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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
I am meeting with the government (BC, provincial) next month, and so this is a really good time to deal with this. All opinions will be really appreciated and helpful.

This is my experience dealing with the school and peanut allergy.

I had to go to great lengths 8 years ago to have policy implemented, originally he was refused access to the public school in our area. I was told that principals could decide who attended their schools (yes, this was Canada! and it was because of his peanut allergy that he was not wanted.) In grade one, he shared food with other kids; when I told the teacher of my fears she said it was out of her control as she was not on the playground during recess and lunch, about 1 month after that, sure enough he shared a peanut butter granola bar and had anaphylaxis. He has been jumped on repeatedly (kind of playfighting, kind of not) with a kid holding an Oh Henry and when he told the supervison aide she said she couldn't do anything to stop it. I have walked in when a teacher was about to hand out plates full of peanut butter sandwiches, and the reason was that she was on leave when the training occurred, and the policy was so under-the-radar that it was never mentioned when she came back. The latest was that when they were decorating gingerbread with their little buddies before Christmas, Reeses pieces had been bought to decorate with. He's been at the school for 7 years, so has the teacher.

I have gapped this year and not really done anything at the school cos he's in grade 7 and he's one of at least 5 kids with peanut allergy. Also, I'm concerned that the BC resources (I like the Ministerial Order, just not the supporting documents) are a little confusing :banghead :banghead , and the awesome amazing school nurse we had went off to take care of babies, and I haven't contacted the new nurse.

So, in spite of my effort or because of my lack of effort, things are not always perfect. But, what I count on is that he is well-trained (he learned a lot from the incident in grade 1). He always wears his epipen, he does not eat unlabelled or "may contain" food. He is not afraid to be around peanut butter, as we have always made him very aware that he can't control the environment, and he has his epipen. He is not allowed to eat food at the school unless he knows it's safe.

If anyone asked, they would be assurred that there was a total "BAN" in place and that everything that needed to be done was being done. But that's not the reality. And, knock on wood, things are going okay. I made sure his entire class was trained on how to use the epipen 2 times in the last 3 years, and to tell you the truth, that is my greatest comfort. I know that his friends would step up.

The whole "BAN" thing needs to be discussed, too. It is not part of any formal policy, so there is a perception that there are BANS in place, but who is going to police each kid's lunch...who is going to ensure that there are no ingredients of ingredients in the cookies...in Vancouver, English is a minority language...and I really doubt that letters are being sent in the 50 plus languages that are spoken by parents...and I know I don't read most of the stuff that get's sent home, and I bet I'm not the only one.

In the school I work in, we did everything right to make sure that parents knew, but a kid still ended up bringing in a peanut butter sandwich.

When Aaron was younger, we asked that there was no peanut butter, but we didn't ask to limit "may contains" and we expected non-compliance from a portion of the group. We did all we could to train him to stay safe and he has done an amazing job. The only thing is I can't get him to take his asthma meds regularly, as he doesn't get how important it is. He has continuous nasal allergies, which means he spends at least half the time sniffing, but making him comply means a big fight and I'm too old and tired to deal with it.

So that's all my horror stories, but I still feel that we are successful, as he isn't having reactions. He was miffed to miss the gingerbread decorating, but I was proud of him, as he refused to be in the same room and he and his little buddy had to do something else that wasn't fun. But I think it probably impacted the teachers to have him refusing to put himself in danger, rather than me rushing in. I will mention it in the New Year, and I will go in and retrain them, and I will offer to do all the shopping again. I used to do that, but I stopped as he had amazing teachers for the last couple of years and they were all over it, and last year there were 4 kids in his class with anaphylactic allergies. His teacher this year is amazing, too, but in a different way. So I'll just do the shopping again.

I wouldn't say this was a great approach, it's kind of parent-driven, except when the teachers have taken it seriously, but it takes a lot to find out if they take it seriously. I had one teacher who told me that I shouldn't have him in track without providing his asthma meds, he was the best, and I had such a worry-free year when Aaron was in his class...he said right to the kids "I don't want to deal with peanut butter, don't bring it." That's about as formal as the "policy" has ever got.

