Food Allergy Focus of the Week
Don't Kill the Birthday Girl
By Sandra Beasley
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
A beautifully written and darkly funny journey through the world of the allergic.
Like twelve million other Americans, Sandra Beasley suffers from food allergies. Her allergies—severe and lifelong—include dairy, egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard. Add to that mold, dust, grass and tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool, and it’s no wonder Sandra felt she had to live her life as “Allergy Girl.” When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other treats of childhood are out of the question—and so Sandra’s mother used to warn guests against a toxic, frosting-tinged kiss with “Don’t kill the birthday girl!”
It may seem that such a person is “not really designed to survive,” as one blunt nutritionist declared while visiting Sandra’s fourth-grade class. But Sandra has not only survived, she’s thrived—now an essayist, editor, and award-winning poet, she has learned to navigate a world in which danger can lurk in an unassuming corn chip. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is her story.
How to Deal With Food Allergies in Babies & Children
By Dr. David Hill, eHow Presenter
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to deal with food allergies in babies and children. Now, this is a very complex, very broad topic, and we cannot be comprehensive on it today, but we can touch on a few important things. Probably the most dangerous, and earliest, food allergy that we see in children occurs in newborns or infants and it's a milk protein allergy. This can even occur in nursing infants whose mother's drinks cow's milk. It's an allergic reaction that occurs in the intestine against elements of cows milk, cows milk proteins that are present in some formulas, and some humans breast milk. That can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, even bloody diarrhea, and at it's worst, it can make a child very, very sick. The good news is it's not a terribly common condition. However if your infant is feeding poorly, vomiting a lot, or you're worried about his or her stools, certainly if you see blood in the stool, you really want to bring that to his or her doctor's attention and consider milk protein allergy as a possibility. Now, after the milk protein allergy, there are fewer allergies that affect children and they tend to affect them less severely, but the next most common and most dangerous one is peanut and tree nut allergy. What makes the peanut and tree nut allergy unique is that it tends to worsen with age instead of improving with age. These children may start with hives, big, red, welt-y bumps all over that itch, but they may also go on to develop wheezing, shortness of breath, the sense of the mouth swelling or the throat closing up, that can be very dangerous, indeed. So if you think your child has had that sort of reaction to peanuts, tree nuts or any other food, you want to make sure his or her doctor knows because they're going to need an emergency plan at school or at daycare and they're going to need to have an epinephrine auto injector, the favorite brand name is EpiPen, available anywhere that they might encounter peanuts or whatever their allergen is. Now there are some other allergens that cause slightly less severe reactions.
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How to Recognize a Baby's Food Allergy
By an eHow Contributor
Introducing solid food to your baby is one of the joys of parenting a young child, but it's important to watch for the emergence of food allergies. When some babies are exposed to certain food proteins, their immune systems treat the proteins as invaders and generate antibodies to attack that protein. These antibodies then react in the form of an allergy each time the baby eats that food. Follow these steps to recognize a food allergy in your baby.
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