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 Post subject: Re: Totally Overwhelmed
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:12 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Ottawa
After a few months of explaining over and over to my family and in laws about the dangers of exposing my daughter to nuts, the prevalence of allergies in this generation, cross contamination, and reading labels without any real change in their attitude and behaviour toward the allergy and safety I decided to write a gentle but firmly worded letter explaining why we take the precautions that we do, what could happen, and how they can help to keep our little girl safe. It went over really well. That's not to say that some family members don't need constant reminders, but some people just have brains like sieve's! :roll:

I can send you a copy of the letter if you'd like to see it. It really helped us a lot.

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Mother of a fantastic little girl with peanut allergy, cat & dust sensitivities


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 Post subject: Re: Totally Overwhelmed
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2945
Location: Toronto
Robin, that's good to hear. Any chance you'd remove names and share with all of us?

Or if long, a few key passages? Lots of people here struggle with the same.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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 Post subject: Re: Totally Overwhelmed
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:12 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Ottawa
Here it is...

After a few visits with both sides of the family resulting in lots of questions and a few nutty mishaps since X's nut allergy diagnosis we have decided that instead of having more awkward incidences and dangerous situations due to your good intentions and kind gestures perhaps an email explaining how we are managing the allergy, our new rules on what our family eats, and why we are taking these precautions is in order to avoid any further confusion or hurt feelings.

As you know X has a peanut allergy and we are no longer eating peanuts. We wish that things were as simple as that but unfortunately they are not. We have also cut out tree nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc) from our house. This is due to a variety of reasons. First, peanuts and tree nuts often are warehoused in the same facilities and there is a large chance that the tree nuts have come into contact with peanuts. Second, a tree nut is not always what it seems to be. In cheaply made baked goods, chocolates, etc. sometimes almonds or other tree nuts are substituted with 'Nut Meats' or 'Nu Nuts' which are crushed peanuts pressed into tree nut shaped molds and flavoured with extracts to taste like tree nuts. Third, it will be much easier to teach X that she must not eat any nuts rather than giving her a botany lesson on what is a tree nut and what is a peanut, which is safe to eat and which could be harmful.

Staying away from nuts is sometimes difficult, but not impossible. It is necessary to read all labels looking for nuts or peanuts in the list of ingredients and to check to see if the label indicates that there may be traces of peanuts or nuts in the product, or that it was processed in a facility with nuts or peanuts. If there are nuts, peanuts or traces of nuts or peanuts in the product or if it was processed in a facility with nuts or peanuts we do not purchase the product or serve such products to X. If an item does not have a list of ingredients (such as items purchased in a bakery) we don't buy it or serve it to X, even if the vendor says that the item does not have nuts in it (there is always a chance that the product contains peanut oil or may have been cross contaminated with tongs, knives, bulk food scoops, etc.) We have to be very careful because tiny amounts of peanuts (some literature suggest up to 1/1000th of a peanut) can cause a reaction in a peanut allergic person and as little as 1/10th of a peanut could cause a fatal allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). For now we aren't having X eat restaurant food, we know that we will have to figure out how to do that eventually but for now it is just easier to bring our own food for her or eat at home.

Although neither (husband) nor I have allergies to nuts or peanuts we have decided to make our house a nut-free environment. There are a few reasons for these changes. Obviously X's safety is our top priority and we are more than happy to make a few changes for her. It has been suggested that we are being overly cautious and that we could eat products with nuts or traces of nuts in the house after she goes to bed. We choose not to do this because we feel that having foods in the house that X can not eat poses too much of a risk to her. If the wrong foods fall into those grabby little hands (it's only a matter of time until she can open the fridge and disarm the child-safety locks), or if a sitter or family member assumes that all of the foods in the house are safe for her while in reality some are not there could be harmful consequences. We have asked the allergist about this issue and his answer to us was that the risks are too great and that X's health is far more important than us eating treats, and he is absolutely right. We ask that you do not bring food with nuts, traces of nuts, or food without ingredient labels into our home so that we can keep our house as nut free as possible.

