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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 799
Location: Vancouver, BC
I've talked to more than a few people with (or have children with) a food sensitivity or intolerance who call it an allergy because it gets taken more seriously. Now, I totally understand why they do it, but it also could be contributing to others not taking allergies seriously, because they might eat it sometimes or have very small amounts with no negative reaction, leading to the 'oh, they're not REALLY allergic'.

For example: A child has a sensitivity to wheat, as in gets a mild rash and some mild stomach upset, so the parent says 'my child has a sensitivity', then the daycare doesn't think it's serious and continues to give him wheat. She then says it's an allergy and they stop giving him wheat. HOWEVER, if the child mistakenly gets given a small amount of wheat and they don't notice any sort of reaction, then the daycare could start not believing people who say they have an allergy.

I have simplified allergy information given to others to avoid confusion as well - when my DD was outgrowing her dairy allergy, she could tolerate yogurt, but would get hives from a glass of milk or cheese, so I said she had a dairy allergy and people shouldn't give her any dairy. It was too confusing to say 'well, she has a dairy allergy but can have yogurt, or skim milk powder that's baked into a cracker, just not milk or cheese.'

So where do you draw the line with full disclosure VS possibly paving the way for allergies not being believed. Or what do you say to people who lie about the sensitivity to get taken seriously?

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 642
Location: AB, Canada
I personally find the term 'Allergy' somewhat confusing. People always think of allergies as watery eyes, sneezing etc...and so a food allergy is sometimes confused with things like hayfever, allergies to cats, pollen etc. I really think the term anaphylactic should be used so that people 'get it'.

As for the difference between sensitivity and allergy, the same goes. They are not the same, although I can understand why a parent of a sensitive child might use the term allergic. I agree with the way you handled your DD's dairy allergy, I would have handled it the same way. I would also feel that if I insisted that the preschool didn't give him any dairy, but then I sent him with yogourt, it would undermine my request.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
Intolerance, allergy, sensativity, allergy to raw food but not to cooked foods...this is why we state our daughter has "evere (life threatening) food allergies to all peanut, tree nut, egg, dairy and most legumes (beans/peas/lentils etc.) DO NOT FEED HER ANY FOOD UNLESS HER PARENTS HAVE PROVIDED IT.

Intolerance is not an allergy. When people get them mixed up, it shows they do not fully understand the condition. If the person is in a position of supervising your child, you need to ensure they get the necessary training. If it is another parent, you can gently offer suggestions of where to get more information. It is hard to point out another persons flaws, especially when it can place their child at risk. Mentioning books, magazines (such as this :) ), suport groups etc. that you have found helpful is a good route.

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Moderator
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 Apr 23, 2009 10:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 799
Location: Vancouver, BC
Thanks for the replies Susan and Becky. It is confusing to the general public (and the media hasn't helped!) and a difficult subject to broach with people who have their facts wrong. The people I've encoutered actually know that they are dealing with an intolerance, but just choose to call it an allergy so people take it seriously. What I would like to say is 'well, I really wish you wouldn't call it an allergy, because those people with real allergies risk not being taken seriously when more and more people start using the term incorrectly'., but like Susan said, people will exaggerate or even lie if the safety of their child is at risk. I guess there's not much we can do with this one.

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
My daughter who is anaphylactic to numerous foods hates it when someone refers to a sensitivity as an allergy! It really frustrates her since she knows that person will just be uncomfortable (particular child is lactose intolerant but says she is allergic to milk) as opposed to her having an anaphylactic reaction.

It is difficult though for any of us with 'sensitivities' to a food that really make us sick when people do not take it seriously. If I say I am sensitive to cilantro at a restaurant it will likely be ignored and my meal is ruined because it makes me nauseous to eat it and after a bite I will not touch the meal. Definitely not like anaphylaxis but frustrating nonetheless!

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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 Apr 25, 2009 11:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2946
Location: Toronto
Agree with what you're saying. Would add that I think the word "intolerance" is a good one.