I really do try and be all about education and awareness, and not be the peanut police, and be positive. I don't agree with the term BAN, but I think that there should be risk reduction measures for all kids.

What we really need is another study (larger) to show if kids react when they are just around their allergen. There is the US study that says they don't, but how come all these people say they do? Even my school nurse told me that there was a kid in one of the other schools he works at that has airborne reactions.

I think all kids should be wearing an auto-injector, and that that should be legislated...no belt, no school...you wouldn't be allowed to send a kid with diabetes to school without insulin...I think kids with co-diagnoses of anaphylaxis/asthma need to be identified as at higher risk...I think that high schools need to get on board...there is a spike in fatalities just when support is withdrawn...hmmm, I wonder why. I think kids with food allergies should only eat food from home until they are old enough to judge (Aaron was about grade 5 when I felt he could buy food from a grocery store, it's case by case with restaurants...usually he is more careful than I am, which makes me happy, as I try to be really careful in restaurants). I drove him and his friend 3 hours to Seattle this summer to participate in a teen event with Kyle Dine...best thing ever!!!!!! I would drive/fly him anywhere for that sort of experience. The boys were a little resistant at first but it was awesome and Kyle is such a gift to our kids.


So what is your experiences/opinions?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:09 am 
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Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
Aaronsmom..

In terms of two-tiered approach, I think that peanut allergies definitely get preferential treatment. My daughter is allergic to peanuts too, but she is equally allergic to milk and eggs. In fact, in all the instances she'd had anaphylaxis, milk was the culprit. I'm not quite convinced with the argument on banning peanut butter because it is sticky and hard to clean. To be honest, we find butter, margarine, and cheese to be exactly the same as peanut butter in that regard, but try banning milk from school or asking parents not to send cheese with their kids. That would create an uproar. When my daughter was attending daycare, I watched one kid come into the centre with a block of cheddar cheese in his hand. He munched on it as he touched everything he came across. Cheddar is so oily and it's residue just clings on to everything. I had to clean door knobs, desks, and chairs for the next hour to make sure my daughter was safe. Still, that day, she had a reaction, so I suggested that we send a reminder to all parents to follow the daycare policies set out in the manual. I was not suggesting anything new at all. Nonetheless, we encountered a lot of resistance from parents, and we were not even asking for them to ban anything. We were simply asking everyone to make sure their kids had cleaned up after breakfast and not send food with their kids (which was part of the daycare policy anyway). The daycare provided all food, and we did not ban anything on the menu. They still served milk and cheese to the other kids while our girl was seated at a separate table. Yet, many parents were upset, and one parent yelled at the daycare director and demanded that his lawyer be present if he signed or read anything from the daycare. That was a reaction for simply asking them to follow the policy! I haven't dealt with the school system yet (my little girl is still a toddler), but I have a fair bit of experience with daycare centres. Your experience with the school is on par with the stuff we encountered with the various daycare centres. Perhaps your experience is a bit better (the outcome was not horrifying as in our case).

If school systems are similar to daycare, then I expect an uphill battle. We are not looking to ban milk, eggs, or peanuts from the school, but we do expect them to keep her safe by allowing her to sit at a separate table during lunch, and planning activities that do not involve food. Banning is a myth anyway. Even daycares that claim they are peanut free are not really. I have looked in their kitchens and seen plenty of may contain warnings on the packages. This is clear evidence that staff lacks the proper knowledge to read labels.

I do not think that a parent-driven approach is ideal, but it is the only tool we currently have and we are more motivated to keep our kids safe than the school staff. We know more about allergies than any of the school staff, mainly because we chose to educate ourselves about it out of necessity. Yes, we have become experts, and some of us even advocates for kids with allergies, but we cannot expect school staff to have the same intentions. I offer my help whenever I can, but the reality is, people don't like change. Even when things start to look like they are shifting, change does not come at an exponential rate. Typically, it takes something dramatic to make a swift change - Sabrina's Law is a prime example. It is unfortunate and horrible that someone has to die before someone else realizes the importance of a step that you and I believe is necessary. I hope that this never happens again but I am fairly certain that if a school in our area were indirectly responsible for a child's death due to anaphylaxis, the scenario in Ontario would repeat itself, and Nova Scotia would be clamoring to get Sabrina's Law into effect quickly.

