Archive for the “Allergies” Category

Posted on 26 Sep 2012

Allergies And Americans

In America, about one out of four people suffer from some type of allergy. That’s over 60 million! Moreover, many people have more than one type. Allergies are the third most common chronic disease in children, and the fifth highest chronic disease overall. They come in a variety of forms. Which one do you have and how might you get some help?


The indoor/outdoor allergies are carried on the air. They include pollen (from trees, grass and weeds), mold spores and dust mites. Pet allergies are also in this group, such as cat, dog and rodent allergies. Cat dander is the most common pet allergy. About three-quarters of all people with allergies have allergies in the indoor/outdoor group.


About seven percent of sufferers have skin allergies, which are caused by touching the allergen. Poisonous plants like poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac all trigger allergies on skin contact. Other common allergens are latex (such as latex gloves), cockroaches and dust mites. Even some foods can be skin allergens. Many people also suffer from exposure to harsh chemicals in the house such as cleaning products. When applied to the skin and not removed promptly, many of these can cause harsh rashes and irritations.

Food and Drug

Food allergies get a lot of notice, because they can be lethal: they claim over 200 lives yearly. Some people do not even know that they suffer from a type of food allergy. As they go about their normal routine and habits of eating they do not pay attention to which foods irritate their system. They don’t realize the signs and symptoms that often accompany a disease like this. However, food allergies are the primary allergy for only about six percent of allergy sufferers. They are most common in children. Peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish are responsible for 90% of all food allergies. One of the most common drug allergies is penicillin. Almost 400 Americans die every year from allergy to penicillin.

There are so many types of diseases out there these days that we often don’t pain attention to the wide array of allergies that might be affecting us. Some people have allergies in a single category and others suffer from multiple categories of this disease. If you are an allergy sufferer, discuss your triggers and symptoms with your chiropractor. Chiropractic is the best and most well accepted holistic treatment for many diseases. Some types of allergies respond remarkably well to chiropractic care. So find yourself a local chiropractor and get checked out today.

Posted on 20 Sep 2012

Casein Allergy – What Is Casein Allergy?

One of the primary proteins in milk is casein. People can be allergic to casein with symptoms that can be either minor or fatal. This allergy usually affects children more than it does adults. It is common for this allergy to be misdiagnosed and sometimes thought to be lactose intolerance.

For babies, the symptoms usually show up when they first start consuming milk formulas. However, they normally grow out of the allergy by age 7. Like most allergies, the reaction to casein may range from mild to severe. Symptoms may include diarrhoea, trouble breathing, ear infections that are recurrent, runny nose and extreme griping in the stomach.

This effect of this allergy is usually seen initially on the skin by way of an itchy rash which can turn into eczema. In addition, there may be evidence of swelling in the face, as well as a reddening of the chest, throat or face. Symptoms are also experienced in the digestive tract where it causes persistent diarrhoea. Some symptoms are of a respirational nature with shortness of breath and wheezing; all asthmatic in nature. The blood pressure may drop and the individual may become unconscious. People may have these symptoms for hours or even days, and may also experience vomiting.

In order to figure out if the symptoms you are experiencing is directly related to casein, it is suggested that the individual remove some foods from their diet for about two weeks and make a note of the foods they do eat. After you have taken on a diet devoid of casein (you can find information on how to do this online), you should consult with allergy experts. Even after you have made the medical consultation, the onus is on you to be proactive by educating and protecting yourself by reading the wrapping on all the foods you consume to make sure they are safe.

If your family has had issues with food allergies, do not give the babies in your family any form of milk-based products. The best cure for an allergic reaction to casein is for you to prevent it altogether. When an individual is having a serious reaction to casein they may also have to stay away from such things as paints, some perfumes and colognes and glues. A casein allergic reaction can call for treatments such as epinephrine, corticosteroid cream or ointment and Benadryl, but the drug given is dependent on the degree of the allergic reaction the individual is experiencing.

As previously mentioned, an allergy to casein is not the same thing as being lactose intolerant. In the less severe instances of casein allergies, the symptoms may have the appearance of lactose intolerance. The body’s immune system rejects the protein found in casein, thereby bringing about the severe response to its consumption, and this is how the allergy is manifested.

