17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


As an allergy-sufferer, I completely and totally understand the reasons behind a classroom being NUT-FREE.

Since I am a label reader, it is easy for me to avoid NUT-foods both for my daughter AND when I am providing the snack for her class. However, I understand that NUT-FREE (or ANYTHING-FREE) is a lifestyle that might take some getting used to.

A teacher I know complained quite a bit at what a PAIN it was to have NUT FREE in the school. A friend of mine also expressed that it was UNFAIR to the rest of the class to be restricted from NUTS when only one child suffered from the allergy.

I guess they have never had a severe enough allergy to understand. I am allergic to nuts, but my SEVERE allergy is to shellfish. Once I was at a party, and unbeknownst to me, put my hands down somewhere where there had been Shrimp, later when I itched my eye it swelled up on the spot. I was a child then, so I probably wouldn't be poking my fingers in my eyes as much now, but that is precisely the point isn't it? A 5-year-old, no matter how responsible they might be is not going to be on the lookout for peanuts EVERY second of his/her day.

I watched the faces of the parents yesterday when the NUT-FREE anouncement was made: no nuts for lunches, no nuts for snack (which also includes products manufactured with peanuts), and there were some eyes popping out of the sockets. It will be inconvenient because my daughter happens to enjoy a peanut butter sandwich, but I am ok with it.

On the other hand, if my daughter had a peanut-allergy I certainly wouldn't expect the whole class to go nut-free, I would just try to educate her the best I could, show the teacher how to adminster an epipen, and call it a day.

Thoughts? Chloe?


  • A school near us banned peanut butter from the entire school, it looks like this could become a common thing to do? I guess people are going to have to get more creative ideas for school lunches.
    posted by Anonymous js at 9/05/2007 10:25:00 AM  

  • Jeff's kindergarten class was a NUT FREE ZONE last year. It was a drag, but I didn't want a kid to drop into an anaphalactic coma or anything.

    The sucky part was the expense. All snacks had to be indidvidually wrapped in the manufacturer's packaging with the label on. This meant I couldn't buy the Costco size Goldfish and ziplock baggie them myself- I had to buy the individual servings snack packs. I HATE that- so much waste, and so much more money.

    I don't have a solution, kid needs to breathe, but I don't want to have to shell out the extra $$ and waster on packaged snacks again this year. That, and my kids live on Peanut Butter.

    What's a mom to do?
    posted by Blogger tracy m at 9/05/2007 11:43:00 AM  

  • tracy m, surely your school could come up with a list of preapproved snacks that everyone could eat without the packaging? You ought to start some sort of GREEN petition for that...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/05/2007 12:08:00 PM  

  • Who says you never get to use your master’s thesis. Of the big eight food allergens (the 8 most common food allergies in the US) 5 are generally associated with children. Of those 5 one of them tends to stick around for life (i.e. the kid never outgrows them); that is peanuts. Unfortunately peanuts also tend to cause the most severe if not deadly reactions (anaphylactic shock). Of the approximately 1000 food related anaphylactic reactions treated at emergency rooms per year, 90% of the fatal reactions are caused by nuts. Another problem with peanuts is the tolerance level is extremely low, meaning it does not take more than few protein molecules to set off a reaction. Unfortunately, the only generally accepted treatment by the medical, scientific, and advocacy groups for food allergies is avoidance.

    So what does this mean? To me as a parent, I cannot justify giving my kids what they want at the cost of possibly killing one of their classmates. And with a peanut allergy, that is a very real possibility. That said, anything that contains a protein can be potentially allergenic (well over 600 food items documented so far), and any given individual’s reaction to said allergenic substance can vary from the innocuous (slight rash, itchy mouth, etc.) to the severe (anaphylactic shock) with no consistency between reactions. If my child had food allergies, especially those that tend to be severe I would train them and any adult who might care for them (relatives, teachers, church leaders) how to use an epi-pen, and make sure that anywhere my child might be on a regular basis (their classroom, the church, grandma’s house) have their own epi-pen on hand.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/05/2007 12:43:00 PM  

  • Just one case study to illustrate how little peanut protein it can take. A peanut allergic woman was dining in a Chinese restaurant when the waiter carried a peanut dish by her table en route to another patron. The steam coming off the plate contained enough protein that it proved to be fatal.