Family members and friends keep asking "what are you going to do when she goes to school?" and I don't have an answer. It is terrifying to me. Our experience with daycare has been a miserable one at best and a failure. We can live without daycare, but she needs education, and I have no idea where to begin or how to approach it. Perhaps someone else who has gone through it recently can let us know how they went about it.

Noha

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Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Yes, there seems to be a lot more awareness of the peanut allergy than any other allergen. Products declare themselves peanut-free more readily than sesame-free. Companies refer to their products as "school freindly", even though they contain several allergens.

When I grew up I might have heard about someone dying of an allergic reaction but it was usually 3-4 people removed (friend of a friend's cousin's friend). It was always peanut of shellfish-never egg or milk. So I tend to think that much of the awareness is due to those with peanut allergies and I can't begrudge them the public awarenss that they have fostered.

I do see that people have a hard time believing that milk is anything other than wholesome. The milk producers spend a lot of money perpetrating that belief. Lactose intolerance throws a wrench into the works. :roll:

So what is reasonable to expect of schools? I think everyone is entitled to the right to go to school, safely. I don't believe in outright bans, but I shudder to think of the entire school eating pizza as they eat with their hands and the cheese grease smears everywhere with no supervision! :frightened

I think the awareness is building but it is slow comming.

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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 29, 2009 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
Susan..

Someone already tried to ban pizza day in one of the schools here in Halifax, because their child was allergic to milk. Unfortunately, it did not go over so well. The board refused and parents protested. This is one of my nightmares actually - for my little girl to be exposed to milk on a day when every child is consuming it in her vicinity. But how do you go around that and is supervision going to be enough? One parent here mentioned that she kept her child at home on pizza day, on the recommendation of the teacher. Is that what it's going to take to keep our children safe?

Just a few months ago, another parent mentioned that his peanut allergic son is being harassed in school by another kid who threatens him with a chocolate bar that has peanuts in it. They complained to the principal but he said there is not much the school can do. How do we teach our kids to protect themselves from those who deliberately want to cause them harm?

Awareness is definitely building, you're right. I'm just afraid it's not building quick enough. I really wish there was a magic wand I could wave and have everyone with allergies be safe.

Noha

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Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:49 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
From my perspective, (but correct me if I'm wrong), anaphylactic allergies to milk, egg and other foods are where peanut anaphylaxis was 10 years ago.

I stayed at home because I didn't think I could leave him in a daycare safely. There were no peanut aware facilities except my house. I spent hours and hours on the phone with what they call "family places" here, but are government funded places moms and caregivers can go with their kids to meet with others...having lunch was a huge part of it and everyone would pull out their peanut-butter sandwiches and I would leave and never return. I remember crying after a little girl eating peanut butter touched Aaron's arm. I was trying to explain the level of threat and fear I was dealing with, and at the same time, knowing I really should be leaving with Aaron before anything worse happened, instead of sitting around talking about my feelings. But I knew I would never be able to come back. When I talked to the administrators, all the way up to the top, they all refused to put anything in place. The head honcho had a grown up daughter with a sting allergy, and she was the first to use the old..."no one exterminated the bees for me, so you can't expect anyone to do anything for you" argument. That was also my first exposure to the old "allergies are not a disability, because your child is normal unless he's having anaphylaxis, so your not entitled to ask for any support" argument. It was also the first time I heard the old "depriving the poor children of their only food source" argument.

I imagine you have heard them all, too. A decade ago, even in my own life, peanut was the ubiquitous perfect food. Even better than milk and eggs, as you don't cause any suffering to cows and chickens. No one believed me when I told them it would kill my kid. He was one in a thousand in those days, now he's one in fifty.