For instance, if you have celiac that is a pretty serious condition and gluten exposures might not be life-threatening in one sitting, but could have serious consequences (malnutrition, certain cancers) over time. I wish people would just say 'I have an allergy" - explain seriousness in a phrase OR "I have an intolerance that can make me quite ill". Making someone ill should suffice at a restaurant, etc.

But yeah, the problem with "allergy" is that for some people it creates a picture of sniffles or a rash only, while others merely "self-diagnose" and assume they're allergic. Not helpful to those of us with the real deal.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:13 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
I try to always refer to our daughters as severe ir life-threatening (or sometimes both...depending on who I'm speaking to)

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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: Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 799
Location: Vancouver, BC
Yes, I use 'severely allergic' or 'highly allergic', because I find people don't know what anaphyactic means. I don't blame them - I didn't know what it meant either, until my dd was diagnosed!

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:00 pm
Posts: 3
I have intolerance to several foods, but when I'm eating at a restaurant or someone's house I call it an allergy. When I eat nitrates I am sick for several weeks to 3 months due to sores that form in my digestive track and other organs, but it isn't an allergy because protein isn't involved. People don't take "intolerance" seriously, so I tell them that I have an allergy. I'd like to make them think that I would die if fed nitrates rather than get and stay sick.

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Intolerance to nitrates and sulfites. Allergies to soy, peppers, and some herbs.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 375
Location: Alberta
I have to admit, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. My big issue is that milk allergy is getting "diagnosed" in almost every child that seeks alternative practitioners for help with their kids' behaviour (along with wheat). They are NOT allergies in these kids!!! These kids don't have any typical allergy symptoms. It really is diluting the message out there, and even on this board I've been asked whether or not my son's allergies are "real" or just cause him to act out. :banghead (For the record, his behaviour is "model" according to the many teachers he has had).

It's well known by dieticians that milk, wheat and corn are more difficult for the body to digest, so when people are having vague digestive issues, OF COURSE they'll feel better when they're told to eliminate these things from their diet!!!! It's a diet that a very prominent dietician in Calgary recommends to those suffering from IBS symptoms, but she also re-introduces those foods after 3 weeks of going without.

So when milk and wheat are cut out of the diet, presto ... kid feels better, and Mom believes that the naturopath diagnosed what skin / RAST testing could not. Almost everyone has some level of intolerance to dairy, wheat and corn at some point. Allergies, they are not.

There are 3 kids in my son's class who claim allergies to milk and wheat - all behaviour-related, and they have NO special requirements as far as food in class. Luckily, my teachers know my son's is very serious, but I do worry that as he grows older and has many teachers for different subjects that they all won't feel the same way.

It's a dangerous trend that I'd like to see come to an end, for the safety of our kids.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:40 am
Posts: 423
Location: Alberta, Canada
I have wondered how to explain some of my allergies. Peanut/tree nut, coconut and shellfish are anaphylactic for me no question. Being told by the allergist not to have any pork and oatmeal as my tests showed allergy to this. (if I ate it I was fine but did not feel tummy fine if I had too much) The pork and oatmeal I have no problem to cook and serve to my family, I just don't eat it. (the first four items I do not even have in my house) So since the allergist said NO am I to assume that the next time I have either or I may have a bad reaction and it is a "ALLERGY" or not??? I have even wondered if I should have never cut these items out of my diet in the first place. When I go in for tests I seem to react very easily. The last time I went in he made me come back a week later to re-do the tests as he felt I reacted to too much. I pretty much do not discuss it with people if I don't have to. (easier than it being a child who needs care I know) I do have questions ?? :scratchy

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Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:43 pm
Posts: 85
Location: northern Ontario
My sister-in-law claims to have an "allergy" to some foods. She makes a huge deal about it at every meal. We she comes to visit she asks me over and over again what is in the food. When I tell her it's fine she still picks it apart. One time my mom made a sauce and she literally screamed at my mom because she thought my mom and put one of her allergy foods in it.

Now fine if this was truly an allergy...however, every time we are somewhere she is telling someone a different story about the severity of her allergy. Everything from well I can tell as soon as it hits my mom, to have trouble in the room because it's being cooked, and her famous one well I'm not epi-pen allergic. :roll: just a bit upset stomach.