    In adults the severest reactions tend to be tree nuts and crustacean & shell fish.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/05/2007 12:57:00 PM  

  • I know several people who have chosen to homeschool for fear that some parent or substitute would accidentally kill their child. Drastic, but they usually had experiences in preschool along the lines of, "Well, I know we have a no-egg policy, but I figured one egg spread over 28 cupcakes wouldn't be a problem, you know?"
    posted by Blogger Julie M. Smith at 9/05/2007 01:10:00 PM  

  • I would just ignore all those people who complain and think it is such a "pain". I don't suffer from allergies and as far as I know my child doesn't. But I know kids who do suffer (and as already stated the peanut allergy can but SUPER serious). I would have no problem dealing with the "inconveniences" of sending my child to a nut-free school.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 9/05/2007 01:15:00 PM  

  • My 6-year old daughter is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Her allergy is very mild and we have not felt it necessary to petition the school for a nut-free policy, however we are glad that they have a standing "no snacks without ingredient labels or prior approval from the parents" policy (also, no responsibility for parents to provide snacks).

    The thing about it is that even though her allergy is now mild, doctors say that every exposure to the allergens increases her response. They say that it is potentially something she could grow out of if we keep her isolated from peanuts and tree nuts (they show up in the darnedest places) or something that could develop into a full-blown case where the slightest contact causes death. So, though I'm sorry for all the other kids/parents who have to deal with the inconvenience (and sorry for myself that I can't do PBJ or nutella for myself or my other allergy-free kids), I would prefer that my daughter's allergy remain mild and non-life threatening
    posted by Blogger Liesl at 9/05/2007 01:34:00 PM  

  • The stressful thing about food allergy reactions is they have no rhyme nor reason to their consistency. The first ten times the reaction could be innocuous, and then out of nowhere it could be devastating. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Typically most reactions to food are not so bad, but peanuts and tree nuts are the exceptions. Something like eggs (another of the big eight – milk, wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, crustacean/shell fish, and fin fish) will not be as a severe reaction usually, but allergenic individuals and just that; individuals. Everyone will have their own tolerance and reaction levels, and given the possible outcomes I would recommend always following allergy requests.

    As for hidden sources, restaurants use peanut butter a lot as a thickener.

    For more user friendly allergy information and recipes following allergy guidelines please see: http://www.foodallergy.org/

    Sorry for the long and depressing posts, but I rarely get to use this information outside of work.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/05/2007 02:02:00 PM  

  • Sorry that I'm a little late to this post. Kage knows well how close this is to my heart. My 4 1/2 year old has a severe peanut allergy. We discovered it when he was 11 months old - a kiss from dad who had just eaten a PBJ was enough to cause hives and welts all over his body, not just his cheek that was kissed. His is one step below airborn severeity - just touching peanuts/peanut oil/peanut butter causes his skin to burn and and welt up.

    It's serious folks.

    My child will certainly go into shock and stop breathing if he eats peanuts. He may even die. That's his reality; that's our reality as a family.

    I have had to learn to be a bit of a bully with preschool teachers, nursery leaders, babysitters, even my own extended family. This is not a joke, a drill - he'll die. The preschool he attends (private) has been 100% supportive, even covering bases I had overlooked - there is NO WAY this kid is going to encounter a peanut while he is there. But next year I have to release him into the wilds of public school and pray that he is aware enough of his allergy to stick up for himself. We've taught him well (honestly, he's completely paranoid about all nuts; so is his sister who has no allergy), he carries his own Epi Pen, wears a medical alert bracelet (as many of the Tales girls have seen - toddler bling, one of them called it).