What I envisioned, when I began to become more and more involved in advocacy, was that my getting my son the support he needed would pave the way for kids with other allergies to be protected. What I am worried about at this point is that the parents of kids with other allergies are saying that the accommodation for peanut is too much, if the Chatelaine comments are any indication, and all kids will end up with less protection than the kids with peanut anaphylaxis now. I don't want what accommodations have been put in place for Aaron's generation, and I think you can see that the reality is not as failsafe as words like "ban" would suggest, moved backwards. I think the word "BAN" should never be used, as it is not realistic, impossible to monitor, creates very black and white thinking, etc, etc. but we just can't seem to get away from it.

None of the provincial policies differentiate based on type of food that is causing anaphylaxis, and all have risk reduction as part of the strategy. What I think we need is for the schools to be given appropriate ideas to deal with each of the top 8 allergens. There should be signage that says something like "Individuals in this school have life threatening reactions to : whatever it is...if you are bringing these foods in, please see the office for correct procedure." And then if someone was bringing in a carton of milk or whatever, they would be informed of where they could not drink it, given a placemat and a wipie to protect surfaces and clean themselves, and told to bring the carton back to be thrown out, and let the engineer know immediately if any spills.

I think that pizza can be enjoyed at home, and so can cheese...

At our school, we have an egg drop at Easter and the kids spend weeks devising contraptions that will protect their eggs from breaking after a 3-story fall. But there are options...we could use water balloons or make paper mache eggs or whatever if it meant someone's health.

We just need to be creative.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
And schools can definitely do something about bullying.

Due to a number of suicides, we have legislation in BC to prevent it. It too, is a work in progress, but it's do-able.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:34 pm 
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Location: Oakville, Ontario
Our son has multiple food allergies, including peanuts and tree nuts. In our experience, there is, absolutely, with a doubt, a two-tiered approach with peanut vs other allergens. We are grateful for the awareness of peanut (and tree nut allergies); however, we do not see the same level of awareness to the other allergens. We are raising our son to be aware of ALL of his allergens due to the prevalence of his allergen in school and in other public places (eg. egg, fish, etc.). We must teach him to be vigilant in caring for himself with regards to all of his allergens, and we have many safety measures in place. I do not, necessarily, see this as a negative, as I feel all allergic people must protect themselves in all environments. Whether it be in public places (malls, sporting facilitilies, friends homes), or at school, our son has learned to protect himself. This has not been easy!!!! However, I would be much more afraid if I felt that we let him head off into the world feeling he was "safe". We have administered the Epipen twice, once in the grocery store when he was 3 years old and in contact with the handle of the cart and putting his hands in his mouth. Ironicially, I feel our son is safer because he needs to be "on guard" with all of his allergens. He has learned (and is still learning) to keep himself safe. :) I feel this is a necessary safeguard.

But, without a doubt, we have seen there is a two-tiered approach to peanut vs other allergens. Many people at his school have never even heard of being allergic to sesame seed :? , let alone mustard and fruits! We are doing our best to live a full life, with the awareness that his health adds a further dimension to this way of life. As an aside, our son has further health issues (physical disability and learning disability) which has taught us the need to be patient with others, teach tolerance, and ALWAYS teach our son to care for himself when we are not there!!!!!!! We have learned to educate, have humuor, but still treat our son's health with the the care that it needs and deserves. It's not been easy, so I don't want anyone to feel this has been an easy road, but having multiple health issues has taught us that this is what we need to do teach our son, and others, to keep him safe in the world.

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15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:39 am 
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While all allergens can be deadly to those with allergies, it is impossible to ban all allergens as it significantly reduces the options and is impossible to reinforce.

"Reduce the risk of exposure to allergens." This is what Ontario's legislation demands and this is all that I have asked of our school/daycares.

I don't care if a few students in the school bring in cold pizza but, I do care if the entire school is treated to hot pizza, as it is simply too risky. My daughter's allergist advised that she stay home on Pizza Day as the risk outweighed the education she would miss in JK thru grade 1(at the time it was felt that avoidance of reactions could increase the chance of outgrowing an allergy). I made sure that this was placed on her file and wrote on each report card that the absent days reflected this. I joined the Parent council and was vocal that Pizza Days excluded my child. I made sure that any special day (Christmas, Halloween etc) was not held on Pizza Day, "Isn't Pizza Day special enough?".

