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 Post subject: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
Just saw this on another forum (from an article elsewhere) that was mocking food allergies:

However, there is an increasing body of medical opinion that, while there definitely are food sensitivities, the dramatic uptick in frequency of nut allergies and more particularly the measures taken in response to the threat show elements of mass psychogenic illness, hysterical reactions grossly out of proportion to the level of danger.


Do we take allergies too seriously? I don't think so but then I know that my mum definitely was not as protective of me, in general, when I was a kid but was that because she didn't know better? To me, avoiding my daughter's allergens is akin to wearing a seatbelt. Why wouldn't I make her wear a seatbelt when I know it can save her life?

I'm also the parent that fits the neighbourhood kids' bike helmets, won't let young kids sit in the front seat and have removed kids from my trampoline for not following our rules. In contrast, my neighbour's kids don't wear bike helmets, have no trampoline rules and their 14 year old has hosted drinking parties. Does it mean that dad doesn't care or does it mean he is more easy going??

Is it because I have experience with the risk of not wearing a seatbelt (my friend's boyfriend died), bike helmet (one saved me 25 years ago) and a trampoline with no rules (want to see my back xray??) or is it because I am simply cautious? I want my kids to live full lives and sometimes do wonder if I am TOO cautious. I'm still here despite the crazy things I did...

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


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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:40 am
Posts: 423
Location: Alberta, Canada
I do not think we are being too cautious. Like the seat belt situation. When we know better, we do better. Why play with fire. I hear you on what we survived as kids. I am going to assume my parents just did not know how fatal nuts... were. I remember sitting there as I shelled nuts for my sibling to eat even though I am ana to them :frightened

How I survived eating a pistachio at 10 because my sister (an adult) said it must be fine because it is like a sunflower seed. :frightened

I remember these reactions like it was yesterday, but would I put myself or anyone else in either of those situations heck no! I don't even allow nuts in my house.

Like I said when you know better, you do better. :thumbsup

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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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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 641
Location: AB, Canada
This is a timely topic for me, since I have been thinking about it at length recently, specifically with regards to food allergies.

The tragedies that we hear of are usually ingestion of the allergen (ie peanut oil, nut cereal, nut chocolate in the case of the UK boy), usually not a slice of WHITE bread made at the same bakery as PB cookies.

I wish I could be a little more laid back about things, but it isn't my nature. I am always surprised when I talk to parents of older kids (teens +) who INSIST the allergy is SEVERE, but have always allowed them to eat at every restaurant - including Chinese, grocery store cakes, DQ etc and haven't had a problem.

Are we being too cautious?

_________________
DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Becky I totally get what you are saying about some people's kids eating everything and anywhere. I used to wonder about the same thing, cautious, overly cautious??? Now I view it as how I choose to deal with our child's allergies regarding taking chances (or in this case not taking chances) is a personal decision and it's just the way it is going to be in our house.


As Walooet said regarding seat belts, we wear them there fore there are less fatal/severe injuries during car accidents. People may argue that seat belts aren't necessary as fatal/severe injuries are such a low percentage of accidents...but that is due to seat belts being worn in the first place.
Same goes for immunizations. I hear over and over that this and that disease haven't been around for 100 yrs. BUT that is because of immunizations and not an argument not to get them.

So as far as allergies. It is due to all our precautions that there aren't as many severe reactions as would be if we took less or no precautions. This of course gives the statistic lovers out there fuel to say allergies aren't as severe as we say BUT this low number is directly due to the actions we are taking.

Dead is dead, lack of oxygen to the brain is brain dead.... I'll take being over cautious.

_________________
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: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Ontario
This is a really complicated question and I've spoken to two "experts" on the matter in the past few years during writing assignments (I'm a freelance writer and occasional Allergic Living contributor).

Let me say first that I'm not trying to lecture anyone or sound like I have all the answers because I certainly don't! :) This is merely my take on my own ever-evolving parental philosophy and not a condemnation or negation of anyone's own practices. No pitchforks or burning torches, please! :frightened

The first expert I spoke to was Dr. Michael Ungar, a Dalhousie University professor who wrote a book called "Too Safe for Their Own Good" about overprotective parents - my article was published in a provincial school board magazine, Education Today, a few years ago. This was one of my very favourite articles to research and it changed the way I parent my own children, including my peanut-allergic daughter. Ungar says that because parents protect their young children from all risks - falling in playgrounds, walking to school unattended, playing outside unsupervised - when these children get older they take unsafe risks away from parental eyes because children need some risk-taking in order to grow up. Children who are never exposed to comparatively "safe" risks that help them become more responsible and self-aware when they're younger tend to become the teens who don't seatbelt themselves into cars and experiment with drugs/alcohol/cutting classes/fill in the blank.

