Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Think Peanut Allergies are a Myth? Think Again.

I am very, very lucky to have two children who (so far, anyway) have no serious allergies to any types of foods. I really don't know how I would deal with it. I feel like my patience is worn thin enough just dealing with the every day challenges of raising two young daughters, and adding the stress of worrying about what one or both of them is eating at any given moment would more than likely send me over the edge. If I was faced with it, I know I would do what needed to be done, but the thought of dealing with all of the labels, the restrictions, the lists, the "re-learning" how to cook everyday foods......it's such a huge undertaking and I have such an enormous amount of respect for those who must do it.

I have a friend who has a son the same age as my youngest. When she discovered he had allergies, she immediately started researching, shopping, scouring the internet for recipes, trying out new foods, etc. She used Facebook as a tool and started asking friends for help with recipes and ideas, and it was amazing how many people had some of the same issues with their own children. It was also amazing to see how much support and help she received (and is still receiving) from friends, friends of friends, and from people she had never even met.

I have another friend whose son is deathly allergic to peanuts. It is incomprehensible to me how many people think this is a made up ailment. When they would travel, she would ask the gate attendants at airports if they could please keep all peanuts and peanut butter items off of the plane, because even the smell could put him into an allergic reaction. She would often be ridiculed and dismissed. She would be told that there was nothing they could do, that other people should have the right to eat what they want, and she was even told at one airport that the plane coming in had served peanuts, and what were they expected to do? She finally convinced them to let her on the plane before anyone else boarded, and she literally wiped down each and every seat with baby wipes. By herself.

Yet another friend says that her in-laws are so dismissive of her child's peanut allergy that they literally TRY to offer their grandson foods with peanuts and peanut butter. Thankfully, the child is old enough to know better, and graciously declines. My friend has told these people that they are literally trying to KILL their grandson, and they tell her she is being ridiculous. Their attitude is that all of this hype about allergies and all of that is just overblown, and after all, they grew up on peanut butter.

Where does this "I don't care what the doctor's say, I know better" attitude come from?

As a former teacher, we had strict rules in our school about peanuts and peanut butter being brought into the classrooms. Children who brought peanut butter sandwiches for lunches either sat at a separate table, or children with allergies sat at separate tables. You would not believe (or maybe you would) the number of parents who would scoff at the whole idea, complain about how THEY were being inconvenienced, how their kids were being treated unfairly, the whole thing was ridiculous, etc. Riiiiggghhhhttt. Because having a child with a life-threatening allergy that you have to worry about 24/7 is not an inconvenience at ALL. Morons.

You're probably wondering why I chose to write this blog. It is a departure from my usual topics, but I read this article and it just broke my heart.

Years of Caution About Peanut Allergy Fails to Save Teen

Why were there even any foods available, snacks or otherwise, with peanuts or peanut butter if there was even one child there with such a severe allergy? It was a summer camp, I am fairly certain health forms were filled out, and the camp was aware of her ailment. It should never have happened. I love peanut butter as much as the next person, but there are plenty of options for meals and snacks that do not involve tree nuts of any kind. It's just not worth it.

I just don't understand people who roll their eyes and shake their heads when confronted with something they may not understand or necessarily agree with. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's not real. And even if you don't agree with it, which pretty much makes you an idiot, you don't get to put someone else's child in serious danger because you think it's funny.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share this blog, or at least share the article and let people know that this is indeed a serious health issue, and one with extremely serious consequences. And while you're at it, stop and take a moment to be thankful for your health and the health of your loved ones.

Good night all. I'm gonna go kiss my sleeping babies.

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