    Obviously I support a total ban. And for the moms/parents out there who don't...well, you don't know what it's like to have a child with a deadly allergy.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 9/05/2007 02:20:00 PM  

  • So Chloe, I guess that time I gave him a bite of my Kingcone and then immediately had my heart drop into my bowls, was a good reaction to have? THankfully he just had the ice cream part, no peanut. Whoosh...I was almost the world's worst friend that night. And of ALL your friends, I should have known....I am the fatal shellfish girl...but severe on a bunch more....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/05/2007 03:21:00 PM  

  • Kage, I totally remember that - too funny.

    I REALLY appreciate the time and trouble my friends make to make sure he stays safe. I also appreciate the efforts his school and Primary make - it's not second nature to them to remember his allergy, but they take it seriously and understand the consequence: death and a mad mommy :)
    posted by Blogger chloe at 9/05/2007 04:31:00 PM  

  • I would love a NUT-FREE school. Two of my five children have SEVERE allergies to peanuts. If they were to ingest even an 1/8th of one peaunt, they would go into anaphylactic shock and could die within minutes.

    It's hard to trust people with your children, especially when they don't take it seriously. I had a Primary President argue with me when I explained that they shouldn't have snacks in class (it's in the handbook). They had passed out peanut butter cookies in sharing time and they wouldn't let my daughter leave. She refused the cookie but had an anxiety attack. We also had people bring turkeys cooked in peanut oil to a ward party. You just never know!

    If you think about it, any kind of peanut product in the school is as lethal to my child as a gun is to all the other children. How do you keep children from eating pb&j and then not touch my child or anything in the classroom that my child could touch? It's impossible!

    I wouldn't know how to react if there were actually parents out there that cared more about my childs life than their child having to go without peanut butter.

    As it is, my daughter carries an epipen with her and I have trained her friends on how to use it. The friends seem to take it a little more serious than most of the adults.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/05/2007 05:01:00 PM  

  • Hey anonymous and Chloe--

    I work in one of those public elementary schools you seem to write off as uncaring. We had a staff meeting yesterday about our no nuts kids (there are 19 in the building) and although we are not a no nut school, we have a no nut table in the cafeteria and signs outside every door about allergies in the room. We also have very strict policies about food in the classroom including no food rewards (a staple of elementary teachers, unfortunatly), a single birthday party per month for which parents are asked to bring specific safe items, and a request (not yet a demand) that no allergy kids not bring nutty things for lunch or snack. The nurse gave us all training and (today was the first day) I heard her and a first grade teacher working to avert a "crisis" that the teacher felt she had--that her students sitting at the no nut table would feel bad. I have to say, I think we are working pretty hard to keep your kids safe and happy.

    Oh yeah, and of course plan and execute at least 7 hours of meaningful and inspiring instruction a day.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 9/05/2007 06:45:00 PM  

  • a spectator, this post was meant to be more about how the parents of non nut kids react to the nut kid restrictions that the very caring school put on us.

    I reread Chloe and Anon's post and don't see the word uncaring anywhere, and I don't think that was what they meant.

    We as parents are often egocentric about the very specific needs of our very specific child, and it can be challenging to change our parenting styles/choices based on another childs needs...so that's what this discussion is about...not picking on schools at all.

    am I right?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/05/2007 07:00:00 PM  

  • Anon, I'm not sure what post you were reading, but I never insinuated that the public schools are uncaring; neither did Kage. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 9/05/2007 08:54:00 PM  

  • Before Kage and Chloe's son, I have never known anyone with severe allergies. And I don't think I really "got it" until I saw the terrible red rash on Chloe's son's neck when peanut butter just touched him.
    (Sorry for ordering Coconut shrimp at Outback when we went out with you that one time Kage--at least I remembered not to kiss you goodnight:))

    Anyway, I have no problem with a nut free zone at school - my kids don't even like peanut butter, but the problem is trying to decide where the line is in being "nut-free" or an "allergy sensitive school"--it's obvious that some schools are "more sensitive" than other based on how strict the rules are. Is there a point where it is too strict? When it comes to a child's life, maybe not.

