Talking Allergies

What would you have done?
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Author:  frevic [ Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:43 pm ]
Post subject:  What would you have done?

I'm at the park with my son who is allergic to peanuts and treenuts and all of a sudden I spot that another lady is eating from a large bag of peanuts. So I just watch her for now her daughter is not eating any yet but then her daughter comes running over and she get's her to grab a handful of nuts to eat.

I panic a bit since my son was playing with her.

I approach the mom and ask if she could make sure to wash her daughters hands before returning to the play ground since she's been eating peanuts and my son is severely allergic. She says: "Oh.... ok..." and just stares at me. Then she says, actually we'll just go now anyway so you don't have to worry about it.

I wasn't sure if she was upset????

Should it be up to me to just leave? or is it okay to approach the parents?

What would you have done? :confused

Author:  williamsmummy [ Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

i would have just moved my child out of the way, IF i thought there was a close and real risk of cross contamination. close contact, holding hands, or simply distract my child from climbing on same play equipment as other child if i was extremely concerned.

in a open air park the risk is low......and you have to think , you have no idea who has been in the park before you, your child has more than likely played quite happily, without event, in a play area where food is spread around, you just didnt know .....

this is a part of normal life, and you shouldnt stop taking your child out, but also, expecting everyone around your child in a open air public place to stop eating nuts is not going to happen.

food is everywere, and you just have to deal with each situation and judge it as it happens, and give your child a near as possible a normal life.

Author:  BC2007 [ Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

Hi there, my two cents...I tend to agree with Williamsmummy. If it was a group of friends you went to the park with then I'd say ask them to please refrain from eating nuts/peanuts and wash hands etc. as chances of one on one contact with your child would be great. But when at the park and strangers are there eating allergens I just move away. I remember the days of taking a zip loc bag of almonds to the park or peanuts and raisins or peanut butter granola bars to much on. :frightened All that was going through my mind at the time was it was a healthy snack for our daughter to eat. Allergies were the furthest thing from my mind, not once did it even occur to me that someone around me might be allergic. I can honestly say I didn't even really know or understand the first thing about allergies. So in turn I try to remember that those people munching on a tin of cashews or a recess peanut butter cup don't mean any harm and are most likely completely unaware of my frantic state around them as they eat in happy bliss.

When out I also tend to assume everything is contaminated and after DS plays I wash hands, then go home and change clothes and wash up again.
Mind you, it wasn't until he stopped touching his face (baby and early toddler stage) that I even let him go play on structures etc.. When he was really young he'd constantly put his hands in his mouth/eyes etc. and then I admit I didn't let him out of the stroller unless necessary when out.
Hey, pat myself on the back.. don't mean to hijack the thread but re-reading my own post here I have come a long way. :lol:

Author:  Becky [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 12:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

I would have said something too.

Author:  Julie [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

Hi frevic, It's a constant learning experience about what to do in these situations. I agree with williamsmummy and BC2007 as well. If that family had left just prior to you arriving, you would not have known that they were at the park with peanuts. I treat every surface as "contaminated" when we are out because we are dealing with so many food allergies with our son. I feel the grocery store cart is equally contaminated (or even more so!) with food allergens, and our son loves to push the cart. It's important that he does not put his hands in his mouth, or touch his face while we are at the grocery store. He has, on rare ocassions, come home with the odd hive on his face after a visit to the grocery store. I'm not trying to give you more reason to be concerned, but we all have to be aware that food is EVERYWHERE! People eat at the park, the pool, the library, etc. It's most important to teach our kids to keep themselves safe so they can take part in life. Of course, when they are very young, they do not have the ability to do this, but as they get older, it's very important to teach them this. My son enjoys a lot of sports, taking the bus, subway and GO Train (we live near Toronto), and all sorts of other activities - these places are hugely contaminated. We constantly remind him not to touch his face, then go to the washroom for a good handwashing at the earliest opportunity. Of course, we do not eat on these trips - at least, not on the bus, etc. However, if we attend a family/friend function where foods of concern could be present, we politely ask if there could be no nuts/peanuts or sesame. We find out what the meal will be. We bring all of our sons food (if need be) and don't allow him to eat from a common bowl/platter unless he is the first person to eat from it. It really depends how big the group is, and how well they understand the situation with food allergies.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

I can remember going to funerals and wakes... :? I would carry dd (2 then) to avoid all the egg-y and milk-y contaminated tables, chairs and people. I would get her outside as quick as possible. I often put my back out as she was so heavy then, but I couldn't stand to see her at eye level to all of those contaminated surfaces and it didn't seem right to not go.

Life gets better as your child gets a bit older, you get more comfortable speaking up and the extended family begins to grasp the situation better.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 11:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

Frevic, think you have to play it situation by situation.

If the 2 kids had been playing together and were likely to resume, I'd have asked for the wipe too in your shoes.
If the parent didn't get it, oh well. Do what your gut tells you is right.

Author:  frevic [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the different opinions.
Still fairly new to all these allergies. I’m constantly put on the spot and made to think: “what is the right thing to do in this situation”.

Again, I appreciate all your replies.

Author:  BC2007 [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

In my perfect world all food would be eaten inside homes or enclosed areas and always using a fork!!! Wonder how that would be accepted by the non allergic world. :lol:
In some situations I may not ask people to refrain from eating around our DS and opt to move instead but it doesn't mean I don't want to. Inside my head I'm usually screaming 'I hate food, why do people have to eat everywhere and eat constantly'. :freak

Author:  _Susan_ [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

If you made it through the day and tucked him into bed without a reaction, you did good.