Because we stay at some of your homes precautions will have to be taken on your end as well. We understand that you do not live in nut-free homes and we don't expect you to get rid of all of your nut products because of us, but we hope that you can respect our wishes and follow some simple guidelines that will help us keep X out of danger. Before we arrive it would be nice if nuts and nut products (nut butters, etc), could be stored out of X's reach and not used while we are visiting. If there is an area where you sit and eat nut products or prepare foods with nut products in them often it would be helpful if that area was cleaned (surfaces wiped down with cleaner, place mats washed or removed, etc.) During the visit we would appreciate it if no nuts or peanuts are served and if items that have traces of nuts and peanuts or items that have been processed in a facility with nuts and peanuts are not served (or we are at least warned about them so that we will not serve them to X). Also, products that may have been cross contaminated in your home (jam that has had a peanut butter knife dipped into it for example) should be off limits. If you have eaten a product that contains nuts or traces of nuts it would be helpful if you washed your hands and mouth before touching or kissing X to avoid skin irritation or accidental ingestion.

There are some foods that typically contain nuts, peanuts, or traces of nuts or peanuts such as chocolates, baked goods, ice cream, granola bars, cereals, pesto, Asian foods, cake mixes, carrot cake, fruit cake, etc. Nuts can also be found in strange places such as chili, salad dressings, barbecue sauces and other condiments, gravy thickeners, etc. The presence is much more widespread than one would think due to the use of peanut oil in foods from deep fried foods to ice cream. It is because of this that it is important to read all labels and not take unnecessary risks.

We understand that these guidelines may seem extreme and hard to follow but we hope that you will understand that X's safety is very important to us and that we have to put her well being first. As the years go on things will get easier but at this stage of life where X grabs at things indiscriminately, puts hear hands in her mouth, and eats things that she finds on the floor, and cannot tell us if she feels like she may be having a reaction we think that it is best to be extra careful. Hopefully we can work together to keep our little one safe and healthy. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask us.

_________________
Mother of a fantastic little girl with peanut allergy, cat & dust sensitivities


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 Post subject: Re: Totally Overwhelmed
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Robinsegg, thank you for sharing your letter. You got to the basics without overwhelming others with the more scientific or in depth facts I know I at least tend to start to share. The more frantic I get trying to make my point the more I start throwing in every little bit of information I've learned. You kept it simple and it is very well written. :thanksign

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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 Post subject: Re: Totally Overwhelmed
PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:03 pm
Posts: 22
My thanks for referring me to this link.

I was just asked what do I feed my child. Although this may seem to be the problem, the real problem Is how do I prevent my son from coming in contact with milk, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts , tree nuts or shellfish? We have become homebodies for sure. I do force myself out of my comfort zone and attend play gyms that do not allow food or are sensitive to cameron's allergies. My hands shake the entire time (especially when I see a hive) but my son enjoys these play times. I can't decide whether or not I am being brave or irresponsible for taking him out in a world filled with so many potential dangers for him.

Although my husband was a hard sell, after witnessing some of cameron's reactions from just touching an allergen our home is relatively free of the above (although it is soooo difficult to be completely allergen free...dried spices alone amaze me with the may contain info on the packet) we have always eaten a lot of vegetables...fortunately Cameron enjoys dark greens like broccoli and bok choy. We eat lean meats for protein. Not my favorite, but I worry about getting the nourishment we need.


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 Post subject: Re: Totally Overwhelmed
PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 642
Location: AB, Canada
I'm so sorry you're going through this, but I'm glad you found this group. It is a great source of information and comfort, since, as you have found, many people in real life (including - especially? family) just don't get it.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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 Post subject: Re: Totally Overwhelmed
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:03 pm
Posts: 22
Thanks, Becky. I have already found the support so much more comforting as it comes from the same painful empathetic place. Family and friends try to help, but they just don't really know what to say. They always tell me that he will outgrow everything, it isn't as serious as I think, he needs to be exposed to a little bit of everything to build up his immunity...and then the conversation always degenerates into pseudo-scientific "knowledge" that is basically just their opinion....arrrgggg...sometimes I swear if one more family member rolls their eyes at me when I don't allow Cameron to sit next to the can of mixed nuts or let the dog lick him all over I may smack them


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