    But, I know I would have a problem with having to buy so much prepackaged food for my child's lunch like in Tracy M's case. Maybe I shouldn't but it just doesn't seem like a good long term solution.

    I also think it is more important for day cares and preschools to monitor the food (as opposed to grade schools) because the children are not quite old enough to make sure they stay away from what they need to stay away from.

    Children with allergies have to live in the world and need to be taught (and I think Chloe has done an excellent job with this) to always be cautious. But I do think that the world needs to learn to be more sensitive to and informed about severe allergies (for instance, every restaurant server should be aware of possible allergy problems on their memu).

    And to a spectator - I truly believe that public school teachers are the unsung heroes of America. I appreciate every single one of you who chooses to teach where you do. You fight an uphill battle everyday. Thank you.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 9/05/2007 10:18:00 PM  

  • My nephew has a severe peanut allergy (including a near-death experience in pre-school) and his elementary school has been very supportive in providing a nut-free lunch table and in training his teachers and classmates about just how serious his allergy is.

    Despite all of the assistance and support, however, he needed to be pulled out of school because just being on the playground and in the classroom with kids who'd had PB&J sandwiches - away from the nut-free table - started inducing mild, yet daily, allergic reactions.

    I'd hate for his very young classmates to see how traumatic a full-blown allergy attack can be, should he actually end up with peanut oil on his skin.

    Nut-free living can be difficult; you have to read labels every time you buy a food, because companies change equipment and recipes regularly, and you can't really enjoy convenience foods or even eating out without much pre-planning; and don't even think about flying on a plane without making arrangements ahead of time.

    But compared to dying, or watching someone else's child swell up, turn red and stop breathing, well, I'll take the inconvenience of living without the nuts and being a bit creative with snacks.

    A peanut butter sandwich will never be worth more than a child's life.
    posted by Anonymous LRC at 9/05/2007 10:35:00 PM  

  • Yeah, eating out....oh how I dislike it sometimes...I was at a restaurant recently and they had a little sign with a peanut on it at every table that told the customer they make the fries in peanut oil. I wouldn't have even thought of that (I am new to the peanut allergy), so I was grateful for the sign. This is why the epipen is so important.

    My fatal allergies were diagnosed at around 13...a very good age to handle the new lifestyle, but even I made mistakes and at 14 had to leave a restaurant and go straight to the ER b/c my food was cooked on the same grill as shrimp...no the heat does not cancel out the shrimp juice. Crazy.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/06/2007 05:25:00 AM  

  • Most proteins are heat tolerant thus cooking does not break them down. The rare exceptions are fruit. For example an apple allergic person can tolerate applesauce. Fruit proteins are very weak thus it doesn't take much to nullify them, that is why most reactions are limited to an itchy mouth or mild sores. Stomach acid will break them down thus ending the reaction. Of course, your individual results may vary.

    Another hidden source that slips by, dairy free is not the same as milk free. It is a loophole in labeling so be extra careful when reading your labels.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/06/2007 05:50:00 AM  

  • I felt that this:

    "The preschool he attends (private) has been 100% supportive, even covering bases I had overlooked - there is NO WAY this kid is going to encounter a peanut while he is there. But next year I have to release him into the wilds of public school and pray that he is aware enough of his allergy to stick up for himself."

    indicated the parent felt that the child would be on his own in public schools--that no one would care. Sure, the private school does, but not the public.

    Sorry if you thought I was off-track Kage. I thought the conversation might benefit from the school's point of view. I am sure we all know a few kids who are "picky eaters" and would have a very very hard time finding something for lunch and snack 5 days a week that does not include their staple: peanut butter.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 9/06/2007 06:12:00 AM  

  • Is there any way to ensure our children won't get these allergies? For example, (we stayed one summer in Uganda), Ugandans eat G-Nuts, (ground nuts), on a daily basis and no on there had ever heard of nut allergies. Are ground nuts different than tree nuts? I always hear that the later I introduce my child to certain foods, the better. Is this really the case? Can I really help her avoid getting these potentially deadly allergies?

