Talking Allergies

Misuse of the term "allergy"
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Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Misuse of the term "allergy"

I ran into a lady at the soy milk section of the grocery store tonight. She asked me a few questions about soy milk, and other soy products. Her daughter ( about 13 ) was with her. She said that she was allergic to milk. "So is my daughter" I told her. "she is 2."

"Does she get sick to the stomach when she drinks too much milk too?" The mother asked me.

"No. She would die." I replied.

The woman looked horrified. Apparently, her daughter is lactose intolerant. I explained the difference to her. She felt sorry for me. Neither the mom or the daughter knew the difference between lactose intolerant and allergic before tonight. They do now.

Its pretty hard to make the general public understand "allergies" when people with intolerances say that they have "allergies" and eat it anyways. I wish that people with intolerances would not call them allergies because it makes it harder for people to understand the seriousness of a "real allergy".

Author:  monty [ Wed Oct 26, 2005 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Misuse of the term "Allergy"

You did a good thing by explaining. You brought awareness to one more person, who will then pass the knowledge along. The more people who know, the more who will take the time to look it up on the internet or talk to their friends etc. Its all good.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:39 pm ]
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I think that those who suffer from food intolerances can sometimes feel that those with food allergies think little of their dietary concerns. It is different. Yes, they will get very sick if they eat something which they cannot digest where as those with food allergies can die.
However, I feel that rather than simply point out how our (food allergic) situation is somewhat worse than theirs, we shoud point out how we have been able to pull together to get changes made such as label laws and food recalls. Awareness in others helps everyone stay safe. We are allies with a common goal-to avoid certain foods directly and through cross contamination.
I wonder if Anonymous was feeling this way?

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:39 am ]
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I was trying to say that it is difficult to teach the general public the seriousness of anaphylactic allergies, when they have heard stories of other people with "allergies" that still eat their "allergens" because they taste oh so good.

Some people continually ask if my daughter can take lactaid, or eat yogurt and cheese because "so and so" is allergic, and lactaid works great for them.

I was primarily refering to numerous comments I recieve about "lactose intolerance" being the same as an anapylactic allergy to milk. It is not. It is hard to convince people that my daughter can not be around milk at all, when they know someone with a milk allergy (lactose intolerance) who eats blizzards because they love them despite the stomach ache they get afterwards. When my daughter starts school, I know that I will be dealing with numerous parents who think that it is rediculous that my daughter can not be around milk, when other people that they know are "allergic" (intolerant) still eat it.

My mother is intolerant to wheat, but not allergic. She gets a stomach ache, but the immune system is not involved in any way. She uses the proper term "intolerant" (because I have asked her not to use "allergy") so that she does not contribute to societies confusion on the seriousness of anaphylaxis. I'm sure that being intolerant is a definite inconvienience, but not life threatening. I wasn't trying to hurt anyones feelings that has intolerances, just point out the difficulty in educating the public about anaphylaxis when they are recieving the wrong information and mixed messages.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:37 am ]
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Saskmmmyof2-I actually agree with you.
I wasn't trying to say that you hurt anybodies feelings. (That's the trouble with written corespondence). I was just trying to understand what Anonymous might have been trying to say. I may have been way off in that too!
I have noticed, when searching the grocery aisle and speaking with someone who is lactose intolerant, that the moment I utter allergic (and I might go on to say anaphylaxic or mention that it could be fatal) it is like a door slamming shut. I am going to try in the future to temper my comment with sme sort of statement on how much easier it is for all of us with food issues compared to the '70's or 80's.
I guess that I'm just starting to realise that my efforts in education may cause others to feel alienated. If I can get them to understand the difference, then they can educate others.

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:21 am ]
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When the kids first were diagnosed with allergies, my mother (who had been intolerant to wheat for years) refered to her condition as an allergy too. She told the kids that "grandma is allergic to wheat", but would taste a bite of a cookie that I had made despite the fact that it contained wheat. One day she said infront of my daughters "it looked so good that despite my allergy I had to try it." I immediately intervened and told my daughters that their grandma has an "intolerance" that will give her a bit of a stomach ache if she eats wheat, and that they have "allergies" which will make them VERY VERY SICK if they ever ingest even a tiny amount of their allergens.