Eventually, her school changed principals and this is what finally caused the change in special school lunches. I worked with them to introduce the Lunch Lady program (peanut free) as an option for those who simply couldn't bring themselves to make their child a lunch everyday. (I explained in detail how we shop, including following up with companies to confirm foods are allergen free and making many foods from scratch. I said point blank that those who complain about making lunch are lazy and I refuse to entertain that notion). :| rant over

I do think that we've come a long way in terms of people understanding all allergens concidering where we were 10 years ago.

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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: Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:54 am 
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Location: Halifax
Susan..

This is good news; it gives me hope. As I mentioned before, I haven't had any experience with schools yet but from what I've seen in daycare, the situation in Halifax seems pretty dismal when it comes to awareness about allergies. Perhaps this is an unrelated question to the topic, but I need to ask, did you have to be on the council to be able to voice your concerns or was this sort of thing discussed with the principal in a private meeting. I'm looking for any advice, and you seem to have experience with this. Like you said, a kid who brings in a cold pizza is not a problem. We have stressed to daycares before that we are not trying to ban anything. We just want people to be aware and clean up so that our daughter can be safe. I am not a fan of banning anything. But my fear is on pizza day when 60 kids all in the same hall are eating pizza with melted cheese - it scares me to death!

Noha

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:09 am 
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You don't have to be on the council to voice your concerns, you don't even have to be on it to show up at the meetings. It helps to go to the meetings to find out what they plan to do and offer a face to the issue. I try to approach it from the perspective of educating them and working with them towards a solution.

Definately, meet with the principal before the start of school and identify issues. It is up to the principal to create policies and procedures to ensure safety of all students. If they plan an unsafe activity, let them know and ask them how they plan to make it safe. Sometimes they can but sometimes they need to scrap the activity.

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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: Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:59 pm 
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Posts: 375
Location: Alberta
aaronsmom wrote:
What I am worried about at this point is that the parents of kids with other allergies are saying that the accommodation for peanut is too much, if the Chatelaine comments are any indication, and all kids will end up with less protection than the kids with peanut anaphylaxis now.

There should be signage that says something like "Individuals in this school have life threatening reactions to : whatever it is...if you are bringing these foods in, please see the office for correct procedure." And then if someone was bringing in a carton of milk or whatever, they would be informed of where they could not drink it, given a placemat and a wipie to protect surfaces and clean themselves, and told to bring the carton back to be thrown out, and let the engineer know immediately if any spills.

I think that pizza can be enjoyed at home, and so can cheese...




It's too bad that so many comments were negative - I think the reason might be that so many of the responses stated very point blank that "peanuts can kill", "my child could die", etc, etc, etc. The fact that they could kill was the REASON that everyone kept supporting a peanut ban at schools. Following this simple logic would end up getting almost all foods banned, so I admit, it did upset me to see so many people making this argument for argument's sake. It just keeps telling me, that my son's life isn't worth protecting. Also, this type of language seem to put off so many non-allergy parents. I did see a solution proposed in response to those that said that their child had a life-threatening allergy to something other than peanuts ..... "Home School your child". There were also some point-blank accusations that you are a bad parent if you send your milk-allergic child to school. So once again, it seemed to be OK to voice support for the peanut-allergic among us, but the rest of us keep quite please, it is hurting the message.

My son is in Grade 4. They have pizza days at least once a month for hot lunch. Milk cartons are served school-wide every Friday for hot lunch. There are no special procedures in place other than a nut ban. For his 1st 2 1/2 years of school, I brought him home every day for lunch. Now, he eats there safely, but is very aware of what everyone is eating around him, so will take necessary precautions - like sitting at a separate table, and asking friends to wash their hands after they eat their mucky yogurt (or dip their nose in it like one of his friends did... :roll: I can't imagine having a policy where those bringing milk cartons in have to check in at the office. 350 kids later.....