    Since I am only allergic to bees I really have no clue.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/06/2007 06:41:00 AM  

  • Allergies tend to be genetic. If one person has an allergy the children have a 50% chance of developing one. If both do, then the chances go up to 67-100%. Please note this is for all allergies, food or otherwise. So you could have a bee allergy and your child could get hayfever, or strawberrys, etc. The genetic trait being passed on is the production of IgE antibodies (the increased ability to be allergic), not a specific allergy.

    Generally speaking, you wait until your child is a little older before introducing high potential allergenic foods because if it is going to cause a reaction you hope that the older they are the better they will weather it. Also, as the child ages the stomach lining becomes less permeable so some potentially allergenic proteins cannot pass through anymore. That is why you will see kids outgrow problems with milk or soybeans sometimes.
    Three things:
    1. No one is allergenic to anything the first time they are exposed to it. A reaction will not occur until at least the second time. Sensitization cannot take place in the womb, but can happen while nursing (mother eats peanut butter sanwich and passes the proteins on through the breast milk).
    2. The is no proven and/or global system to prevent or cure food allergies.
    3. Anything with a protein can and is allergenic to someone, somewhere. Just about ANY food product or ingredient falls under this umbrella.

    As always, you individual circumstance may vary.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/06/2007 07:08:00 AM  

  • groundnuts=peanuts
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 9/06/2007 07:32:00 AM  

  • I worked at a school that was well-known for their treatment of allergies, but at this school kids really didn't bring any of their own food. A snack was provided as well as lunch. Students could make a special request for a PB and J sandwich in the lunch line but only if they were sitting at a table that didn't have a "No Peanut Zone" sign on it.

    For birthdays, parents could only bring in fresh fruit. I never heard any complaints, but then again, who could really complain when all of their food is provided for them. We were all trained with EpiPens and so forth.
    posted by Blogger Linz at 9/06/2007 08:12:00 AM  

  • I am a reader of this blog..but dont really post. However, I wanted to add my experience as a life-long sufferer of nut-allergy.

    When I was in school, there was no such thing as a NUT FREE school. We sufferers had to fend for ourselves and our parents had to hope that we knew enough as children to be careful what we ate and came into contact with.

    I remember distinctly being in pre-K and the teacher was passing out snacktime cookies (this was back in the day when the school provided the snacks). I started crying because I knew there were nuts in the cookies and didnt think the teacher remembered that my mom had given the teachers some alternative snacks for me to eat.

    So, just know that even at pre-school age, most kids are aware of such things. Make sure to give your kid the benefit of the doubt that he or she knows their limitations on snacks. This of course does not take into consideration the kids who react with just exposure to nuts in the same room...but rather those who must actually eat them or touch them.

    I do feel for the parents who have to go the extra mile and perhaps pay a bit more for nut free snacks. But wouldnt you rather be safe than sorry? I would not want to be responsible for the death of a child just because I chose to sneak a pb&J into my kids lunchbox.
    posted by Anonymous Tales Guest at 9/06/2007 08:36:00 AM  

  • What happened between the time I was in school (not THAT long ago) and now to cause all these allergies? There were no kids carrying around epipens and nut-free tables back then, or was I just blissfully unaware? There was all sorts if lunch swapping and treat giving back then and no one died or had any sort of reaction and I don't recall anyone declining the peanut butter cookies I brought either. So what happened? When did this become such a problem? Is it something we're doing now that we were not doing then? Because 19 kids at ine school seems awfully close to an epidemic.
    posted by Anonymous mimi at 9/06/2007 09:26:00 AM  

