New blog entries now being posted at the new blog site!

May 17, 2007 at 9:42 pm (alert, Allergy News!, Blog & Websites, Blogroll, Websites)

Allergyware.com has had a major makeover!

I am now posting the latest allergy headlines to hit my inbox on my new blog.

This page will remain as an archive, but please subscribe to allergyware.com!

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The migration has started

May 17, 2007 at 9:38 am (Allergy News!, Blog & Websites, Blogroll, Websites)

After a long time of putting it off, I am finally starting to move this site, as well as the allergyware.com site, to a new format.

I will keep this blog active, but I will be posting the allergy news, recalls, and links, etc. at the new allergyware.com, which will soon be this site.

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Milk allergy alert

May 16, 2007 at 4:39 pm (alert, Allergy News!, labeling, milk)

MILK ALLERGY ALERT
May 16, 2007

Adeline’s, Inc. is recalling biscuit sandwich varieties due to undeclared
milk.

The affected products are: “Adeline’s Steak and Cheese,” “Adeline’s Steak,
Egg and Cheese,” “Adeline’s Bacon,” and “Adeline’s Bacon, Egg and Cheese.”
They were distributed from lunch trucks and vending machines in Nashville,
Tennessee from May 4 through May 11, 2007.

The products are individually wrapped and packaged in clear plastic wrap
and bear the following labels: Adeline’s Steak and Cheese, approx. wt. 6-
oz., Adeline’s Steak, Egg and Cheese, approx. wt. 7-oz., Adeline’s Bacon,
approx. wt. 4-oz., and Adeline’s Bacon, Egg, and Cheese, approx. wt. 5.5-oz.

Consumers may contact the company for information and return instructions
at (615) 650-6555.

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Higher-res Epi-pen how-to trainer video

May 14, 2007 at 12:06 pm (Allergy News Podcast. Listen free., Allergy News!, education, medical, Science, video)

nutfreebanner.jpg

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How to use an epi-pen

May 10, 2007 at 11:10 am (Allergy News Podcast. Listen free., Allergy News!, video)

It looks better if you go to the youtube page and click the “small” button.

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A note from Ria Sharon of Checkmytag.com, and note from me on what it’s like to be an allergymompreneur

May 9, 2007 at 5:58 pm (Allergy News!, Blog & Websites, Blogroll, Canada, Contributors to the Podcast, education, gear, kids, labeling, newspapers, peanut, Products, social issues, USA, Websites)

Most of our friends and family are amazingly thoughtful and ask, “Is this safe?” before they give our little guy anything to eat. A few just give me the box so I can check the label. But almost all will admit their discomfort with making the call themselves, partly because they are not sure what to look for when they are reading packaged food labels.

Next week is Food Allergy Week so we are making extra efforts to promote food safety for our food-allergic friends and loved ones. The Spring issue of our bulletin, Be Aware. Be Safe. is devoted to taking the mystery out of the new labeling laws. Please help us raise awareness and understanding of food allergies, by passing this .pdf along to your friends, co-workers, educators, and childcare providers.

Also, visit our Community page, http://www.checkmytag.com/community.html beginning May 20th to read personal accounts from the blogosphere on how food allergies have changed the daily lives of a growing number of families.

Thanks for helping to keep kids safe,

Ria

Ria is a very warm and helpful individual.  Please check out her site!  It is not just about “selling shirts” for her.

Someone recently accused me of only doing this blog to direct people to my allergyware.com site.  She didn’t say it accusingly, but rather matter-of-fact.  As if.  😦  Why do I make the shirts?  Why did I do it in the first place?  Because allergies are a “growth industry?”  Because I was looking to make a quick buck?  C’mon.  My kid could DIE if he eats a peanut.  There were no shirts at all out there for sale except from England, when he tested positive for peanut.  What would YOU do?

Honestly, it is issues like the above that I am using this hiatus to think over.  I don’t want anyone to think that it is my desire or motivation to profit from my son’s life-threatening allergy.  The fact is, I’m not a millionaire who can set up a fund to research the cure.  I do not have the time to volunteer a lot and do a lot of political stuff, plus I do not have the temperament for it.

What I am is a writer with a degree in accounting.  I am a business person by training and a story-teller by birth.

I write this blog and I sell tee-shirts because I buy the tees myself.  My kid also wears shirts by other allergymompreneurs.  He took his first field trip today with his medicine in a bag from allergykids.com (thanks, Robyn).