I've watched my son have 3 episodes of anaphylaxis, all happened while he was under MY direct supervision, all to milk. He has never so much as had a swollen lip at school after all these years (every few months he will get some hives on his hands, or a swollen lip but hasn't eaten anything ... what I'm guessing is a type of contact reaction to milk residue somewhere, but this has always happened at home). My point is that it is very, very possible for a child to survive and thrive in a school without banning their allergens. And when the author of that awful article pointed that out, everyone freaked! She was right about that point, at least! I think she was only using milk allergies as an example that it can be done, but unfortunately, many, many reponses then incorrectly went on to minimize milk as a "less-serious" allergy, or "lactose intolerance", and dismiss this as a valid argument. :banghead

Maybe I had to start him down the path a little sooner than those with just a peanut allergy, but I know he'll be able to handle himself well when he hits the invincible years!

Bottom line, I am completely in agreement with most of the posts in regards to how to keep kids safe at school. I'm only trying to describe the reaction to the article's comments to help others understand why there was some negativity.

For the future, I think that if we start placing more emphasis on overall safety procedures, and less on simply banning the food, we would all be much further ahead with our respective school communities. Sabrina's Law seems to be the perfect solution, but most provinces are still blissfully unaware of this important legislation.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:23 pm 
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Location: Alberta
aaronsmom, I just realized that my post went in a different direction than I intended! I started out replying to some of your commnets, then my kids pointed out that they needed their breakfast .... and when I returned to finish, I think I thought I was replying to the other topic regarding division amongst allergy parents. So my apologies! So many thoughts flying around in my head, I should really take some time to word my responses better! I guess it still applies to both threads.. :?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:27 am 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
Yeah, I agree with more education and "risk reduction" used as a term, rather than ban.

But couldn't your boy's school have hot dog day or chicken finger day instead of pizza day? Alberta's policy has risk reduction measures as part of what is needed. I don't understand how the school can justify acomodating one child and not another, when they both have the same health issue.

Right now I think part of the problem seems to be that we have no way of judging what is effective management, what is too little (well, I guess if there are reactions happening, that would mean too little), or what is too much.

I am wondering this: with anaphylaxis to dairy or to egg, if a product has some milk baked in it, like bread, for example, is it unsafe for a child with anaphylaxis to dairy to be around? I would think that it would not be too big a deal to ask that liquid milk, cheese and ice cream not be eaten at school...all those things could have alternatives - calcium fortified orange juice could replace milk programs for nutritional value if need be. Trying to limit foods that have some milk in them would be harder for non-allergic parents, as milk is an ingredient in so much other stuff, like bread and luncheon meats.

What would be appropriate risk reduction for a kindergarten aged child with anaphylaxis to dairy/dairy/other...what is your wish list? Would that change as the child got older, meaning they were more able to understand and learn what their responsibilities are as far as allergy management?

Another question I have is:

I think that kids with anaphylaxis should only eat food from home, when they are small, and then as they are older, they should be taught how to read labels and know what they can and can't eat and be expected to comply. They shouldn't be eating Abigail's birthday cake from the local bakery, ever...the parent should provide them with an alternative.
Do you agree?

I got told a lot of times that I should home school Aaron, once someone even suggested he should be kept in a bubble.

I think about 1997, when he was born, was the beginning of peanut allergy becoming not a rare thing. But even so, he never met another kid with anaphylaxis till he was 6. He was the only kid in his school of 800 in grade 1. But now there are quite a few, and the enrollment has dropped to about 450. Even about 4 years ago, the allergists were saying that dairy and egg allergy was usually outgrown by school age, and that multiple food allergies were really, really rare. But now it seems more likely that dairy and egg aren't outgrown, and that multiple allergies are pretty common. So part of this is that it is all happening quite quickly.

But anaphylaxis is anaphylaxis, no matter what causes it, and we need to get that message out.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:40 pm 
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Location: Alberta
aaronsmom wrote:
I would think that it would not be too big a deal to ask that liquid milk, cheese and ice cream not be eaten at school...all those things could have alternatives - calcium fortified orange juice could replace milk programs for nutritional value if need be. Trying to limit foods that have some milk in them would be harder for non-allergic parents, as milk is an ingredient in so much other stuff, like bread and luncheon meats.