Ever since that day my mother has refered to herself as having an intolerance. I would hate for my daughters to ever hear that phrase again "it looked so good that despite my allergy I had to try it." That sends a very scary message to allergic kids, so that is also part of the reason that I feel so strongly about people using the proper terminology regarding their allergy or intolerance.

Author:  Nicole [ Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:16 pm ]
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Aaah, yes, if only allergies were only food intolerances! People are generally very ignorant still. My daughter has a peanut allergy. She cannot ingest any peanut. I have lactose intolerance, so does my other daughter. We can definitely ingest dairy products, we just have some discomfort after. My friend said to me that it must be hard to not be able to keep dairy products or ice cream in the house. I had to explain that unlike peanuts, we can definitely have dairy products in the house, we won't die if we ingest a bit. And yes, we do indulge in ice cream (Chapman's of course!) because it's so good, and that if we keep our lactose absorption to a minimum, we can get away with it.

Food allergies = VERY BAD, food intolerances = NOT SO BAD.

Sorry, it's just that not only do we have to explain everything to people, sometimes I feel we have to explain in the most simple way! :)

Author:  Pepper [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:02 am ]
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I can understand your annoyance at people who say they are "allergic" when they are just "intolerant". I think the word "allergy" has become almost an "in" word to use, not that this is right, just what it seems to be. Also, because some people don't "get it" about intolerances, it's often a last resort to tell them the child is allergic in order for them to not give the offending substance. Intolerances can be just as debilitating to the child as a true allergy, just not likely life-threatening.
I have two kids who are sensitive to yellow food dyes - makes them hyper - one, who also has ADD, could not sit still in school and the teacher wanted me to medicate him (Ritalin). I did a lot of reading and found that some artificial colorants in food can cause hyperactivity. The specialist said it wasn't a problem - he'd outgrow it in six months - that was 13 years ago!!! :roll: (It's now documented on the Internet - search for Tartrazine and Yellow 5&6) When taken out of his diet, the teacher thought I HAD medicated him. Because so many people didn't believe that something as "harmless" as food dye would bother him, I began to tell them he was allergic and they were not to feed him anything without my permission. It isn't a true "allergy" at all but it was the only way to get some of these uninformed people to stop giving him things that would trigger his behaviour. It didn't affect them but it sure made people negative towards him! He was not fun to be around when he'd eaten a food with yellow dyes in it. A daughter 6 yrs younger also had the same trouble.
So... my point is... don't be too harsh on those who may use the "allergic" label to protect their kids from things that still impact their lives in a negative way due to uneducated people! But... also, don't stop educating people about true allergies.

Author:  ethansmom [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:16 am ]
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Pepper wrote:
I have two kids who are sensitive to yellow food dyes - makes them hyper - one, who also has ADD, could not sit still in school and the teacher wanted me to medicate him (Ritalin). I did a lot of reading and found that some artificial colorants in food can cause hyperactivity. The specialist said it wasn't a problem - he'd outgrow it in six months - that was 13 years ago!!! :roll: (It's now documented on the Internet - search for Tartrazine and Yellow 5&6) When taken out of his diet, the teacher thought I HAD medicated him.

Pepper, I fist noticed this link in my son when he had some Smarties as a treat after lunch when he was close to his second birthday. He's always been a good sleeper and napper and for the life of me, I couldn't get him down for his nap. He was all over the place and couldn't settle in his bed. Because this was totally out of character for him, I started wondering what it was and then on my own deduced that it must have been the Smarties. I did some research on the internet and started reading about Tartrazine. He's also reacted to the colourants in "Petit Danone" cheese/yogurts. Because we're label readers due to his allergy -- I started noticing all of the "may contain tartrazine" on labels (especially in kid's treat foods). We do our best to stay away from all foods containing artificial colours -- but because it is in most kid's treat foods, on the occasion that he has a sucker or a roll of Rockets candy, I just make sure he has it after his nap or well before bed time. The government says there isn't a problem with it and continues to allow its use in Canada despite all of the reports from parents whose children it affects - which they says isn't "scientifically supported" -- :roll: :?:

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:05 pm ]
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About those food dyes...some are really gross if you research their origin. I am unsure of the origin of tartrazine but I recall hearing information a while ago about some food colorings being made of "natural" sources of bright color like the crushed bodies of dead bugs. There is a bright red bug which was the source of red food color (also responsible for problems with ADHD ). And then...they call them "natural colorings".

