Miss Priss was diagnosed with Peanut Allergy when she was just 13 month old. The Dr. in the E.R. gave us the official diagnosis, treated her, then sent us home, completely unarmed with any safety information. We were careful at first. Made sure there was an epipen in the nurse's office at school, let the teacher know of the allergy and let the family know. A few years passed and we made an unspoken decision that she had probably outgrown the allergy. I mean, the worst reaction she had was whelps, swelling, wheezing, and redness. Jeez, it wasn't like she stopped breathing. We were just careful enough, we thought. (even though we'd had several warnings such as reactions from a kiss on the cheek after her dad ate a PBJ).Until the big one: When she was 6 she was with a friend and decided to try a peanut m&m. No one but her little friend was aware of this, until her face swelled, she began vomiting, coughing, wheezing and then... stopped breathing. It was the scariest moment in her young life. We were only 2 minutes from the E.R. She was OUT when we busted through those doors. Needless to say, we now take her allergy very seriously. We realize it is up to us to be her biggest advocates. Through blood test that are now available we now know that there is no likelihood of outgrowing this allergy.
Here's the thing:
If we were that laxed about the life or death situation she was in, what must the rest of the world around her feel about food allergies? It can be very scary for her. Anxiety is huge whenever food is around. Cross contamination (ex. one spoon is used for several items, or a turkey sandwich is prepared on a surface in which a PBJ was prepared earlier) Many times servers give the infamous eye roll whenever we get to the food allergy question portion of the ordering. (On another note, we have found some establishments that are very accommodating... ReFrEsHiNg) We've found ourselves in the position of leaving places, we were even asked to leave once after the server returned from speaking with the manager of a restaurant. They felt like it could be a liability for her to eat there. Guess we should have been grateful for their honesty but poor little Miss Priss was embarrassed and disappointed.
Many of you may be in the same boat. If so, I'd love to hear from you.
The book pictured above is by Sloane Miller of
She has become one of the best advocates of food allergy folks. Her book will help in her (and others) pursuit to better understanding of this scary issue. I highly recommend this book, even if you don't know anyone yet with a severe food allergy. Chances are that in your lifetime you will know someone whose life you will need to help protect. Click on the book for ordering info.