Posted on 29 Aug 2012

Medicine for Allergic Rhinitis

Fexofenadine is a new non-sedating antihistamine. It is the active metabolite of terfenadine which has been withdrawn from the market in some countries. Fexofenadine is a safer alternative with similar efficacy in relieving symptoms associated with seasonal allergic-rhinitis or urticaria.


Seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, particularly if their sleep is disturbed. Severe symptoms can lead to lost time from work or school or impaired daily activities. A careful history is the most important part of clinical assessment. If symptoms are seasonal, pollen allergy is most likely whereas perennial symptoms suggest an allergy to dust mites, moulds or household pets. Antihistamines (H1-receptor antagonists) provide symptomatic relief (eg. from runny nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes). How-ever, they are ineffective for the relief of nasal congestion, in contrast intranasal corticosteroids are effective in this regard.

The newer anthistamines terfenadine, loratadine and astemizole were developed to reduce the side effects of drowsiness and dry mouth seen with the older anthistamines. Hence these newer anthistamines are favoured when such side effects are a significant problem (ie. when alertness and motor coordination are required). When drugs are in wide clinical use, rare but serious adverse events are sometimes detected. Terfenadine has been withdrawn from the market in some countries because of serious and sometimes fatal cardiac rhythm disturbances (ie. torsades de pointes). These were due to high plasma levels resulting from coadministration with ketoconazale and erythromycin or, in some patients, liver disease. Terfenadine is also contraindicated with other drugs such as HIV protease inhibitors, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, zileutin, cisapride and sparfloxacin. Similar contraindications are noted with astemizole.

Fexofenadine is the active acid metabolite. As fexofenadine requires no metabolic transformation, rare cardiac adverse events and other drug interactions should be minimized. Fexofenadine is indicated for the symptomatic relief of seasonal allergic rhinitis and urticaria in adults and children older than 12. If antihistamines are to be taken then they should be used regularly and not sporadically.

Clinical Results

Placebo-controlled studies in large groups of patients (n=545 and n=861) with allergic rhinitis have demonstrated the effectiveness of fexofenadine administrated for 2 weeks at twice-daily doses of 60 mg and once-daily doses of 120 or 180 mg.

At the meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, two placebo-controlled studies were presented demonstrating significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life. Patients with moderate to severe rhinitis received fexofenadine as a twice-daily dose of 60 mg or as a once-daily dose 120 or 18 mg.

When compared with cetirizine in a double-blind trial, once-daily fexofenadine 120 or 180 mg was as effective in controlling rhinitis symptoms. The efficacy of fexofenadine also appears comparable with that of loratadine. Two double-blind studies have been presented showing that loratadine 10 mg once daily worked faster than fexofenadine 60 mg twice daily in 836 patients, and that patients who did not respond to fexofenadine had a better response to loratadine and that loratadine was less likely to fail in the first place.

Fexofenadine is also effective in the relief of symptoms associated with urticaria. A higher dose of 180 or 240 mg once daily for 6 weeks significantly reduced total symptom scores (number of wheals or hives and pruritus). At last year’s American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting, three studies were presented supporting the use of fexofenadine 60 mg twice daily in the treatment of patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria.

Posted on 29 Aug 2012

Essential Facts on the Treatment of Candidiasis

If you have a Candida yeast infection, then you will find quite a few available methods for treatment on the market. And the list of treatment methods gets even longer when you think about all the different medications that require a doctor’s prescription. Candidiasis, or the yeast infection, can be successfully cured with various capsules, tablets, lotions, creams or lozenges. There are many things to think about before the correct treatment is implemented. You must consider the state of your health, are you pregnant or nursing, and is your condition the result of a yeast intolerance or was it sexually transmitted. We would tend to suggest you avoid self-diagnosis or even self-medication. Although many people do that and are able to cure their condition. If you are considering treating your suspected yeast infection alone, at least take into consideration if you are experiencing repeated yeast infections. If this is a recurring problem, you owe it to yourself to visit your clinic or doctor and have them determine why your yeast infections keep returning.

