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!

Advertisements

Permalink 8 Comments

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

Permalink 4 Comments

Awesome new Allergy cookbook

March 19, 2007 at 7:04 am (books, Contests, cooking, education, food, Products, social issues, Websites)

I won a copy of The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal, via allergymoms.com.  Since I am into eating organically as well as avoiding our food allergies, this book has great appeal to me!

Thank you, Gina and Cybele!

If you are not signed up for allergymom.com’s great email newsletter, you are missing out.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Coupon codes for allergyware.com gear

February 8, 2007 at 1:39 pm (alert, coupon, gear, kids, Photos, Products, safety, social issues, Websites)

Use these coupons for discounts on your purchases at my cafepress stores:

DES144 = $10 off a $25 purchase (expiration unknown)

CLOUDRADARS = $5 off a $20 purchase (expires 2/10/07)

My allergy alert gear stores offer $5 flat-rate shipping, so no matter how much you buy, you pay $5 for standard delivery.

Thanks so much for your business.  I’m sorry that we’re dealing with food allergies, but I’m glad that we can do it together.

Have a reaction-free week, and I will keep looking for time in the near future to record a new episode of Allergy News!

babyblueshirt.jpgbabypinkshirt.jpgcutelittlesamallergyshirt.jpg

eggallergytop.jpgPeanut Allergy Awareness (in Pink)donotfeedanimal.jpg

havefood3.jpgterrible3s.jpgiamloved.jpg

Permalink Leave a Comment

Cute source of allergy alert stuff

December 16, 2006 at 7:25 pm (Products, Websites)

Thanks to  Gina for the link!

People always ask why I post links to sites that compete with my allergyware.com store–I am not in it for the money!!!  I buy shirts from my store as well as from other places.  I like variety, I like goodwill, and I like good karma!  🙂

samback.jpg  Let’s just protect our kids, together, and worry about splitting up the $ later, what do you say?  🙂

Permalink Leave a Comment

Free holiday shipping

December 4, 2006 at 9:40 am (Products, social issues, Websites)

Don’t miss out on free holiday shipping on orders of $50 or more from my Allergy Alert Gear cafepress allergyware.com stores.

The pink and blue shirts have been quite popular lately, for toddlers and babies.

babyblueshirt.jpgbabypinkshirt.jpg

Permalink Leave a Comment

Gluten-free beer

December 1, 2006 at 5:55 pm (Allergy News!, Contributors to the Podcast, gluten-free, Products, social issues, Websites)

Courtesy of Karen Blue:

link to read all about it

allergictoeverythingyellow.jpg

wheatallergytote.jpg

I know Celiac’s disease is not the same as Wheat allergy, but it sure can make you feel like you are allergic to everything, over the long term.

Permalink 1 Comment

Canadian allergy recalls

December 1, 2006 at 5:49 pm (Allergy News!, Canada, Products, recalls)

UNDECLARED ALMOND AND PEANUT IN SCHÄR BRAND SNACK – GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE WAFERS WITH HAZELNUTS

OTTAWA, November 30, 2006-The public warning issued on November 24, 2006 has been updated to include additional allergen risk and product information. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning people with allergies to almond protein or peanut protein not to consume the Schär brand Snack – gluten free chocolate wafers with hazelnuts. The affected product may contain almond and peanut proteins which are not declared on the label.

All Best before dates and lot codes of this product described below are affected by this alert.

The Schär brand Snack – gluten free chocolate wafers with hazelnuts, a product of Italy, is sold in a 105 g package bearing UPC 8 008698 005286 on the back panel. On some packages, the UPC on the back panel may be covered up with a sticker. These packages have a white sticker on the front panel which bears a different UPC 8 00869 80528 6. Both the UPC are affected. The package contains three individually wrapped 35 g Snack bars.

This product has been distributed nationally.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to almond protein or peanut protein.
The importer is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on peanut and tree nuts (almonds), two of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/allerge.shtml.

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca.