If you are so cynical that you think for the past five years I have enjoyed some kind of status as Allergy Tee Shirt Emperor, then you are forgetting the heartbreak and daily stress and agony that go along with safe-guarding a child who is too young to speak for himself.

Pushing six years old, he is finally getting closer to being able to speak up for himself to people about his allergy.  He still can’t read, give himself his epinephrine shot, or measure out his own Benadryl.  He is dependent on any adult in his vicinity to notice if he develops hives, has trouble breathing, his eyes swell up, etc.

So I made him shirts.  When he was recently fed a nut-containing brownie at school, I sent him to school the next day in an allergy shirt, in addition to talking to his teachers about what happened.  You know what?  Call me materialistic & opportunistic and any other “istic” that you want, but I FELT BETTER knowing his shirt said this in big letters:

cutelittlesamallergyshirt.jpg

(this was him four years ago, nearly exactly!)

This is him today, in a Nut Free Zone hoodie:

sam042607.jpg

I love this child.  He is not a model, a product spokesman, a clotheshorse, or a mannequin to hang shirts on.

HE IS MY CHILD.

If you think I’m doing this blog and doing my shirts for the money, or you wonder why I don’t do more: I am doing what I can, where I can, with what I can.

I love my children, all three of them, and I am doing my best.  This blog is filled with photos, links, articles, podcasts, recalls, news, you name it.  I am doing my best.  I doubt I will ever give up the blog, but for now I am not in the frame of mind to do videos or audio podcasts.  I probably will again.  I do not feel like I am “done,” you know?  But my time is sort of maxed out right now.

Now head on over to Ria’s site, or any of the awesome Allergy Mom (and Dad) sites listed in this blogroll.

Sorry for the tangent, but I think it deserves to be said: Allergy Moms who started Allergy businesses have their hearts in the right place. They should be commended, not distrusted!

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Mayfield Ice Cream recall

May 9, 2007 at 1:37 pm (alert, Allergy News!, ice cream, labeling, nut-free, peanut, USA, Websites)

PEANUT ALLERGY ALERT
May 9, 2007

Mayfield Dairy Farms is recalling “Mayfield Turtle Tracks” ice cream due to
undeclared peanuts.

The product was distributed to retail stores in Northern Alabama,
Northwestern Georgia, Southeastern Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The product is packaged in 1.75-qt. cartons with a code date of 4/11/08 and
plant code of 47225 on the side of the lid of the carton. The UPC code is
75243-20120.

Consumers who purchased the product may return it to the place of purchase
for a full refund or exchange. Consumers with questions can contact the
company at (800) 629-3435.

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Important note from Gina at AllergyMoms.com

May 3, 2007 at 12:43 am (Allergy News!, legal, legislation, safety, USA, Websites)

Dear allergy parents and friends,

Please take moment to look at the attached zipcode list. If you live within one of these zipcodes, please read on. If you know someone who does, please take a moment to FORWARD this. It’s really important for our children.
Eleven million American families like yours are impacted by food allergies.  Emergency room visits are increasing, and the number of children with peanut allergies doubled in just five years!

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Contact Rep. John Murtha — and ask him to increase federal funding for food allergy research, so we can save children’s lives.   Let him know:

Food Allergies afflict millions of American families, and the problem is growing.

There are no medications to cure or control food allergies — but scientists believe we can find a cure in less than 10 years with proper funding.

Congress must increase federal funding for food allergy research and help save children’s lives.

E-Mail Congressman Murtha at http://www.house.gov/murtha/write.shtml … or at:

647 Main St, Suite 401
Johnstown, PA 15901
(814) 535-2642 — Phone
(814) 539-6229 — Fax

Use the attached letter, include your own experiences, or write your own letter or email.  Your voice WILL make a difference. If you won’t do it for your own child, grandchild, niece, nephew, friend, who will?

Please take the time to do it now!

Sincerely,

Gina Clowes

http://www.AllergyMoms.com

PS Remember to forward this email!   Every letter counts.

Next AllergyMoms meeting is June 8th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Panera in Cranberry Twp. Please come and share with us that you’ve done your part! :o)

(Email me if you’d like the list of zip codes and form letters sent to you.)

Gina also blogged about this issue here. 

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Playground bullying vs. teasing

April 28, 2007 at 10:51 am (Allergy News!, Blog & Websites, education, food, kids, nut-free, Products, safety, school, social issues)

There have been a lot of blog posts in the allergic community lately about kids bullying allergic classmates.