When you suspect that you have a yeast infection during your pregnancy, you need to visit your health care clinic or physician right away. If you are pregnant, and are having the symptoms of what appears to be a yeast infection, you should not make the diagnosis yourself or decide on a course of treatment. See your OB/GYN or doctor and get a concise evaluation and treatment plan. He or she probably won’t recommend any oral medications while you are pregnant.

Anti-fungal creams or vaginal suppositories may be used for yeast infection treatment. It usually takes about a week for a yeast infection to be successfully treated and eliminated. But the bottom line is to absolutely see your doctor if you are pregnant and suspect yeast infection symptoms.

There is a form of Candidiasis called oral thrush that appears in the mouth. It is quite common in babies and children, as well as adults. The antifungal compound, Nystatin, is effective for treating oral thrush. A treatment with Nystatin is very easy to do, especially with children. All is required is to rinse the mouth out with the liquid, gargle so it gets to the throat, and then swallow what’s left. However, don’t try to treat yourself if you have oral thrush. Go to your doctor and let him decide on the best treatment for you. Your doctor may want to try another approach. Another thing you don’t want to do if you or your child has oral thrush and that is to rub the white patches in an effort to remove them because you can make the areas under the patches bleed. Trying to get rid of the white patches in this manner will also cause you a lot of pain.

There are precautions that are indicated, in addition to the proper treatment, if your current yeast infection is a repeat. For instance, if your child has had oral thrush, then be sure to sterilize or wash anything that has come in contact with the child’s mouth. Another important thing to be aware of if you are breastfeeding a baby that has, or had, oral thrush, is to check the area around your breast for signs of yeast infection. If you find yourself in this situation, a consultation with your doctor is definitely in order. They can give you the correct guidance.

So it should be pretty obvious that treating a yeast infection is no simple matter. Yeast infections range from simple to life threatening. An immune system that cannot do its job for whatever reason – cancer, chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS – is the cause of these more severe forms of Candidiasis. People who have had an organ transplant are especially at risk because, in order to avoid the rejection of their new organ, they have to be put on a course of drugs that suppress their immune system. Another group that falls into the at-risk classification is chemotherapy patients.

Consider the suggestions mentioned when it comes to yeast treatment infection. Self-medication is good as long as you know exactly the final outcome of it. However, if you are uncertain what could happen, don’t risk to self-medicate. The only thing you can do yourself if for some reason you can’t go to your doctor, is eating a yeast free diet and observe if it somehow relieve the infection, if so, then continue doing it and make a part of your every day diet solution or plan. If it does not, you really need to consult your doctor, before it does more harm to you or your children.

Posted on 04 Aug 2012

The Comfort Of Getting Allergy Relief

If your eyes are watering or itching, you could well be having an allergic reaction to something you have eaten or just from the particles in the air around you. This could really spoil your day. You could even believe you are starting to get a cold or flu. All you can think about is getting allergy relief. The good news is that you can find relief for your symptoms.

Even though normally our immune systems protect us from viruses in the air or bacteria or toxins, there are times when the body will revolt at something it does not agree with. It is always important to test the medicine that you buy to make sure that it is safe to use. You do not want to be drowsy or ill while you are working or driving a car.

There are various factors that cause allergies. It could be unhealthy particles in the air, it could be certain foods or medications. It is important to know which allergy it is that your body is objecting to. Some people will fast for a few days if they think it is something they have eaten. They introduce the foods gradually to detect the one which is causing the allergy.

Apart from medical doctors, homeopaths are also sought after for their brews that are known to cure. Some herbalists will give you herbal medicines to sniff and maybe clear out your sinuses so you can breathe easily. It is believed that honey is also a marvellous healer for allergies. Some believe that keeping your liver clean is the answer to being allergy free.

Allergies can sometimes seriously disrupt the quality of your life. Allergies could be a trigger for asthma and lead to other health problems such as sinusitis and ear infections. If you do not find relief in over the counter drugs then it is important that you go and see your doctor. He will be up to date with the latest medical compounds to help you.

Some allergies can even cause death. If you have such a severe allergy attack, there is no time to take oral medication which might take longer to act. Usually when the attack is life threatening, some people need to rush to a doctor or hospital for an injection that will be able to give them almost instantaneous relief.

When you know what you are allergic to, you could prepare yourself by taking your medication before you come into contact with what is causing the allergy. By the time you are in contact with what is causing it, the medicine is already circulating in your system and might even prevent or eliminate the allergy from developing.

