jodi (Zachary's mom)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:41 am
Posts: 3
Location: Toronto
Hi Jodi,
Thanks for your support.
Dairy is a tricky allergy to deal with especially trying to explain to people that it is contact and having them believe you. Until you actually see how uncomfortable it is for a child to have hives on a semi-regular basis you don't understand it. Regardless, my sons teachers this year have already experienced this and are dealing with it as best they can.
The problem i am having is that I would like to have certain dairy products not allowed into the classroom for this reason. Things such as milk and yogurt can be a problem but explaining this to parents who feel that there kids need to eat dairy at lunch because they don't really eat anything else and would starve is asking way too much from the average non allergy aware person.
I found that when my son was in preschool, almost everyone was willing to make it safe for him but now in grade 2, there is less I can do to protect him as he is getting older (even if he is still 6) and the focus is more on learning than playing nice and happy in the sandbox.
Because we attend a private religious school we do not have to follow sabrina's law in the same way district school boards do. Our school has an allergy policy that protects kids with peanut and nut allergies but none to protect kids with other allergies.
This is what I am trying to change.
If there is anyone out there that has a letter from their school that ask parents to refrain from bringing any DAIRY into the classroom of a dairy allergic child please please help me out by giving me a copy of it.
As our allergic kids get older they need to learn to be safe on their own but as their parents we always need to make the changes to help them feel safe as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:08 pm
Posts: 41
Hi Cheryl,

I'm sorry to hear your son had a reaction at school. I completely understand, so many people do not believe me when I tell them about Zachary's allergies, until they see him have a reaction, then they seem to get it! Unfortunately, I hope we can educate them about our kids allergies without it being at the expense of our children!

Dairy seems to be in everything so I know how hard of an allergy it can be to deal with. I agree its the cheese, yogurt, milk (more concentrated versions of the allergens that cause the most problems) are hardest for us to be around as obviously carries the highest risk of exposure. My cousin is a teacher and said that her school participates in a milk program that encourages the children to all drink milk at lunch. This worries me for when Zachary hits school. If they drink it with a straw that would help to reduce the risk.

When I've talked to other parents about my son's allergies and attending school (potentially in their kids classes), some parents feel strongly that their kids need their dairy for nutrition at lunch, so banning it is impeting on their health. I've also been told that allergy kids should find their own school and not allowed in regular schools (actually, Zachary was rejected from one nursery school because of his allergy).

Are the kids making sure to wash after eating, and keeping the tables they eat at very clean? Unfortunately, I think it would be hard to get a ban on dairy for your son's class, though I would love to see that for my son when he gets to elementary school, as that would really help keep our kids safe! Are there any other kids with other allergies in the class? The problem when their are multiple allergies, its hard to find any foods that are safe for all. My son also has very severe sesame seed allergy so coming in contact with just one sesame seed can be very harmful to him. When the allergy severity extends to contact that becomes a much higher risk factor for our kids so hopefully your sons class can find a solution.

If your in the TO area, you should come out tomorrow night for the Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group meeting. It will be my first time attending, they hold them every month from sept. to june. If your interested its at St. Ansgar Lutheran Church (1498 Avenue Road & Lawrence), and is from 7-9:30. It's $6/family to attend, you can RSVP to tuggfamily@sympatico.ca and probably get more info from Anaphylaxis Canada.

hope this helps. keep me posted with it all!


Jodi :)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:41 am
Posts: 3
Location: Toronto
Hi Jodi,
Funny that you replied so quickly and that I'm still awake and am actually going to that meeting for the first time myself!

I will look for you and look forward to meeting you so when can discuss this further.

Cheryl :D


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
Hi cherylr-I'm so glad you're planning to attend a meeting. I wish I had done that sooner. There is something empowering about being in a room with a group of people who understand what you are going through, have been down that road before and who have tools and tips that help them cope.

What have we done to ensure our daughter doesn't have another contact reaction on the bus? There was already a rule about no eating on the bus so that wasn't the solution. She had no trouble the first few years on the bus but that she was seat assigned with another student who had food allergies. He was much older (she SK and he grade 3) they both wanted to sit with their friends.

We are fortunate in that there is a sports centre located across the park form her school, so she doesn't take the bus any more. Actually, it is centrally locate within a park like setting with 4 schools either attached to the centre of across the park and they offer pre/post school programs and walk the students to and fro. They are peanut free and allergen aware. They have yearly Epi-Pen training.

I had hesitated sending her there before because there are not many summer long camp/daycares for the under 7 group. Most seem to run for a few weeks and the thought of training and retraining was too much for me. Here, the same councilors who run the pre/post school program will be her swimming instructors and summer camp councilors. I'm hoping to be able to have a long relationship with these people...

I realize that this is not a solution for everyone, for us it solved a lot of issues from not having to depend on a single person to provide all of the care (daycare provider had health issues which seemed to be getting worse rather than better, daughter needed the encouragement/peer preasure of older children to try new things, more active play and less unsupervised basement play or tv time).

_________________
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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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