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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:00 am
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Location: Ontario
I have an emotionally sensitive 6 year old girl who is allergic to tree nuts, peanuts and soy. My husband and I have been very open with her about the importance of avoiding certain foods, asking before eating, demonstrating how the epi pen works. We have not touched on the topic of possible death due to allergy, we have left it at, she may get very sick and need to go to the hospital should she eat a nut or soy product. My concern and question to fellow parents is this: I do not want her to hear in the school yard from an insensitive child that she can "die" from her allergy. How to explain this element without invoking major fear and self pity?? [code][/code]


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Could you ask her how much she understands about food allergies? Sometimes you can bring issues up in play either playing restaurant or even just cooking together.

Mention that other people don't always understand food allergies (intolerance vs. allergy etc.) and that she should come and talk to you or her father about what she hears.

You might want to describe it in the context of something she already understands. Crossing the street is dangerous. If she got hit by a car, she could get seriously hurt or even die. This is why we look both ways before crossing and never dart out after a ball etc.

I did speak to my daughter about it when she was quite small and asked me point blank if eating her allergens would cause her to die (we'd been reading the story I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly). I did tell her that in some people reactions can be so severe that if they are not stopped, they can die. I also told her that we can stop a reaction from getting to that point by using the Epi-Pen and that when people died it was almost always that they didn't use their Epi-Pen or that they used it too late.

I then spoke of all of the things that we do to avoid a reaction. There is a thread about this somewhere...I'll try to find it.

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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: Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:35 pm 
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Great idea to ask her what she understands at this point.

My daughter got her epi at age 6 but we didn't have to use it until she was 12. It was only then that she told me she had always thought she would die if she used the epi when it wasn't needed --- essentially she was more scared of the epi than the allergies!

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
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Location: Toronto
Momof3613 - this is such a big issue for parents of ana. kids that Allergic Living mag. actually did a long cover article on the topic back in Spring 08. We called it "Risk Talking", and it explored the line between instilling appropriate caution and kids and unintentionally creating fear.

You can read an excerpt of that here: http://www.allergicliving.com/features.asp?copy_id=155

In the rest of the article and a sidebar, experts give advice on how to speak to food allergic kids about the risks. One thing I recall - due to brain development, there was different advice for diff. ages. Once the kids were deemed old enough to discuss the "death risk", the advice was that you can tell them – while death is a possibility if you're not careful about food, we're going to take every precaution so that doesn't happen. And then you can review what the child will do to keep herself safe, the importance of hand-washing, not sharing food, carrying Epi, etc.

If this sounds like what you want learn more about, the issue is still available. (Single issues can be bought under the subscribe tab on the red menu bar.)

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:26 am 
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Gwen - thank you for posting that link --- the great points in that article made me finally order my subscription! As a family we can not thank you enough for the great resource here at Allergic Living.

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
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Location: Toronto
Walooet - that's so good to hear. That's AL's whole purpose.

You made my day :D Gwen

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:15 pm 
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Glad to hear that Gwen!

My friend just asked today for allergy information should something happen to me and she needs to care for my daughter. I'll just give her the list, the allergist's number and this website :D

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Sounds like you've got a good friend!

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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: Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
I have used 'death' to convey to my non IgE allergic son the importance of being very careful around his very allergic twin. Unfortunately its been in the presence of my allergic child.
My twin (7yo) with allergies said to me the other day-you can die from allergies you know. I said to him-well yes you could-but thats only if we dont manage them well-we have all the medication right here (showed him) we have our plan to follow (showed him) and you are always so fantastic at telling us straight away when something is not right that we CAN treat it properly straight away. Mum knows what to do, Dad knows what to do, all your teachers have special training and know what to do etc.
I reinforced what we need to do to manage his allergies-avoidance, education etc medication always on hand etc. He seemed happy with this.
I always have to do a bit of a juggling act by trying to convey the seriousness of allergies to my non- allergic son without scaring my allergic son so much that he's scared to sit next to someone eating sunflower seeds=I need to reinforce to one not to spread it around and the other that you have to eat it to have a response (for us).
cheers

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twin boys-
c-eosinophilic oesophagitis
j-avoids peanut, sunflower, pineapple all ana-sensitised to maccadaemia.pecan.Passed barley (previous ana) last year...out grew egg ana and peanut at 3 years..became re sensitised with ana at 6 years to peanut.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
I'm thinking I should have discussed it with my son.

We were walking home from school when he was about 8 years old and he asked me "Is it true I could die if I get stung by a bee?". I did not want to answer him. We were walking along a busy street, during rush hour -- and this kid will run in front of cars to avoid a butterfly. But, I had to be honest. Honest meant telling him that it could be that serious.

Apparently, at school he was being teased about his allergy and he told the teacher on yard duty. Specifically he told her that he was being teased about bees and that he is allergic to them, and he showed her his epi-pen. She immediately called the other boy over and talked to him about it. She used the word bullying which kids understand the severity of. And she ended with "It's not something to joke about. He could DIE from his allergy."

Poor kid spent the rest of the day at school worrying about that.

~~

In the end, it turned out to be a good thing. There was finally an answer to just how serious his reactions could be and he seemed to be not quite as afraid of insects. Weird.

I do wish I had just told him myself, and that he hadn't spent an entire day worrying over it at school though.

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self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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