If you are really serious about getting allergy relief then a fantastic start is to clean yourself up from within. Healthy fresh fruit and vegetables and a clean environment is a great way to start. Your body will thank you for its renewed health and you will feel a different person in your quest to be allergy free.

Allergies and asthma attacks can be a discomfort for many and even life threatening for some individuals. Find out about a safe and natural allergy relief method on our site that can even prevent asthma attacks from ever happening again. New report shows you how to eliminate the cause of asthma without suffering any ill side effects from drugs.

Posted on 04 Aug 2012

Are Hives Contagious? Can You Catch Hives From Someone Else?

Many people ask are hives contagious. If you have also asked can you catch hives from someone else then you are certainly not alone.

Hives is a skin condition that is widespread as up to 20% of the population in the United States will have a hives outbreak in their lifetime. There are many different types of hives and they can be triggered by a number of factors.

What Causes Hives?

Hives can be brought on by stress, change in temperature (both hot and cold) and a number of environmental factors. In any particular instant it can be hard to pinpoint the root cause of your hives.

The most common trigger of a hives outbreak is when your body releases histamines in response to an allergic reaction. The allergic reaction itself can be a result of a response to foods such as nuts, shellfish, pet dander and dairy products. Hives can also be triggered by a reaction to medicines like penicillin, antibiotics and painkillers.

What Are Hives?

Hives themselves are wheals that appear on the skin. They are red, itchy, smoothly elevated areas of the skin which are often blanched at the centre. They can vary in size from a few millimeters to several inches across and can appear anywhere on the body.

Hives are more common in women than men. It can be very unpredictable; with the wheals themselves changing in size and moving around the body in a matter of hours. It is true to say that a hives outbreak usually lasts less than 24 hours.

Who Is Most Affected By Hives?

Hives can affect anyone at anytime irrespective of both race and age. It can disappear as fast as it appears and then sometimes comes back with even more fury.

So let’s see what we have learnt so far:

*Hives (medically known as urticaria) appears as red, itchy raised areas of skin that appear in various shapes and sizes
*Hives are very common and the cause can be hard to find
*Hives can change is shape and size quickly plus move around disappearing in one place only to show up in another
*Hives can flare up suddenly
*Hives are typically triggered by a histamine release as a result of an allergic reaction

Ok but now we know about hives let us get back to the original question which was “Are hives contagious?”

Are Hives Contagious?

Well the simple answer is no there is always a trigger be it those we have already listed. It can be caused by touch but that is only because pressure has been put on the skin called “pressure hives”. It is not because someone with hives has touched someone else and “passed” on the condition.

Posted on 17 Aug 2011

What you need to know about Green Lipped Mussel Allergy Problems

Want to know what green lipped mussel allergy problems you can encounter but can not seem to find the answer anywhere? For starters, it is possible to develop an allergy when taking ANY product, including Green Lipped Mussel. Let us find out what type of allergic reactions can possibly happen.

Let us start with the most obvious green lipped mussel allergy: If you are allergic to seafood or fish in general, it might not be a good idea to take this supplement, as this is actually a New Zealand Shellfish. However, don’t assume that you can’t take it. Consult your doctor and see what he/she suggests. Your doctor would know much more about your health and allergy and will be able to guide you better. You do not want to miss the myriad health benefits just because you assumed the wrong thing on your own! Always refer to professional help.

Most green lipped mussel allergy problems are on a printed label on the product and states how such allergies can develop when taking the supplement. However, there are some companies, which do not show this warning on the package, so it is always better to conduct your own research beforehand. Since you are reading this, you are probably aware of the importance of checking these things beforehand and I applaud you for doing so!

A green lipped mussel allergy symptom can include having the face or lips swelling up. This will result in a difficulty to breath as the airway usually swells too. These symptoms, though, are extremely rare in the general population.

Knowing about these reactions beforehand will help you to NOT panic if something like this happens and you will be able to pin-point to what caused it, therefore, dealing with the situation faster and accurately on the problem.

You might be thinking that, right now, you are not even sure whether you are allergic to seafood. If you do not know, you can start taking this dietary supplement but be very aware and on alert of any symptoms that might occur. If you experience any of the mentioned side effects, seek medical attention immediately. Although a VERY small fraction of people experiences such Green Lipped Mussel Allergy, it can happen.

Although there are some marketers that advertise this product as a “miracle food”, I do believe that there is NO such thing as a miracle food. This product can REALLY make a BIG change to your health, but it will not perform any miracles. You should keep that in mind before trying this product out.

If you find out that you are not allergic, then you are in luck! Green lipped mussel has been documented in many cases to help reduce joint pain, inflammation in sufferers. Supplementation with the mussel has also led to vibrant skin, enhanced circulatory system, strengthened immune & nervous system, fertility, bones and teeth. As you can see, if you lucky enough not to have an allergies to shellfish, a boatload of benefits await you.

Now I must mention that only companies that process and store their mussel using a unique low heat process can properly store these benefits in a capsule. Most companies use heat to process their mussel, which totally ruins the mussel. So look for a company that explicitly states that they use a unique low heat process.

You deserve nothing than the best quality of life that you can get. If you are not fortunate enough not to have a green lipped mussel allergy and want to see a tidal wave of benefits, try green lipped mussel today.

Posted on 16 Jul 2011

Give Your Acne The Boot With These Acne Prevention Tips

What causes pimples? How do you get rid of them? What are these tiny sores that pop out of our face? A pimple is caused by an infection in the skin, wherein pores are clogged up by dead skin cells, causing dirt and oil to accumulate under the skin’s surface. These tiny boils have the potential to multiply rapidly if not dealt with immediately.

For a long time now, people, specifically teenagers, have been looking for cures for this shameful rash. There hasn’t been a main cause for pimples since a lot of different stuff trigger this infection. The development of this rash is highly intricate. It starts with a collapse of a few skin pores and ends with the formation of a bright red boil on the skin.

Pimples can be eliminated in a variety of ways. Some of them involve participating in medical measures such as laser treatments or obtaining products that would get rid of pimples quickly and completely. These methods may sound alluring to most people but professional dermatologists would prefer to use more natural techniques.

Dermatologists advise their patients to do this because chemically enhanced products may have adverse effects on a user’s skin, especially if it’s sensitive to certain chemical substances. It’s also more practical to use natural ingredients rather than buying commercial products.

An example of a natural method of getting rid of pimples is making use of the papain enzymes of the papaya fruit to clean away dead skin cells and to gently exfoliate skin to make it look more radiant and smooth.

All you have to do is:

1.) Acquire a ripe papaya fruit.
2.) Slice it up into small pieces and mash the sliced pieces in a bowl.
3.) Add fresh lemon juice to liquidize the mixture and to add a little citrus into it.
4.) Wash your face with clean water and apply the concoction onto it.
5.) Leave it on for 30 minutes or let it stay there overnight.
6.) Wash it off with warm water.

Now you know what do to when you’re confronted with a pimple problem. But there’s something else you should know – what NOT to do when you’re experiencing a pimple rash.

Here’s one example: don’t over-wash your face. Washing your face too many times can irritate your skin, causing your pores to produce more sebum(fat excreted by one of your skin glands). Staying up late can also cause pimple outbreaks. When your body doesn’t get the sleep it needs, can stress out your skin, causing your skin pores to breakdown.

This should be enough to equip you with enough know-how to prevent yourself form having acne breakouts. Share this with your friends, and educate them on how to get rid of their pimples today!

Posted on 05 Jul 2011

Nasal Allergy

Allergic rhinitis or nasal allergy is bound to occur in a person if they are exposed to allergens, pollution, and cigarette smoke or happen to have a low weight at birth. Symptoms usually consist of some combination of sneezing, itching of the nose, nasal discharge, and congestion. In addition to these four major nasal symptoms, about half of patients with seasonal allergy also have eye symptoms, which consist of itching, redness, and watering. The most important allergens that cause allergic rhinitis are airborne substances. These airborne allergens can be divided into those that are present only seasonally versus those that are present year-round (also called “perennial”). Seasonal allergens are generally present in the outdoor environment and include tree, grass, and weed pollens as well as outdoor molds. Though dust can cause you to sneeze it may not cause nasal allergy. But dust mites which are tiny microscopic organisms which can be found in mattresses, carpets and furniture can cause nasal allergy.

You will know for sure that it is the dust mites which are actually causing you to sneeze when in the winter months the pollens in the air are at a minimal and you still find yourself sneezing endlessly. Allergens enter through the nose. Allergens include pollens, dust, dust mites, mold spores, and animal dander. These substances interact with IgE antibody on the mast cells inside the nose. This causes discharge of histamine. Histamine causes sneezing, nasal congestion, and nasal discharge. The mast cells also release other substances. These substances pull a group of cells, called eosinophils, into the nasal lining. The eosinophils travel into the lining of the nose over a 6- to 24-hour period. They then release substances that can create additional symptoms hours after the original exposure. The first reaction is called the early reaction. The symptoms occurring hours after the initial exposure make up the late-phase reaction.

Nasal Allergy Treatments
1. Keep your windows and outside doors closed as much as possible.

2. Use air-conditioning to cool your home. Avoid using window and attic fans during pollen season.

3. Keep your car windows rolled up when driving; use air-conditioning.

4. Consider vacationing to a place where pollen is low, such as the beach. Check pollen counts before planning outdoor activities. Avoid being outdoors in the early morning, when pollen is most prevalent.

5. If you have to be outdoors, wear sunglasses to minimize pollen in your eyes. Remove your clothing when you come indoors; shower and wash your hair.

6. Dry clothing and bedding in the dryer; do not hang outdoors to dry.

7. Keep pets that spend time outdoors out of your bedroom, because they can bring in pollen on their fur.

8. Don’t rake leaves during pollen season.

Posted on 26 Apr 2011

What’s the Big Deal With Anaphylactic Peanut Allergies?

Parents who do not have a child with an anaphylactic allergy often gripe and complain about how inconvenient it is to provide a nut-free environment. They ask why the whole group of children should suffer just because one child has an allergy. I would like to share what it is really like to live with a child who has a life threatening allergy, and suggest ways you can support these children.

My 7.5 year old son has an anaphylactic-shock allergic reaction to peanuts. He also has an anaphylactic-shock allergic reaction to dairy, but peanut particles are more easily air-borne, so while he may be in the same room as someone eating dairy, he cannot be in the same room with peanuts.

When my son was only a few months old he developed severe eczema on his face, hands, feet, and behind his knees. At one point it was so severe every time I would lay him down he would frantically grind his hands and feet into the carpet, sheets, or blanket until they bled, just to get a little relief from the itching. He was a real trooper and kept a sunny disposition through out, but I could tell he was in agony, especially at night when trying to fall asleep.

I took him to his pediatrician, who was also a Naturopath, and we tried natural remedies of Calendula cream first. No improvement. We tried mainstream medical remedies like steroid creams. No improvement. When he was about a year old they ran a RAST test (blood work to test for allergies) and he tested positive to wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, soy, bananas, and peanuts. We had tried introducing him to solids around 1 years old, but he was really resistant to eating solids and would gag until he threw up, so other than the occasional crackers, he was exclusively breastfed. Our ped referred us to a pediatric allergy specialist.

At our first appointment the allergy specialist laughed at the rast results and told me there was no way any child that young was allergic to that many foods. He recommended we do a skin prick test to confirm which were false positives and which were true positives. There were no false positives. He was truly reacting to all the foods that tested positive with the RAST test.

I was instructed to eliminate all the foods from my diet while I was still nursing, to not give him any of the foods he tested positive for. The doctor explained what an anaphylactic allergy was, and that the allergy testing indicated he likely had an anaphylaxis allergic to peanuts and dairy. He cautioned me that each subsequent exposure would produce increasingly severe reactions.

Around age 3 my son was accidentally exposed to peanuts for the first time. His grandpa was eating peanuts earlier in the day before meeting up with us, and didn’t wash his hands. Hours later we got a ride with him, and Grandpa helped my son out of his car seat and held his hand up the stairs. My son rubbed a hand across his lips, and his lips immediately swelled up like little golf balls. It was a dramatic visual for what would happen if he ever ingested even a particle of peanut. He was treated for his allergic reaction at the ER, and we were fortunate the peanut was not ingested. He was fortunate we knew about his allergy and were able to take the appropriate precautions.