  • On the rise:
    1. The more a population is exposed to an allergen the more it will be prevalent. For example, kiwi allergy in the US was almost unheard of 25 years ago because we just didn't get them here. With todays global marketplace it has seen a dramatic increase here. Basically there were a lot of allergies back then, it is just the person never had the opportunity to be exposed. Also, major allergens vary dependent to where you live. Rice is mostly innocuous here in the states while in Asia it is a major allergen.
    2. Treatment for reactions has dramatically improved with epipens, and just general medical skill. Unfortunately 30 or more years ago a lot of kids just died.
    3. IN no way am I speaking to anyone in particular here, but the general population drastically overestimates the amount of food allergies within their families. That means a lot of people think that they or their child has one when indeed they do not. The worst offenders at this are moderately educated mothers (some college). They know enough to be aware of food allergies, but not enough to realize what they are dealing with isn't one.

    Have I struck oil yet, because I sure am boring.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/06/2007 10:16:00 AM  

  • TStevens, I don't find you boring at all - it's excellent to have an expert on the subject be part of the discussion, adds an important dimension.
    posted by Blogger marian at 9/06/2007 10:36:00 AM  

  • Far from an expert, I just happened to write my riveting thesis, Allergen Management and Control in Industrial Food Production Using HACCP Principles, when I became a MOM.

    Thats right, I have a masters of organizational management. So as I tell my wife, I have the Mom degree.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/06/2007 10:57:00 AM  

  • mimi--of those 19 in our school, 16 are in first grade! Amazing, isn't it?
    posted by Anonymous emily at 9/06/2007 11:43:00 AM  

  • My question is, is it allowable to just say, "nut free"? You know, without the CAPS thing?

    Or do I really have to say it, NUT FREE?

    Hmm, how about NuT fReE?
    posted by Blogger Kaimipono at 9/06/2007 01:25:00 PM  

  • I guess I'm a little outside of the norm here, but I wouldn't support a nut-free school. I do support nut-free classrooms, and nut-free tables. I also support classrooms that are egg-free, chicken-free, or whatever severe allergen free. I'm involved in an online group of moms with food allergy kids (http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/TerrificKidsWFA/), and there are kids with airborne allergies to just about every food. If you single out just one, where does that leave all the others? I think allergen-free areas should be determined by having children with those specific allergies in the situation.

    My son is allergic to soy, so I am aware of all the problems with snacks and foods at schools, church, etc. Our family's whole diet has changed in the last 6 months. Since my older son is a picky eater, there are very few things the older one will eat that the younger one can eat. We have (certain kinds of) cereal for breakfast every day and pb&j for lunch every day (with specific soy-free bread and specific soy-free peanut butter). We also have spaghetti for dinner about half the time (with Prego spaghetti sauce, because they use corn oil, rather than soybean oil). This works for us, but I don't expect everyone to follow this diet. I do expect consideration from those around us, and certainly will have a 504 plan when he is in school to make it safe for him (because food allergies are considered a disability).
    posted by Anonymous Vada at 9/06/2007 02:25:00 PM  

  • Vada, what is a 504 plan?
    posted by Blogger chloe at 9/06/2007 02:48:00 PM  

  • idutfVada,

    Just as a note, the process to produce soybean oil leaves it protein free and not allergenic to those with soy allergens. That said, it is your child and wouldn't argue with you on what risks are acceptable to you or not. Please note that soybean oil is unique in this as opposed to other oils like Peanut for example.

    The peanut allergy stands out due to its very low tolerance level (to cause a reaction) and the severity of said reaction (fatal). That is just averages though and every individual may react to their own allergen in a variety of ways. So it is really hard if not impossible to completely protect everyone all the time. Like I said earlier, I would spend the time educating and training everyone involved with my child. Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/06/2007 02:56:00 PM  

  • TStevens,
    While many who are allergic to soy are not allergic to soybean oil, that is not true for everyone. He does not have an IgE allergy, but a delayed reaction allergy (we haven't done the contact tests to find out what type of allergy it is). And he is most definitely allergic to soybean oil. If you saw the more than 50 blisters covering his legs and bottom because I tried to give him infant formula or Gerber rice cereal, you'd believe.