– 30 –
Media enquiries:

Shashi Kulkarni (English)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-368-1622

Linda LeBlanc (French)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-760-4112

*******************************************
ALLERGY ALERT – UNDECLARED ALMOND IN SWISS DELICE CLASSIQUE NOISETTES BRAND FINE MILK CHOCOLATE WITH WHOLE HAZELNUTS

OTTAWA, November 29, 2006-The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Euro-Excellence Inc. are warning people with allergies to almond protein not to consume the Swiss Delice Classique Noisettes brand Fine Milk Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts described below. The affected product may contain almond protein which is not declared on the label.

The affected product, the Swiss Delice Classique Noisettes brand Fine Milk Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts, is sold in a 100 g package bearing UPC 7 616501 012478. All lot codes are affected by this alert. This product has been distributed in Ontario and Quebec.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Consumption of this product may cause a serious or life-threatening reaction in persons with allergies to almond protein.

The importer, Euro-Excellence Inc., located in Montreal, Quebec, is voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on tree nuts (almonds), one of the nine most common food allergens, visit the Food Allergens web page at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/labeti/allerg/allerge.shtml.

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca.

– 30 –
Media enquiries:

Fred Jamieson (English)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-760-4376

Marie-Andrée Lefebvre (French)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Office of Food Safety and Recall
613-760-4044
_________________________________________________

Permalink Leave a Comment

Canadian kids in need get Free Medic Alert bracelets

November 25, 2006 at 6:29 pm (Allergy News!, Contributors to the Podcast, Products, social issues, Websites)

(Thanks, Karen!)

Read more here

Permalink Leave a Comment

Girl turned away from hospital three times for being allergic to latex

November 25, 2006 at 6:28 pm (Allergy News!, medical, Products, Websites)

Allergy girl turned away for third time by hospital

Nov 24 2006

By Joshua Layton joshualayton@croydonadvertiser.co.uk

PARENTS of a girl with a rare latex allergy are considering whether to take legal action after she was again refused treatment at Mayday Hospital.

Stephen and Janet Wood’s disabled daughter Joanna, 14, has now been turned away from Mayday’s A&E department three times.

Hospital bosses claim her medical needs mean she cannot be treated on an open ward, so if a cubicle is not available the family has to make a six-mile trip to St George’s, in Tooting.

Mr Wood, 46, a Home Office worker, said: “On the past three occasions when we’ve gone to Mayday they’ve said they haven’t got a cubicle, or a nurse to go in the cubicle.

“But a latex allergy is similar to a nut allergy and is not that hard to manage.

“St George’s doesn’t have this policy and I don’t know of any other hospital that does. It’s discrimination against Jo.”

Jo developed a neurological condition called hydrocephalus as a baby and was left severely brain damaged after she suffered a seizure at the age of three.

She was diagnosed with the latex allergy, which could trigger a potentially fatal allergic reaction, when she was four.

It means Jo, who attends Rutherford School, in South Croydon, has to go to hospital for minor conditions as a precaution.

Mrs Wood, 42, a care worker, said: “We are doing our best to cope, but this is making it so much harder.

“What we want is for Mayday to change its policy, and we are considering legal action.”

The last time Jo was turned away was on November 13. She was sent to St George’s to be treated for a chest infection.

The couple,of Horton Way, Shirley, have made an official complaint to Mayday, which is investigating the matter.

A hospital spokeswoman, referring to the November 13 incident, said: “Because of Joanna’s complex medical needs, which include a latex allergy, our current guidance states she should be treated in a cubicle,but unfortunately at that time none was available on the ward.

“To ensure her safety, a decision was made to transfer her to a children’s ward at St George’s and she was taken there by an ambulance accompanied by a nurse.

“We appreciate that it is much easier for the family if Joanna can be treated locally.

“We have apologised for any dis-tress the incident caused her and her family while trying to ensure she gets the best possible care.

The spokeswoman added that, as a district general hospital, Mayday sometimes had to transfer patients to other hospitals where they could be given more specialist care.

Got Latex Allergy?

gotlatex.jpg

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »