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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 10:44 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Many nut-allergic kids can't spot the culprits
If children never see them, they can't recognize them, researchers say

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- More than one in four children with nut allergies can't identify the nut that they are allergic to, a new study shows.

The findings suggest that well-meaning parents may be being a little too protective for their children's own good by banning nuts completely from the home, so children never see what they look like, Dr. Ronald M. Ferdman of the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, California, told Reuters.

"Kids just have to get that skill to be able to protect themselves, instead of relying on their parents for the rest of their lives," he said.

Full story: http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/08/02/nu ... index.html

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Well, I have to say, I feel kinda good about myself at the moment. :) I often point out the various kinds of nuts as well as peanuts at the grocery store to my kids. And I got them to each make a poster of their allergens and the foods that could contain their allergens (although that was awhile ago - guess maybe we should do an update). And we have a book that has lots of pictures of legumes so my oldest knows what they look like.

Anyone else tried to "educate" their kids about their allergens in such a direct way?

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
The first time I showed our daughter an egg at the grocery store she thought I was making it up. She'd never seen or heard about such strange things we eat.
We try to point out her allergens or foods containing them when we see them in real life or in magazines.
Great idea to do the poster, Karen, I think we will try that! :)

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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: Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:51 am 
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Whenever Ethan is with me at the grocery store, our visits always include a game of "what's that?". I'll point to various nuts in their containers and get him to identify them (really good with peanut - not the best with the others...but he's getting there). Also when we go down the PB and jam aisle, I'll point to the peanut butter and get him to identify what it is. I'll also talk about some of the foods that often contain nuts / peanuts and explain that while I buy the ones that are safe (like Chapman's icecream) not all kinds of icecream (or crackers / cookies, etc.) are safe for him. I agree completely with the idea that if we keep our kids so isolated from what it is that poses a danger to them, then we're not preparing them for life in the world without us. When he's not living in my bubble 24/7, I want him to feel like he has the tools to keep himself safe. I think it's also important to let him know that while he's allergic to peanuts / nuts, not everyone is - and that while it's not safe for him to eat peanut/nut products, if he sees others eating them (on TV or elsewhere) - it's OK for them because they aren't allergic.

Quote:
"It is possible that the parents of peanut-allergic children did not allow peanuts in their homes and that their children, therefore, never had the opportunity to learn to recognize them," the researchers note.


I think that the differences in children's ability to identify nuts is also because non-allergic kids are probably eating nuts. Kids learn early what foods they like and dislike - if a child tries a cashew and likes it, they're probably going to find out what that food is and be able to identify it (and ask for it again in the future). Despite attempts to educate our nut allergic kids, they really don't have the exposure to nuts like the non-allergic (even with those grocery store trips...).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:42 am 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I agree that it would be hard to kids to identify things that they've had very little contact with. And you're right - it must make a huge difference to be able to "fully experience" nuts (or whatever), including taste, shape, feel, etc. Funny what we never even used to think about, eh? A few years ago when my oldest was going to start preschool (age 4), I realized "Holy cow - he probably doesn't know what most of his allergens look like!" That's when I started showing him stuff and when we made the poster with pictures of foods that contain his allergens. And then I did the same for my youngest a few years later.

Anyway, I don't want anyone to feel badly if their kids don't know what a peanut or a cashew looks like! But it probably would be a good idea to make sure they know what the foods look like, if only to help them avoid it.

A funny quasi-related story: a good friend of mine brought out her iron one day, and her 3 and 5 year old were quite perplexed as to what it could be. "Is it something for cooking Mommy?" they asked. So it's not just nuts and peanuts and eggs that some kids aren't exposed to....! :lol:

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:29 pm
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Location: Ontario
Cute story about the iron Karen!

I also do my best to show our daughter what her allergens look like and where they may be hidding. I was so proud of her today! She's only 2.5yrs old but we were grocery shopping and she picked up a box of the new Fruit To Go Swiggles (or whatever they're called) and said "I'm reading the ingredients" :D She even had the box on it's side! I asked her if they were safe and she told me there was no peanut or sesame in them. Of course I had to buy them for her - after I checked the ingredient list!

As an aside I do feel pressure to get her eductated and understanding as quickly as possible since she'll be going to school (JK) in only 13 mths! Yikes.

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4ye old DD allergic to sesame, peanut, raw egg , and mulitple environmental & seasonal allergies

2 yr old DS -no known allergies!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:10 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Clarington
What does everyone suppose that the general public will take with them after they read this article?
[/quote]


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:13 am 
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This is what I think the general pubic will take away:

Quote:
...well-meaning parents may be being a little too protective for their children's own good by banning nuts completely from the home...