Dr. Ungar is not saying we should expose our young kids to actual danger but he discusses all the things our kids learn just while walking on their own to school - how to safely cross the street, how to get to school on time, chatting with peers, kicking a soccer ball along the way for extra physical activity - just like we did when we walked to school as kids. Instead we tend to worry about stranger abductions and accidents that are extremely rare. He talks about how we bundle our kids into cars before and after school and herd them from this to that structured activity (soccer or piano) and how that structure stunts their ability to learn responsibility on their own. I can't do his book justice in just a few short paragraphs but it was fascinating and it actually made me rethink everything about my own perception of what being a "good" parent means. I thought I was being a great parent, supervising their every move and driving them everywhere because that's what all my friends were doing. Lots of food for thought here: http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/displ ... 0771087080 (link to Dr. Ungar's book)

However, we parents of allergic kids have an added element of risk and face very real danger - because of that I had to figure out how to implement Ungar's philosophy in a different way from parents who don't have kids with severe allergies or other medical conditions.

The second expert I spoke to, Dr. Eyal Shemesh, really helped me figure out how to take Ungar's guidelines and apply it to our situation. In my last article, in the Winter 2011 edition of Allergic Living, Dr. Shemesh talks about "avoidance coping" and how it blurs the line between what is safe and what is really, truly unsafe for allergic folks. An example of avoidance coping would be not letting your peanut-allergic child visit a relative's house that isn't peanut-free but where the relatives aren't eating or serving peanuts and risk of exposure is very low. For a two-year old this might be acceptable (depending on the level of allergy awareness in the house) but an older child who knows to ask about food and carries an Epipen, etc., needs to be able to navigate a situation like on his/her own because it has a low element of risk. Avoidance coping - avoiding unsafe AND safe situations - blurs the line for the child between what is safe and what isn't, they start thinking no situation is safe and they become very anxious. According to Ungar, kids need to be able to learn to assess risk on their own and they look to parents to teach them how to do it effectively and safely from a young age.

What I'm trying to say is that it's good to always assess and reassess how we're handling things with our kids and adapt accordingly. What's risky at age five may be less so at age 10 but perhaps more so at age 15 and that's something all parents go through, not just allergic parents. Examining situations regularly, tweaking the way we handle it as needed and handing over age-appropriate responsibility really helps children become independent and self-aware people, and who doesn't want that for their kids? :)

Just my two little cents, I really hope it didn't come across "lecture style" because I know there are a lot of fantastic parents on this site who are doing a great job with the amazing kids we've been blessed with. :happydance

Carolyn


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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
That was not lecturing at all. We have been taking 'calculated risks' essentially with our daughter with food allergies. Now that she is a teenager, there are soooo many times we do not have control that it has been very good for her to eat out with her friends and handle it on her own. It doesn't mean that I don't get nervous but I have been learning to let go...

I also realize that every family has their own comfort level and their own rules. In our home, for kids and adults, everyone must wear a seatbelt and when riding a bike, wear a helmet. No exceptions. Same goes for the epi-pen - she even takes it when rollerblading in the neighbourhood. Any time she is more than a block from home, it goes with her.

Really appreciate everyone's input! :huggy

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


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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Ontario
Yes, we have the same Epipen rule. My daughter once learned the hard way that it ruins not just her fun but the fun of others if she forgets it. Her younger sister was in tears after we had to cancel a much-anticipated lunch outing to a local tea shop when we arrived and realized my allergic daughter had forgotten her Epipen. No pen; no food/drink. Period. (We rescheduled)

Thanks for accepting my sharing in the spirit that it was intended! I've been burned before in other forums where this or that was taken in a way I totally did NOT intend and it's made me somewhat nervous about posting. Since I'm a writer by trade you can imagine my :frightened and my :oops: at not being able to get my point across in the written word, ha! (Gosh I love these Smilies, I'm sure you can't tell...) ;)

Carolyn


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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
No lecture at all Carolyn, wonderful input. I LOVE your articles!!!

When risks are explained in such a manner then yes I do agree there are some need for some risks. Interesting, I guess I never assocciated what I have done before (my branching out) as taking risks.

Going to playgroups where there are snack times has been a definite risk and learning experience. Allowing other children to eat at Ds's safe snack table (we'll just omit the one crazy lady incident) has been a risk but worth it.
I feel that for our sons age we do allow him some risks but they have been implemented slowly as I've felt he is old enough to handle the situation. In the past year as he's gotten a little older I (with him) will now visit friends homes which are not peanut free. They do their best to clean, I don't check when I get there. I just adhire to my rule of no hands in your mouth and no food unless from mommy. That was a huge step for us.
We have eaten out with him as that too is something I want him to be able to know as he gets older IS a possibility. He needs to learn what to ask in order for the staff to be aware of his allergies and how to prepare his food.

The risks I would NEVER take are from such comments as 'well have you tried to just feed it to him' 'try little bits', 'I bet he's outgrown his alleriges', 'trust me it's safe' (no label, no ingredient) or feeding ds a may contain with the hopes that the may contain is just for show and the product is in fact safe. These to me are too great of risks to take.

So I do get what you are saying. I have to say that was very insightful and useful the bit that you posted Carolyn.

_________________
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: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Ontario
Thanks for the kind words on the articles, very appreciated! :)

I think the thing that bugs most of us is feeling judged for simply trying to keep our children safe when the people doing the judging have no idea what it feels like to walk in our shoes. There will always be folks who think we're too cautious but if what we're doing works and it helps our kids become able to safely navigate the world where nothing is allergen-free... Well, who cares what they think?

