Friday, October 30, 2009

Food allergies and Halloween Candy

There's nothing like a BIG bowl of Halloween candy that will remind a "food allergY" Momma the dangers these next couple of days with the candy flowing and the kids all mixed together. I was reminded this week that I would need to be on guard at our own Fall Festival as the candy was being mixed together and deposited in the pumpkin buckets.

I am soo thankful that my kids' allergies, as sensitive to touch as they are, would probably not be affected by all the candies being together!! But that we would have to be watching everything that is attempted to be put into their mouths!! Very emotionally draining on parents!!

But my kids are also getting older enough to take a little bit of precaution and responisbility. The last time we had company over Christopher asked someone who was going to cut up his food, "Does your knife have eggs or cheese on it?" Yay!! A good question and one that shows that he's aware of his allergies!

So as we head over to church for the Fall Festival, while I HOPE my kids are excited, I also want them to be reviewing our simple food guidelines:

1. Don't eat anything unless you ask Mommy or Daddy!!!!
2. If you think you touched something that has milk, eggs or peanuts in it, go wash your hands... with SOAP.
3. Ask for candy that you recognize OR get a toy when you get a choice.
4. If someone offers you something, ask if it has milk, eggs or peanuts. Then ask Mommy or Daddy if you can have it.
5. Don't pick up any trash on the floor. Tell MOmmy and Daddy... if Anna even touches peanuts or milk products she'll immmediately break out.

When we get home we usually sort through their candy and remove anything that they can't have.... we like doing that because when they return to their bags/buckets everything is safe. I like doing that because then I KNOW everything is SAFE!

A friend asked me the other day how I trained my kids what foods are safe and not safe. And how to teach them that they CAN NOT have certain foods... even if they see others eating them or really, really want them.

The safe and not safe are just foods that my kids are used to eating or remember me telling them that they could have it or try it! Kids have amazing memories!!!

As far as training them, if I had to take a candy away from them I usually explain that it will make them sick or itchy. Both Anna and Christopher remember a time of having a reaction to something, feeling itchy on their face or soreness in their throat (yes, has happened ONCE) and Mommy/Daddy making them drink Benadryl!! Maybe they saw the uncertainity in us.... anyway, they usually will not fuss and hand it over.

Lydia might still fuss if it's something she really wants to try. But she is also starting to understand that we are trying to protect her. And I'm learning that a little compassion goes a long way.

I usually try to be a little understanding and sensitive to them. It's tough being a kid that can't have just ANY 'ole piece of candy from the bowl! And I usually try to have a different option/treat for them, either with me, finding something in their bucket for them or promised to them when they get home!!

Off to get my ballerina, Army Man and little girl (LOL... Lydia has thus far refused to get dress up) ready for our Fall Festival:) Maybe I can get a picture and share it soon:) We'll see what the kids let me do:)


Anonymous said...

Oh, I do feel with them as I know it myself. I have started to go on less candy and then check what is inside and some of my favourite candies I cannot have too anymore. But I am still lucky that my milk allergy is less. So a little bit milk chocolate is okay if I do not add it over the day with something else that could make me sick. I still keep my fingers cross for the three that the allergy will grow out. What do you do with "stuff" that has added on the sentence "It may contains ..." but do not have it as indegredients? I have fond out for myself that I do not react on this, but trying anyway to eat it less.

Jenny said...

My daughter is highly allergic to tree nuts, so many candies and sweets are off limits to her.

She does very well knowing about her allergies and always asks me before eating anything. Unfortunately some in-laws don't get it and we've had a few close calls. Why do people think it's not a serious thing? I wouldn't be carrying around an EpiPen and be constantly asking about tree nuts if it weren't!

To Jenny above: My daughter's allergist said if it "may contain" an allergen you allergic to that you have to avoid it, because you don't know how much or how little it may contain. It's safest just to avoid it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny, yes, that's what I would usually do, too, with the "it may contains". But the thing about this is that it is a new kind of European law, which is a little bit extreme, to give you an example. I have bought Italian pasta which is only made of durum wheat semolina or durum wheat semolina and water. I have it produced by different companies. One of the company has to add "it may contains milk" because this company also produce tomatoe sauces! And even because it is a different place! This way I am still eating food with the "it may contains" but only this of which I can know through the indegredients that it really cannot be inside and it is only a "law" sentence.

lindsey said...

I'd love to hear/read your list of approved candies (even just a few). I'm "off" milk/cheese for awhile because my little guy seems to react to it in my breastmilk. It's a temporary thing so if you already have the "list' of approved candies, it will make my shopping list easier!