I think that kids with anaphylaxis should only eat food from home, when they are small, and then as they are older, they should be taught how to read labels and know what they can and can't eat and be expected to comply. They shouldn't be eating Abigail's birthday cake from the local bakery, ever...the parent should provide them with an alternative.
Do you agree?



Yes, there are lots of alternatives to milk / cheese, etc .... BUT we live in a relatively small community (22,000 people), and I fear that if I were to demand an outright ban on milk products at school, then the backlash would fall to my son in the form of parent bullies. It's a delicate balance between protecting his health, and protecting his mental health. Allergic Living has done an amazing job of bringing the issue of childhood anxiety to the forefront, and I am trying to get him through the school years being supported by his friends, not bullied by them. So far so good .... he is a healthy, smart, popular, well-balanced kid. There is definitely not the recognition or support for allergies to things other than nuts, because even people on this board continue to deny that there is anything more dangerous than a nut allergy. I can think of 2 students who have passed away in the last decade from food allergies at school ... and both were to dairy, not peanut.

Sorry to be a little argumentative - my post above offers what I see as the way to proceed for the future, and I know that there is a lot of support for it.... I'm not asking for bans to be taken away, either. BUT I would ask those parents whose kids have peanut allergies....

Would you be willing to support a TOTAL ban on dairy products in your child's classroom? No cheese strings, yogurt tubes, no milk (of course) .... no baked goods containing butter, no "peanut free" granola bars that have "modified milk ingredients" on the label ... no cheese in the sandwiches, on bread that is milk-free, with meat that has not come from a deli that also slices cheese on the same slicer? No pizza days? No hot dog days unless they are the all-beef-milk-free variety (my son had his 1st anaphylaxis from a single bite of a dairy contaminated weiner)

I'll be very interested in the responses to this, and be honest!! I'll cast the 1st vote ..... NO!!! What on earth would I send my daughter with to school without cheese and yogurt?

So, is there a two-tiered approach? Yes. And as long as nut bans are in place, there always will be. And I'm OK with that, because I know food bans are not necessary to keep my son safe, part of which is the policy that aaronsmom states in the quote above - that he's taught from the get-go to NEVER eat food anywhere, ever, unless we say it's OK.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Ottawa
[quote="Momtobunches]
Would you be willing to support a TOTAL ban on dairy products in your child's classroom? No cheese strings, yogurt tubes, no milk (of course) .... no baked goods containing butter, no "peanut free" granola bars that have "modified milk ingredients" on the label ... no cheese in the sandwiches, on bread that is milk-free, with meat that has not come from a deli that also slices cheese on the same slicer? No pizza days? No hot dog days unless they are the all-beef-milk-free variety (my son had his 1st anaphylaxis from a single bite of a dairy contaminated weiner)

I'll be very interested in the responses to this, and be honest!! I'll cast the 1st vote ..... NO!!! What on earth would I send my daughter with to school without cheese and yogurt?

So, is there a two-tiered approach? Yes. And as long as nut bans are in place, there always will be. And I'm OK with that, because I know food bans are not necessary to keep my son safe, part of which is the policy that aaronsmom states in the quote above - that he's taught from the get-go to NEVER eat food anywhere, ever, unless we say it's OK.[/quote]

Personally, I'd have no problem with a milk ban because dd has severe milk allergies. But I agree that it's an uphill battle to get the school to give up milk.

I suggest that we approach allergies from the perspective of informing the school of the issue and asking them to let us know how they plan to keep our children safe. "I have a real concern about dd sharing a desk another student at lunch if one is eating cheese strings as they are finger food and she will react if she comes in contact with the residue. How do you plan to avoid that."

I have no problem with a child sitting beside dd eating a cheese and mayo sandwhich on 7 grain bread (with a trace of nuts) because the chance of her reacting to that is miniscule.

Your example of Hot Dog Day is great. No pizza day please but how about Hot Dog Day with all-beef wienners? We're selling candy kabobs with Dare candies. We also need to offer alternatives to the school so that they don't shut out our voice with their thoughts of "Oh no! How will we manage."

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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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