Quote:
...Children with nut allergies were actually less able than those without allergies to correctly identify ... than the non-allergic kids...


Quote:
...he added, "point out that parents really need to teach their child specifically what to avoid."...


All of these statements taken together create an impression of parents of children with food allergies as beeing demanding that others and not fulfilling their parental obligations to keep there own chidren safe.

I feel that the general public are not very aware of food allergies. For those who feel that we are over protective and infringe on their rights, there are plenty of statements in this article to justify their opinion.

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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 05, 2006 9:30 am 
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Location: Clarington
Yes I thought so too. I think this will continue to put the onus on the younger child to be completely responsible for themselves. I have always found the anaphylactic child to be more responsible/more mature than their peers to begin with. However, I feel, they still need the support of the adults around them(teachers I'm thinking) to help them.
Will we, as parents, be put in that stereotype of the neurotic parent yet again-a stereotype that I thought we getting away from.
This study probably has some helpful information for parents dealing with anaphylaxis however I feel the reporter is irresponsible.
Let's educate him/her on the matter!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 8:16 pm 
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http://www.webmd.com/content/article/125/116081.htm
Same story, more objectively written.

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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 Aug 15, 2006 10:21 pm 
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I do agree that it's good to "know your allergens", and I'll still keep trying to show my kids what theirs look like, but I'm starting to have a bit of a problem with all of this, the more I think/read about it.

Quote:
Many nut-allergic children lack the nut recognition skills that could protect them from future reactions," Ferdman and Church conclude. "The best strategy would incorporate actively teaching the affected child to recognize nuts so that he or she will be protected in every environment regardless of the skill of adult caretakers."


Okay.... but how many allergic reactions are from traces and small amounts? Would knowing what any given nut looks like protect people from small pieces of that nut in a brownie or whatever? No. And knowing what milk and eggs and fish and soy look like don't actually do much to help those avoiding those allergens - not in processed foods.

This statement actually goes against the reality of what many people with peanut and nut allergy are advised - that is, to avoid all of them if case of cross-contamination. I know that some people are able to eat some kinds of nuts and not others, but the people I know pretty much go with "total avoidance" - on the advice of allergists.

Anyway, this article actually bugged me. Maybe it's because I'm tired and cranky. Maybe it's the term "nut recognition skills". ;)

But I did like the last quote:

Quote:
Even so, a lot of the allergic kids had a great strategy of their own. Nearly three-fourths of the kids with nut allergies said they would not eat the nut to which they were allergic -- and half of these kids said they avoided all nuts.


K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:54 am 
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Location: Clarington
It would be interesting to be able to read the actual study.

One question I have, although the younger children did not recognize some of the nuts, would they ingest it if offered? Not that I suggest anyone actually conduct this experiment for obvious reasons. To me the equation one is being lead to is lack of nut identification equals child putting nut in mouth.

This second article regarding the study actually is spun in such a way as to help those who wish to see food allergens eliminated from the classrooms, especially at the younger ages. It helps support the idea that younger children lack the cognitive abilites to forsee danger and make reliably safe decisions for themselves.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:10 am 
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Location: Toronto
Why does a child with a nut allergy need to be able to identify the specific nut they are allergic to. With children, don't most parents teach them to avoid all nuts? The *test subjects* ranged in age from 4 - 19 . I would think the younger ones with a peanut/nut allergy would be avoiding all nuts.

I'm not sure I could identify 11 different nuts both in and out of their shell. (My allergies don't affect this as they are adult onset, so I grew up eating nuts and peanuts.)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:26 am 
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Location: Canada
Good point---if kids are avoiding *all* nuts just knowing that it is a nut is good enough. I could identify a number of them--but I wouldn't be able to get them all!

I think ethansmom's point about kids learning the names of foods by eating them is a good point too . . . .


Last edited by Helen on Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:27 am 
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I agree with everything that's been said on the blaming parents/too much onus on the child statements in the coverage of this study. But putting such comments aside for a moment, I do still think it's useful to teach nut-allergic kids what nuts look like.

Might protect them in some circumstances. Frankly, for the simple matter of education, by the time you're in your teens, it would be nice to think you knew what nuts look like.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Quote:
, by the time you're in your teens, it would be nice to think you knew what nuts look like.


This kind of made me laugh the second time I read it. I now have visions of allergic teens thinking of all the crazy people they've had to deal with in the preceding years... :lol:

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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