Gwen is right, it depends on so much.

Sometimes too, you need to judge comfort levels as well. It's no fun playing if either you or your child are in a state of constant terror. Dd often prefered digging in the sand. I wonder if she worried about the cleanliness of the play structures...

Author:  cauger [ Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

I WISH my daughter enjoyed digging in the sand more, but she seems to like making me paranoid by having fun crawling all over the play structure. She's my little adventurous monkey and I know one day i'm going to have to deal with another reaction, I just need to be prepared for it, i'm not looking forward to that day, her last one she was too young to remember! I probably would have asked her to wipe her hands if they were going back to play with each other. I know my daughter is usually at the park with the same daycare group and I don't really worry about them, the kids are always so well cleaned and never snack at the park. The other mom that's usually there is the same way, only water or juice at the park, which makes me quite pleased. I have cringed a few times with chip bags left ont he ground (empty) - flavours like harvest cheddar and such and since it's shiny - my daughter goes straight for it. Go figure. The park gets nicely cleaned when we go though, I pick up all the trash, becasue who knows what is dangerous, and it only takes a second...

Author:  jomatt [ Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

I'm so glad this post was here today. Today I would not stay for supper at a family gathering and I know that others didn't understand that as the food choices clearly were peanut free. I remember Sabrina and that you could not see the milk/cheese on the tongs and stick with eating food from our own or "safe" environments. I followed my own protocol - we had brought our own lunch but not supper so we left, as I did not know the kitchen or the hospital/ ambulance distances. We don't eat food that should be safe - we eat food that we know is safe and prepared in a safe from cross contamination kitchen.

When I came home and told my son's dad instead of supporting my decision he said, "I'm sure they went out of their way to make sure it was safe and that it would have been OK." Anger does not begin to describe my feelings. I guess what I'm trying to say is we have to make our decisions, and you know what the heck (please imagine a much stronger word) what everyone else thinks, you do in that moment what you think is safest for your child with what information you have.

Son 5 allergic to peanuts/ treenuts (anaphylaxis), allergic to trees, cats, dogs, & kiwi, asthma & eczema
Dad seasonal allergies, severe allergy to birch
mom seasonal allergies

Author:  Julie [ Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

Jomatt, I completely understand your decision. I'm positive we would have done the same thing. The only place we will eat outside the home is immediate family (and 2 of our good friends) that truly, after years of education from us, "get it". But everywhere else we go we bring our sons food, and sometimes it is SO much work! One of my closest friends was having us over the other night, and I spent 4 hours preparing food - not even for our own home. But I know she doesn't feel comfortable preparing food that our son would eat because she knows what we have gone through. I appreciate her honesty and her openness with her concern. In order for us to eat safely in her home, we know that we need to bring his food, and lots of food for sharing. If our extended family is having a gathering, sometimes we simply don't go as it is just way too stressful to be around the unsafe food. We have to evaluate each situation and determine whether or not we feel comfortable. Now that our son is 8 years old, it is a LOT easier, and he can take part in the decision making and understand that in order for us to attend these functions, we need to bring his food. In his case, he is a very social guy, and is okay with having separate food. We are able to talk to him about how we like to make "the best of things" and even if he sometimes wishes he could eat the food others are eating, we have to just give our heads a shake, and make the best of things and prepare some of our own yummy food. Our son has had multiple allergic/anaphylactic reactions, requiring the Epipen 3 times, so it's just not worth taking that chance if we don't feel he is safe.

We all have to decide for ourselves if we feel a situation is safe for ourselves or child(ren).

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

I understand, too. Would seem the real issue here, was that you weren't involved in the food preparations for the dinner. You were being asked to take on faith, and thereforce you couldn't.

If you'd been e-mailed in advance about what was being served at dinner, you could have:
* Asked specific questions about food ingredients.
* Asked them to set aside any products with labels used so you could quickly review when you got there.
* Reminded about utensil contamination.
* Or, if just not ready to try others' food, suggested you'd bring your own.

Especially with family, it's good to work toward having them 'get' it. They often really want to.
With soy, my sister made a lot of mistakes early on. I would just have a snack before going, bring the safe salad dressing so at least I could have that if the meat marinade had a 'whoops' in it when I read the labels on products she'd used (I'd ask her to set aside).

A few years later, she's really got it, and I can trust her now.

My suggestion - do try to build toward, at least with closer family.

Author:  BC2007 [ Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What would you have done?

Jomatt I would have done exactly the same as you in this specific situation and NOT eaten supper there. If you could have been involved in food prep. etc. it could be different but never ever would I assume that someone else really understood the extent of work it takes to ensure safe food....especially if being cooked in a home where allergens are present. I think this also would send mixed messages to your family that it is ok to feed your DS food they 'think' is safe, especially since you weren't involved in the prep./cooking.

The only exception would be as Gwen mentioned someone such as her sister who is close to her and who sounds very involved. To have eaten on pure faith would have showed your son that it is ok to take someone just on their word that what he is about to eat is safe. An 'oops' for someone else is the trauma, ambulance ride, hospital stay for your DS and yourself.
I do agree with Gwen also that it is nice to build up trust with close family if possible. But if that isn't possible, wait and eat at home.

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