    A 504 plan is what is used in schools to set up a plan for a student with disabilities. Since food allergies are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, this includes them. Only public schools are required to provide them, though. If you want more information, you should definitely join the yahoo group I mentioned. The moms there are amazing, and have experience dealing with all types of allergies, school plans, etc. I'm still pretty new to all of it.
    posted by Anonymous Vada at 9/06/2007 08:00:00 PM  

  • kaimi, I don't make fun of you on your blogs....maybe we should make tales KAIMI FREE.... : )
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/07/2007 04:33:00 AM  

  • Vada,

    I apologize, like I said, I would not argue the risk you are willing to take. The difference we are having here involves semantics in that the technical definition of a food allergy is that it be IgE mediated. Obviously your child is allergic to soybeans and should avoid them, it just doesn't fit the very narrow definition of a food allergy even though he is allergic to a food.
    Once again I am sorry for not being clear and for being narrow-minded on the definition without knowing the facts of your particular situation.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/07/2007 05:34:00 AM  

  • Kage,

    Well, I would hope that I don't cause anyone here to break out into hives.

    Err, make that, HIVES. :)
    posted by Blogger Kaimipono at 9/07/2007 10:18:00 AM  

  • TStevens,
    That's fine. I understand that food allergies are still being figured out by all involved, and different people have different definitions. If you like, you can call it a food sensitivity, but I call it an allergy because that explains it a lot better to those who are not as familiar with the terminology.
    posted by Anonymous Vada at 9/07/2007 01:42:00 PM  

  • Times and Seasons has another, more philosophical post going on about schools being "NUT FREE". Click here to read more food for thought (nut-free of course).
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 9/08/2007 09:37:00 AM  

  • TStevens, are you still even reading this post?

    What you were saying about protein and oils...is this why I can wear face products with Almond Oil and Avacado Oil, with no reaction, but I can't ingest them in their raw form?

    Carrie-Thanks for the link...going over now.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/09/2007 04:56:00 AM  

  • Remember, my limited experience is just with food allergies because it applies to my job tangently. The reference that I have is from a paper by the late Sue Hefle and Steve Taylor. Allergenicity of Edible Oils (Food Technology, Vol. 53, No. 2, 62-71). Food Technology is an industry magazine and should be attainable through any large college library. It might even be on-line.

    Here is a summation (that only applies to my little area since I deal with Soy Oil for the most part - the article may get into your question more).

    It should be noted that edible oils that are produced from these 8 groups (the big eight) are not necessarily allergenic. Of the eight, tree nuts, peanuts, and soybeans are used commonly for food processing oils. Most oils used are extracted using solvents. From there they are refined by a series of rigorous processes including deguming, bleaching, and deodorizing. These oils are virtually devoid of proteins and should not be allergenic.

    Oils that are cold-pressed or are left unrefined may still contain allergenic proteins. Most oils consumed in the United States made from allergenic sources are solvent-extracted. To be at risk, the consumer literally has to seek out the gourmet (cold-pressed) oils and pay a premium price.

    Now I have just exponentially increased the number of people who have read at least part of my thesis. Basically any mass produced and rather cheap (in comparison) product will generally be using solvent-extracted oil and not be allergenic. The 10 dollar 6 ounce bottle of sesame seed oil is probably cold-pressed and full of protein (sesame seeds are number 9 on the big eight). So that is probably why (and I am guessing) your make-up does not cause a reaction.

    But as always, all allergies are individual and you must only take the risks you are comfortable with. I can afford to be cavilier as I do not have a food allergy.