This calls to mind a post I left on a local message board over the weekend, about being teased. Here’s an excerpt:

being made fun of

 

Submitted by lmharmon on Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:09 pm

 

Take this for what it’s worth, but being made fun of can be so character-building. I’m not saying it’s something I’d seek out for my kids, but it’s not the end of the world.

I was at least a foot and a half taller than every second grader at my new school, the beginning of second grade. Add to the fact that I had (first) buckteeth and then (worse) a headgear. I was called Radar Head, and openly attacked physically by little boys on the playground that were intimidated by my size.

Amazingly, I quickly made friends and endured the teasing with no lasting damage. I only recently even remembered being called Radar Head. I do remember the teasing a neighbor boy got on the bus for taking up for me! They accused him of being my boyfriend! Rolling Eyes Embarassed Very Happy

Oh, did I mention my mother dressed me funny? Knee socks and tartan skirts and other very feminine clothing, for me, the total tomboy. It was a nightmare.

But I actually enjoyed school a lot, became one of the most popular kids in school, was a cheerleader, etc.

The whole time, I was taller than everyone, and went through not only the headgear, but a functional appliance, braces, etc.

…I think I was the living dictionary of “awkward stage” all through those precious years.

My point being, on this topic, that being teased is something that will happen to most kids (some of us more than others!), and I think we actually grow from the experience.

As the mother of a child with peanut allergy, I have been called “Peanut Lady” in a moment of insensitivity by an administrator at my son’s school. Again…an opportunity for growth on my part, and education for him. (He was immediately apologetic, but how revealing that slip was of his heart, at least at that moment.)

The reason I post this today is because I want to make something crystal clear: teasing is not the same as bullying. Bullying can employ teasing, but name-calling and rough-wrestling (which is probably outlawed now that kids aren’t typically free to skin their knees on the playground) are common parts of child development. Most kids will be on both sides of that experience at some point before they begin adolescence. They had better be!

Bullying takes teasing too far. Bullying takes the wrestling and makes it mean. It is a kid who is three times bigger, and old enough to know better, pushing another kid around. It is the little girl who knows that the special needs child in her school is mildly retarded, who still openly mocks and makes fun of the differently-abled child. Words and actions can be used mildly, or they can be abusive.

Bullying is abusive. Teasing really is not.

If my kid gets called Peanut Boy (not likely at his current school), then that’s teasing, right? But if someone holds a peanut butter and jelly sandwich over his head unawares, that’s not teasing. That’s dangerous. And then we’re getting into bullying issues.

Personally, I think life is too short for bullying amongst adults, but even that occurs. I have experienced it with food allergies, very often. People are sometimes openly resentful that we do not eat nut products (why they take this personally, I will never know), sometimes passive-aggressive about it, testing us and trying to get us to “slip” and eat something that might endanger our nursing child, or via contact, cause a reaction in Sam. Why do they do it?

I can only presume it is for the same reason the playground bully chases a classmate around with a handful of peanuts in his hand: it’s a short-term power trip without thought for the long-term ramifications on others.

sam042607.jpg

Sam models his Nut Free Zone hoodie.

iamloved.jpgcutelittlesamallergyshirt.jpg

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If your child has peanut allergy, he/she may react to SOY, as well

April 22, 2007 at 12:46 pm (Allergy News!, asthma, Blog & Websites, kids, medical, nut-free, peanut, Science, soy, tree nut, USA, Websites)

Dear AllergyKids’ Friends,

Soy Induced Anaphylaxis in Children with Asthma and Peanut Allergy
As many of you know, soy is one of the top eight allergens. What you may not know is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction after eating a food that contains soy, according to the Asthma and Allergy Resource Center.

How could soy cause an allergic reaction in my child with peanut allergy?
In scientific terms, soybean allergens are “homologous” to known peanut allergens and can be recognized by 44% of peanut-allergic patients.

What that means is that a child with a peanut allergy can have an allergic reaction and even go into anaphylaxis after eating soy. Because this cross-reactivity is rarely mentioned in the press, many parents are unaware of the potential health risks that soy may present to children with peanut allergies.

What are the Signs of a Cross-Reaction to Soy?
According to Ingrid Yman, PhD of the Swedish National Food Administration, these deaths initially appear as an asthma attack, with no or very mild symptoms for the first 30-90 minutes after the consumption of food containing soy. Then, the children suffer fatal asthma attacks.

What Can I Do to Protect My Child with Peanut Allergy?
According to Dr. Yman, PhD of the Swedish National Food Administration, “If your child is allergic to peanuts, you should consider eliminating soy as well as all peanuts from your child’s diet, even if your child has never reacted poorly to soy in the past. Some sensitive children have “hidden” soy allergies that manifest for the first time with a severe – even fatal – reaction to even the low levels of “hidden” soy commonly found in processed food products. Those at the highest risk suffer from asthma as well as peanut allergy.”