Again fine...however once we went out for lunch this was before they were married and my brother had order shrimp sauteed in mushrooms and peppers(two of her allergy foods) After going through her entire speech about what can't touch her food and making sure the chef knew, she had one of the shrimps off my brothers plate. Now this waitress was very accomidating and so was the kitchen. Even to the point of when she gave my brother his meal she came from the other side of the table to give my brother his plate...to avoid any mishaps with the plate falling and whatnow.

So..this waitress saw my sister-in-law eat the shrimp and the waitress said" oh! that has mushrooms and peppers in it" she replied with "well I just had the shrimp, as long as I only have one" :banghead

You could tell that the waitress wasn't impressed after everything that this waitress was put through.

So..now that I wrote a novel. Not sure if you can tell but she just get on my nerves about this whole thing.

Now...don't get me wrong. If it was indeed a true allergy I would have no issues at all, I have and still will continue to keep her "allergens" out of the foods I make. But she needs to be truthful about her so call allergies.

_________________
Tracy
A 4 -Gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free. Also asthma, pulmonary stenosis, developmental delays, Noonan Syndrome, and environmental allergies.
T 7 - asthma and environmental allergies. And a wonderful big sister to her little brother


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:06 pm
Posts: 217
Location: Terrebonne, Quebec
oh man that would have driven me crazy! I hate people that do that just to get accomodations for no good reason (mostly for the attention I think). When I was 6 or 7 or something I remember saying that I was allergic to green apples (I didn't like green apples - only red ones) and my mom pretty much told me off in a kid way and made sure to send me with green apples in my lunchbox for almost 3 weeks.. I learned my lesson! I've had so many people say "oh, you say she's allergic, does she get a stomach ache?" and my response is generally to the effect of "no, it's the same a peanut reaction.. she swells up and has trouble breathing". I usually get some wide eyes to that one..

_________________
Daughter 3.5 years) - Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Sesame, Beef; asthma and eczema
Daughter (2 years) - Peanuts Eczema
Son (7 months) - Contact allergy to something food undetermined


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 642
Location: AB, Canada
ajsmom, she sounds....difficult? I think I would lose my mind.

My father has hayfever etc.. and WHINES about it to no end. He was explaining to my 6 year old PA son how 'grandpa has is very allergic to ragweed so he has to take special sprays in his nose etc..'

I wanted to scream that we reserve 'allergy' for things that are serious (I have bad hayfever & asthma, I use antihistamines/ventolin and don't whine about it). And that IT IS NOT THE SAME as a FOOD ALLERGY THAT IS LIFE THREATENING!!

He needs some nose spray with him out in public??? We carry a twinject, and epipen, ventolin and benedryl in liquid and chewable, wipes to clean every surface.

It makes me want to scream.

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
This also greatly annoys me. There have been kids we've known who have a peanut allergy, but they can eat anything and everything without checking ingredients including some products which have nuts/peanuts. One mom told me her daughter's never been tested but had a reaction as a small child with a few hives to what they are sure was a peanut so they know she is allergic....but to this day she can eat anything. This is very confusing to people who we are trying to take allergies seriously and as a life threatening disease.
I can't even count anymore how many people tell me they also have allergies when I'm talking about our son. Nine times out of 10 it ends up being an upset stomach or heartburn type reaction and they still eat the food they are allergic to.
DH's relative has a shellfish allergy. Yet (this is the days of eating out before our DS) he'd eat small amounts of shellfish or eat everything else in the seafood dish. That is NOT an allergy!!!
Another relative has a "sesame allergy" but eats anything from anywhere, eats out all the time and and eats any dish with sesame in it as long as there weren't whole seeds he can visabaly see????? If he could see the seeds he'd "react" but he could eat a dozen plates of Chinese food or sushi or bread from a bakery counter covered in sesame and be fine????

Ladies, you aren't alone on this one either, I know exactly what you are saying.

_________________
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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