Also, I completely agree with everyone in this thread on wearing bike helmets, seat belts, etc. These things keep us safer and the reason they were implemented is simply that more people died without them than with them. Risk involves navigating a situation where you'll learn something constructive, like how to safely cross a street. It doesn't mean taking stupid risks, like not wearing a seat belt, because you're not learning anything from that except whether you may or may not beat the odds. Kind of like learning to play a game of strategy vs. playing a game of dice.

We can't keep our kids safe simply by wishing it so. We actually have the tools to do it, unlike our parents or grandparents. In another piece I wrote I compared increasing allergy awareness with a bike helmet, in that it adds another layer of protection. It's not a guarantee of safety but it's a necessary element of protection for our kids. And since when is increased allergy awareness considered "mass hysteria" anyway?! :banghead

Take care everyone, great discussion!

Carolyn


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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
For those who haven't read any of Carolyn's articles here a wonderful one from the Fall Allergic Living.
http://allergicliving.com/?s=carolyn+black


Quote:
The second expert I spoke to, Dr. Eyal Shemesh, really helped me figure out how to take Ungar's guidelines and apply it to our situation. In my last article, in the Winter 2011 edition of Allergic Living, Dr. Shemesh talks about "avoidance coping" and how it blurs the line between what is safe and what is really, truly unsafe for allergic folks.
I remember reading this article, excellent!!!
Here's the link: http://allergicliving.com/?s=Dr.+Eyal+Shemesh%2C


Carolyn Black:
Quote:
Risk involves navigating a situation where you'll learn something constructive, like how to safely cross a street. It doesn't mean taking stupid risks,

:thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup

_________________
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: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
Walooet-that quote is found on Wikipedia under the section Prevalence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut_allergy it is linked to an blog by TARA PARKER-POPE http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/1 ... -hysteria/ and harkens back to .... Dr. Christakis's *opinion* article in the British Medical Journal.
Can I emphasize that it was not a factual article related to anything scientific but simple one man's opinion based on his child having a schoolmate with a peanut allergy? I knew this type of thing would happen! :verymad I wrote to the BMJ and I suppose I will have to write to them again! I hate Wikipedia because anyone can add or edit the information and so it isn't based on fact but rather public opinion which as we all know is lacking in knowledge about anaphylaxis.

*sigh :banghead

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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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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:29 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1117
Unfortunately many people do not understand that wikipedia is user generated! I have seen many high school students research listed solely as wikipedia :(

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


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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
Carolyn Black wrote:
I think the thing that bugs most of us is feeling judged for simply trying to keep our children safe when the people doing the judging have no idea what it feels like to walk in our shoes. There will always be folks who think we're too cautious but if what we're doing works and it helps our kids become able to safely navigate the world where nothing is allergen-free... Well, who cares what they think?
You are so in my head at times, Carolyn.....now, add to that, dismissal.....and you have one :frightened parent..............and we relate to game metaphor....sometimes it does feel like a very big gamble...dd says she won't die from starvation for a day or two....or eating junk food (packaged and familar) for a couple of days (airports).....I am feeding us all healthy foods these next few months till the next holiday.... We love holidays!!

Thoughtfullness, kindness, compassion and empathy are really great things to learn and allergy families know these things well. People who don't live with this or have never experienced an anaphylactic reaction need to open their minds to getting educated about this and not blow it off. Just knowing that people will know how to respond in an emergency situation would go long way.

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


Last edited by alberta advocate on Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Quote:
Unfortunately many people do not understand that wikipedia is user generated! I have seen many high school students research listed solely as wikipedia
:frightened

_________________
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: Too cautious?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
I found this on Facebook!

The 3rd Annual Eat Like Us For A Day Challenge

Quote: Welcome to the third annual Eat Like Us For A Day Challenge! This is an event to raise awareness about Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGIDs). Everyone can participate!
http://www.gaeos.org/index.php?view=art ... om_content
Here's how:
-On May 20, commit to eating only foods that are free of the top six allergens. These are: Milk (in all forms), Egg, Wheat, Nuts/Peanuts, Soy, and Seafood. This may be quite a difficult task, but after all, this is a CHALLENGE! If you're up f...or a really tough challenge, we suggest you omit corn (in all forms) as well.
-THEN- Post about it. Spread the word and invite friends to join you. On the day of the event, post, post, post. Tell you friends what your day was like. What DID you eat? What DIDN'T you eat?

May people who suffer from EGIDs have a very limited diet. Some can only eat a few foods. Others can eat no foods at all, and survive on elemental formulas. We ask that you try a small taste of what life is like for those who suffer from EGIDs and help spread the word by re-posting this event, inviting your friends to join, following the links below and educating yourself about EGID's, and sharing your experiences about your day on the Top Six Elimination Diet here on the event page.

Also, should you feel it appropriate, we ask that you consider donating the funds you would otherwise have spent on your morning coffee or lunch to APFED or CURED to help fund research for better treatments and a cure for EGIDs.

Last year 692 people participated in this event. This year's goal is 1000 people, so share, SharE, sHaRe, SHARE!!!!!!

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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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