Posts Tagged ‘FAAN’

Halloween Tips and Tricks

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Next week is Halloween.  Unfortunately it’s on a Wednesday when the kids are already crazed with homework and another busy week of activities, so this year will be challenging.    In some parts of the country it will already be getting cold so we have given that fact some consideration as well.

As a food allergy dad, I can say honestly that this day is both exciting and fun but also conjures up some self-pity around my children having food allergies and living without.    The tips below are designed so that everyone can enjoy this day both at school and when the candy-grab begins…

  1. Starting this weekend, talk to the kids about Halloween’s schedule…we come home, do homework have dinner and then set a time limit for trick or treating.  Set the expectation so they can process that they are coming in to bed, before other kids.
  2. Buy candies to hand out that are sealed and labeled properly.  You may also want to buy candies that are allergy friendly.  If your kids have an allergic friend, you may want to consult their mom to find out what they typically buy (each retailer and region has different products so it’s best to ask a friend as they will know your area and what is available).
  3. We take the candy our children collect and trade it for a toy or game and give them our own stash of candy to supplement.  Even for non-allergic families, this is a great way to trade out those calories and sugar for something that lasts longer.
  4. If you have children that scare easily, you may want to avoid those really scary houses.  Our children have enough anxiety, no sense in having them up at night with nightmares.
  5. Give your children some time to hand out candy at home too.  It’s great to always get candy, but giving is an important lesson.
  6. When preparing your house for Halloween, you can really blow the bank on zombies, lights and bones.  Set a budget and stay within.  Each year, you can build on your display, but don’t get caught up in the hype.  It’s been a very tough 5 years…let’s be fiscally responsible and try to be creative with what you have.
  7. Get the kids home, turn off the lights and get back to routine…the next day is a school day.
  8. For allergy folks and non-allergy parents, the candy you give your children to take to school as a treat should still follow any allergy protocols set up by the school.  Allergy moms and dads – you might want to reach out to your child’s teacher to find out how the class is celebrating to ensure your child is not left out.

Have fun, be safe, wear the right clothes for the weather and to be seen in the dark.  Wishing you all a very enjoyable Halloween.

Introduction…of sorts

Saturday, November 6th, 2010
Well, I have to say, I am not the typical blogger. I never really got into either the reading or writing of blogs but I was recently at one of the FAAN Allergy Walks and was invited to blog about my experiences with food allergies. I was intrigued about the AllerDine site and what it might mean for my family. You see, my son suffers from a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitus. It is a condition where naturally occurring types of red blood cells called eosinophils (E-O-SIN-O-FILLS) infiltrate the esophagus and wreak all sorts of havoc. There are different types of eosinophilic disorders whose symptoms vary with the type of disorder and the person’s age. They often mimic other conditions and many children go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed for years. If it wasn’t for my tenacity and the fact that my son developed an alarming number of food, environmental and drug allergies, we probably would still be wondering what was going on with him. I mentioned an alarming number of allergies. He had 42 food allergies, 8 environmental (all the ones that they have tests for anyway) and 4 drug allergies. I say had because, well, because there is no other way of saying it. With this disorder, his allergies are not always IgE or IgG mediated. Most of them are T-cell mediated. That means that his body can actually cause his allergies to fluctuate, in amount and severity. In addition, there can be false negative results, which is something that cannot happen with your typical allergies. Bizarre. Isn’t it?? Many factors contribute to these fluctuations, like not getting enough rest or catching a simple cold. There are no current methods of testing for T-cell mediated allergies so doctors rely on standard skin prick and RAST testing for guidelines on what to eliminate or potentially introduce into a child’s diet, if at all possible. The standard treatment for many of the eosinophilic disorders is to pull kids from food and put them on an elemental formula diet, which oftentimes results in a gastric or naso-gastric feeding tube. Fortunately or unfortunately - depends on how you want to look at it - that is not the best option for our son. Since he has a plethora of environmental allergies, any of which could trigger those pesky eosinophils to infiltrate his esophagus, he most likely would continue to be symptomatic and suffer from the effects of his disease. This leaves us with few options, and those are experimental! We have tried a few of them over the years and have had some recent success with an experimental drug - so far. Now life, for us, is not normal. We strive to make it as normal as possible. That includes taking our kids (we have two - the older sister has no allergies whatsoever) out to eat. It allows us to be normal within such abnormal circumstances. We have three restaurants that we can “safely” eat at. It would be wonderful to expand our dining repertoire and this site offers a measure of comfort in knowing what to expect from where. We live in a state of constant variables. There is no escaping that for us. We are just trying to live a life that offers our family the opportunities for a little consistency, or at least the illusion of such. Going out to dinner - something that many people view as no big deal - is a great deal to us. It allows us that illusion, that just for a moment, we are the typical family. I have become a master of disguise in that I play the part of the confident and knowing parent, when in reality, I suffer the same anxieties that every parent with a food allergic child endures. AllerDine helps me with cope a little better with those anxieties, so thanks.