The Swedish National Food Administration study analyzed severe food allergy reactions of children that died after consuming soy. These children had known allergies to peanuts but not to soy.

What products contain soy?
Soy can be found in soy milk, tofu, soy sauce, baby formula and other soy products.

Soy is also used in many processed foods, as soy lecithin, soy lectin, soybean oil and other soy derivatives.

Soy is commonly used as animal-feed in livestock.

It is only within the last nine years that soy has become one of the top eight allergens.

Soy has recently been genetically engineered to contain new proteins and potential allergens.

Are there other facts that I may not know about soy?
According to Daniel Sheehan, PhD and director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) National Center for Toxicological Research, soy-fed babies are taking part in “a large, uncontrolled and basically unmonitored human infant experiment.”

The British Dietetic Association now warns parents to avoid soy formula given the results of a 2003 study conducted by Dr. Gideon Lack from St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College, London, UK.

The French Food Agency will soon require warning labels on all soy foods, soy formulas and soy milk so that consumers will be aware of the risks that soy poses to children under the age of three, those with hypothyroidism, and women with a family history of breast cancer.

In January 2006, the American Heart Association reversed its position on soy.

Why haven’t I heard this before?
AllergyKids is one of the first independently funded food allergy organizations in the world. We highlight all food allergy research that relates to the health and well-being of children and their families.

Being independently funded, AllergyKids is able to avoid conflicts of interest that funding ties may present – the importance of which is detailed in the work of Dr. Susan Linn of Harvard University and Marion Nestle, former editor of the Surgeon General Letter on Nutrition and Health.

What can I do to learn more?
AllergyKids would like to highlight the work of Kaayla Daniel, PhD. In her book, The Whole Soy Story, Dr. Daniel details the cross reactivity between soy and peanut, specifically addressing in detail the risks that soy poses to children with peanut allergy and asthma.

In the United States, the Weston A. Price Foundation is spearheading efforts to address children with peanut allergy who were fed soy as infants and toddlers.

What else can I do?
If you believe that the consumption of soy products or soy formula may have played a role in the development of your child’s food allergies, please contact:

Sally Fallon, President
The Weston A. Price Foundation
PMB 106-380 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20016
Phone: (202) 363-4394
info@westonaprice.org

How can I support AllergyKids’ Independent Research?
To support AllergyKids’ independent research, even if you don’t have a child with food allergies, please consider purchasing products for your child or your child’s school or preschool so that we can continue to provide families with the tools to help protect children.

We invite you to follow the lead of Linda, a nurse in upstate New York who conducted a fund raiser with her association of school nurses and purchased custom-designed AllergyKids Kits for every elementary school in the district.

Please forward this email and encourage friends to sign up for our FREE newsletters
Please consider forwarding this email to your friends and family in an effort to spread this previously unhighlighted information about the risk that soy poses to children with asthma and peanut allergy.

If you would like to include this letter on your website or in your blog, please refer to AllergyKids as the source of this information and encourage your readers to sign up for our free newsletters which will continue to provide leading research.

If we can ever answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at http://www.allergykids.com or 1.800.671.1525.

As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Some men see things the way they are, and ask ’why?’”
For our children, we see things the way they should be, and ask ’why not?’

In our quest for a cure for these children, no truth is too complex. We must simply have the courage to pursue it.

With hope for our children,
Robyn O’Brien
Founder, AllergyKids
Mother of Four
1.800.671.1525

About Robyn O’Brien: Prior to launching AllergyKids, Robyn was in the process of applying for a PhD after drafting her first book, Sugar Mamas: Nutrition’s Impact on the Health and Well-Being of Mothers and Their Children. When her fourth child was diagnosed with potentially life threatening food allergies, she curtailed her personal pursuit in an effort to create greater awareness of the millions of children with food allergies.

Prior to motherhood, Robyn worked as an analyst on one of the nation’s largest mid-cap portfolio management teams. Her team was responsible for $20 billion in assets, covering everything from Enron, to Ebay to Martha Stewart. Robyn received an MBA in finance on a full scholarship and was a Fulbright Fellow.

In her efforts to create awareness of children with food allergies, she has received encouragement from Erin Brockovich and parents around the world.

Robyn asks that you please consider forwarding this email to others who are looking to protect the health and well-being of their families.

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