    If I get a chance today I will make a final post explaining the 5 generally accepted negative reactions to food, with allergies being one of them. It might explain the semantics I was discussing with Vada earlier.
    posted by Blogger TStevens at 9/10/2007 06:24:00 AM  

  • I have come into this way late and TStevens I hope you are still reading. What about excema, isn't that usually an allergic reaction too? As long as I keep my daughter away from dairy, eggs, and nuts she doesn't break out.
    posted by Anonymous idaho at 9/10/2007 12:46:00 PM  

  • funny how these posts all pop up at the beginning of the school year ;)
    I obviously won't send my kid to school with a PBJ with a highly allergic little girl in his class, but it can be a big challenge for some families not to. What's a few extra dollars? For some families, it's a lot. Buying lunchmeat is far more expensive than buying peanut butter. Thankfully our son just got verified for school sponsored lunches or it could've gotten really hard for us. Throw in the fact that we can't send any snacks that are unpackaged(including fresh fruit) and we have two boxes of snack crackers on our school supply list and the cost grows. Your kids' life is more important than our bank account, but it can still be a hardship.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9/11/2007 10:10:00 AM  

  • Although this thread may already be dead, I'm including a link to an article this week on another blog called "Don't Kill the Allergy Mom" - very appropriate to the discussion we have going on here...

    posted by Blogger Chloe at 9/15/2007 12:41:00 AM  

  • I just recently found this blog and have been reading some older entries. Don't know if anyone will see this, but my son suffers from a deadly peanut allergy and we have found a solution to the no peanut butter problem for kids who love it: Soy nut butter. Several flavors and made in a nut free facility. His friends love it and we've made "peanut butter" cookies out of it before.

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/22/2008 01:13:00 PM  

  • I know that no one will probably read this but maybe someone might. I've seen all the posts on this sight and appreciate those who support those with allergies. I'm 21 and i myself have been allergic to many things my whole life. Like many I suffer from dust,hay,mold, and pet dander, but I also have eczema, and an allergy to shellfish, all nuts including (peanuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts and many more) I feel lucky to have had as little reactions as I have had, but not because my allergies are not serious (just the meer contact with some of these could kill me), but because you learn to be careful by not eating at parties. washing your hands, having your friends wash their hands even though they think you are crazy

    To make a long story short to those who think it just requires avoidance because their case might be as mild eczema, you might be right, but there is a chance that the reason that they feel the need to make a school a nut free zone is because not only is the food deadly to some but children are not educated well enough to know how to handle a child with food allergies.

    Sure you could teach the child with the allergy all you want about how to stay away. And lots of times if it's serious they will. I didnt eat when I was little without my parents approval which meant I went hungry at school because I was afraid of food. But that didnt stop the children who did eat it to joke with me and one day grab my face after touching this food and sending me to the hospital. Of course it's not the other childs fault that I spent lunch hour secluded in my own room to keep it from happening again. I guess what i'm saying is I just wish my school would have gone nut-free.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 5/14/2008 10:17:00 PM  

  • I get that people would like to have nuts in the school instead of going NUT FREE.. But what do you suggest that I do? I have a son that will just be starting school and we have been told that the school needs to be completely NUT FREE. His allergy is so bad that it is AIR BORNE... I have been told that there are only 4% of americans that have an air borne allergy to nuts...

    So in my case, I have educated my son not to eat anything with milk, eggs, wheat, or nuts. But if someone else eats the nuts, do they have the right to give my son a death sentance?
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/25/2008 01:38:00 PM  

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  • 1.) Anaphylactic shock can lead to death in a matter of minutes.

    2.) An epipen buys you 15-20 minutes of time during a reaction. An Emergency Room visit must be followed up immediately or death may occur even after the application of an epipen.

    3.) Allergic reactions can vary on each exposure, i.e. a "mild" allergy can one day turn to a fatal reaction, especially with nuts.

    4.) As adults, as parents, it is all of our responsibility to ensure that every child in a class is safe from potentially deadly threats. Please remember that you are the adult, and children do not have the authority or sophistication to "fend for themselves."
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