Avoiding Spilled Milk
As the mother of a dairy-allergic 8-year-old, I am often asked: “How can anyone be allergic to milk?” From an early age, we’re taught that milk is good for you. It’s hard for people to fathom living without it, and then you explain that the allergy is not just to cow’s milk, but to a protein in every dairy product. Whether milk, cheese or whey or casein ingredients in a packaged food – it’s all dangerous and to be avoided.
When we registered our daughter for Junior Kindergarten back in 2001, my husband and I heard all about anaphylaxis plans for peanuts and tree nuts. But school officials seemed to have a hard time grasping that milk could be just as deadly to a child allergic to dairy. The school had a monthly Pizza Day, and the allergist had recommended that our daughter not go to school on those days, as the risk of a reaction from the melted cheese (which smears so easily) was high.
Since she missed many events, I asked the school to reconsider the importance of Pizza Day. To my great relief, the new principal was most understanding and promptly dropped the “day”. Not all parents have accepted this easily, but that’s OK. My primary job is to protect my child physically and psychologically; I want her formative years in academia to be positive. Four years into our journey with dairy allergy and the school, the awareness-building continues. Along the way, we have learned much that’s worth sharing.
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