Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the news...

I was just reading about a family in Chicago who is suing a Chinese restaurant because their daughter died from peanut residue in the food.  The article from the Chicago Tribune (,0,107091.story) states that the 13-year-old had known severe allergies to peanuts.  I am sorry for this family's loss, and think there are a few things that we can all take away from this.

Since the only information I have is from the article, there are few questions I have.  Why was this student eating the Chinese food in the first place?  With a severe allergy to peanuts, it is always safest to stay away from Chinese food, among other ethnic cuisines.  My next question is why didn't she have an Epi-pen on her, so that when she was feeling a reaction, she could use it to save herself (or a teacher to help her)?  Although there are other questions that come to mind, these are the ones that I find most important.

As an Allergic Reactor to peanuts as well as many other foods, I always stay away from ethnic foods.  I may be missing out, but it is one of the ways that I can keep myself safe.  Even if I were to check with a Chinese restaurant, and they said they wouldn't use any peanuts, I would still be concerned about the cross-contamination.  It is just too risky with this kind of allergy!  Better to be safe!

My biggest concern and worry for this student, and for all Allergic Reactors, is whether they are carrying their Epi-pen!  As an Allergic Reactor, that is your lifeline.  In case you do eat something that you shouldn't, you have the Epi-pen right next to you to help open your airways, then a call to 911!  I  can't emphasize enough how crucial it is to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have it with you!  Even if you don't anticipate eating somewhere, the way to keep yourself safe (or your children safe) is to always have it with you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In my Dream

The other night, I had a dream that I was able to eat tree nuts without an anaphylactic reaction.  It was the strangest allergy dream that I have had!  Usually, when I have a dream, I still always have my same allergies.  This was the first time where I was actually eating nuts in my dream without a reaction.  I do remember in my dream feeling nervous, wondering why it was okay that I could eat these nuts all of a sudden.   

When I woke up I was perplexed by the dream.  How come I could eat nuts in my dream?  Why now was I suddenly having a dream where I was physically eating nuts, and it was okay?

I suppose part of me is always hoping that a cure will come, where I will be able to eat tree nuts, and anything else that I want to eat.  It is always such a nice thought to me to envision life where I have the possibility to try anything I want to try.  The feeling of walking into a store or a bakery, pointing to something delicious, and being able to eat it. I know it sounds strange to non-Allergic Reactors, but that feeling is almost unimaginable. 

With all of the studies being done around the world, I do have hopes that one will someday make these dreams a serious reality!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sorry for disappearing!

This is the first year where I am not sharing a classroom with another teacher, and with that, comes much more work!  I am frustrated with myself for neglecting my blog and my readers.  I continue to have experiences on a daily basis that I should be sharing in hopes of helping parents and their Allergic Reactors! 

Every day I receive a google search with news of anything that food allergy related.  It is through this that I continue to stay updated about the continued push for new laws, trials, and education to help all of us Allergic Reactors.  In Italy, where I have been living for the past two years, there is very little allergy knowledge or education.  Food is a significant part of the culture though, and I have continued to have people be even more understanding and helpful here, even with such little knowledge.  It is interesting to me how this happens.  Since food is so important, people really want to help and make sure I can eat something when I am out.  I have had very few negative encounters, but quite a few interesting stories nonetheless!

Although living abroad is a challenge in so many ways, it is something I would certainly not change, and has helped shape me as I continue to grow up into my adulthood. I have learned to go to the grocery store without a dictionary and understand what I can and cannot eat.  I have learned to ask for gelatto safely, and how to order dinner at a restaurant.  My friends here often ask me if I get nervous when we go to eat, or if I worry about it.  I don't though.  I feel confident with my ability to make safe decisions, ALWAYS carry my Epi-pens, Benedryl, and inhaler with me, and know that I know am keeping myself as safe as I can be. 

There is nothing I need to worry about as long as I have the education and experience to know exactly what to do.  That is the point that I hope each Allergic Reactor can reach!  It is an outstanding feeling to be confident enough to eat out, travel, and even have regular everyday experiences and not have your allergies to worry about! 

Keep reading parents and Allergic Reactors!  Please also feel free to post comments and questions!  I am always happy to answer!