When my son started public preschool at 30 months old they were 100% supportive in providing a nut-free environment. The parents were sent notices, and a nut-free classroom policy was strictly enforced.

When he started kindergarten at our small town public school there was no nut-free classroom policy in place to protect children with anaphylactic allergies. It was up to me to advocate for my son and ensure his classroom was safe. I worked closely with the principal and his home room teacher to educate them about his allergy. They implemented routine hand washing and made sure the children were not bringing nuts into the classroom.

The Province of British Columbia, Canada, where we live, has an Anaphylaxis Protection Order that requires every school board establish and maintain policies, procedures and staff training in order to ensure the safety of children at risk of anaphylaxis in BC schools. There is also a list of resources available for teachers and students to assist in implementing anaphylaxis safety in the school.

A couple months after my son started school I was on the playground watching my son play, and a parent I had never met was making small talk with me and said “some kid in the class has stupid nut allergies and it really irritates me that I can’t send peanut butter or granola bars in my son’s lunch anymore.” Another parent immediately spoke up to point out I was the parent of the child with the “stupid nut allergy.” I took the opportunity to educate that parent, and he had the grace to apologize, but I was really shocked that anyone would feel so negatively about being inconvenienced by something so simple that could potentially save my child’s life. We have no problem accommodating children with disabilities that are more visible, and no parent would complain about accommodating a child in a wheel chair, but not sending peanut butter in your child’s lunch is a problem. Really?! Quite frankly the inconvenience factor is a minor concern in contrast to preserving a child’s life.

Living with a child with anaphylactic allergies is no walk in the park. You think it’s hard to keep peanut butter out of your child’s lunch? Try living with it on a daily basis, and being 100% vigilant all of the time. There is no such thing as simply going to an event or a birthday party or a play date for our son.

When my child wants to socialize outside of his nut free classroom or our home, here is what is involved:

Ensure it’s a nut-free environment. Absolutely no nuts, or anything with nuts as an ingredient. This usually involves a phone call prior to the event to give the parents a heads up.
If nuts were eaten at the location, or by other people attending earlier in the day I ensure all hands are washed and surfaces where the food was eaten is cleaned.
Pack a lunch or snack so he has nut-free food to eat. If food is being prepared for our child, I have to ensure all surfaces, cutting boards, dishes, knives, utensils, and serving bowls are washed so there’s no cross contamination. Usually we opt to bring our own safe food to simplify matters.
Ensure the child has an Epi-pen on hand and make sure the adults know where it is (in his backpack) and how to administer it. There are simple step by step instructions on the side of the Epi-pen that takes literally seconds to review.
Let the adults know symptoms of anaphylaxis may include: hives or other epidermic swelling, breathing difficulty, throat tightness, choking feeling, nausea & vomiting, stomach pain & diarrhea, faintness or dizziness, low blood pressure, rapid heart beat, extreme anxiety, and cardiac arrest.
Tell adults what to do an emergency – administer Epi-pen, call 911 and tell the medics it is anaphylactic shock, and call parents – in that order.
Trust God.
I know the idea of a child’s life being at risk is terrifying for some, and mildly scary for others, but I firmly believe that my child needs to learn how to function in the real world. We do not isolate him from other children. He knows not to accept food from others, and is very good at saying a firm “no thank you, I have allergies.”

Our son knows that if we go to an event and there are nuts present, we will need to leave and although this may be disappointing, this has been such a huge part of our life for so many years he has learned to handle the disappointment very well, and my husband and I make a concerted effort to make up for it later by giving him safe treats and doing fun family activities that don’t involve allergy hyper-vigilance.

How can you best support a child with life-threatening allergies?

Treat the child normally. Do not ostracize the child or act fearful.
Take the initiative to talk to the child’s parent and learn about the child’s allergy and the appropriate action to take in an emergency. Ensure you know where the child’s Epi-pen is at all times when in a caregiver capacity.
Ensure the child has safe food available and doesn’t feel left out at meal times.
Double check that the environment is nut-free. Wipe surfaces clean, and have other children and parents wash their hands when they arrive.

Next time you hear a parent requesting a nut-free environment for their child, please remember that it’s not just an inconvenience, you could be saving a life.