For anyone who is unaware, for a bug, being brightly colored is a sign to predators that you are poisonous. Not all brightly colored bugs are poisonous, some are imitating appearing poisonous as a defense mechanism. However, it has to make a person wonder if adding these "natural colors" to our foods really makes them look prettier and more appealing once people realize the source of the color, which unfortunately most people do not. As for is derived from a seed...and it concerns me for those with seed allergies.

Luckily (?) i make everything from scratch and avoid most dye sources. I only color the icing for birthday cakes, and I have been trying to incorporate more white icing in my designs for my girls cakes.

There was a discussion about food dyes somewhere else on this forum...I will try to find it. I recall myself bashing "purple french fries" and other "fun" kids foods.

I totally understand how you would get nowhere telling others that your child is "intolerant" to dyes...other adults barely believe me when I say that my daughter is "severely allergic" to milk/eggs/chicken...I can imagine no one would regard your concerns for food dyes seriously if you said he was intolerant.

Author:  Pepper [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:16 pm ]
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Thanks ethansmom and saskmomyof2 for also mentioning food dyes. For so long when my kids were little, I didn't know of a single other parent who said their child reacted to dyes. I too, allowed my two affected kids to have some forbidden foods on the weekends as I felt it was better to let them have it when they could run it off and then they were more ready to accept not getting it on school days or when we needed them to be quiet. My son always had a booming voice - could locate him anywhere within a two mile radius!!!! He had two levels of sound - loud and asleep - I know now that it was due to yellow dyes - couldn't control voice level. We found that a lot of the Penicillin drugs had yellow dyes - banana flavour - so as these two got older, we had to stay on the baby strength, which was white based, and they were prescribed double doses to make up for what they needed. My daughter, now 14, had her wisdom teeth out last month and couldn't swallow the pills - she still took double of the baby strength.
Tartrazine is actually a coal tar derrivative - that's a waste product - so why is it in our food!????? :evil: I mean, I know why they use it - its a preservative - but honestly, don't these people have brains to think this through??? :roll: Its not rocket science!!! Then they wonder why we're experiencing so many behaviour/health problems in our children.
They complain that they think ADD is now a "fad" problem to have - well do 'ya think there might be a reason for its increase???????? Adam's behaviour would be off the wall within moments of having yellow dyes - and its affect would last for about three hours. So kids eat this stuff in their breakfast cereal, their drinks, go to school and have a terrible morning - come home, have Kraft dinner and jello or even yellow cheddar cheese, go back to school - have a terrible afternoon - have dinner and snacks laced with yellow then get blamed for not settling down for bed at night - and the cycle continues. Put 'em on Ritalin - that'll zombie them out!!! Sure puts money in the pockets of Pharmaceutical companies - at least somebody benefits from all this 'cause it sure isn't our kids!!! Kids affected with this need as natural a diet as possible - check and re-check labels, just like you do with allergies.

Author:  saskmommyof3 [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:33 pm ]
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My youngest daughter was covered in hives after playing with playdoh. I managed to get the ingredients from the company and the allergist and I suspect either a chemical or the coloring (it was red ). Obciously, we are avoiding food colors as much as possible. It is really hard to find medicines for kids (tylenol etc. and vitamins ) that are free of them. How stupid, it is in the medicine we need.

I also know a woman whose daughter has dance the same time as my oldest whose son is extremely sensitive to yellow food colors as are not alone. His behavior is changed dramatically by them.

Honestly, opium is from poppies, and many other illegal street drugs are "nature" derived and many are chemical derived as well. If food dyes can cause major behavior changes the government needs to look into their "drug like" qualities and find safer alternatives...or we could eat foods in the color they were intended. ... 245d830100

I had to add that, it was interesting. Yes, we no longer allow mineral based dyes, but carbon based is fine :roll: . Carbon-based does include tar, dead bugs and strange plants and seeds. This was interesting too...

Author:  ethansmom [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:07 pm ]
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Well then, you guys will be as happy as I was to find out that Children's Advil now makes a "dye free" version!! That was a pet peeve of mine for a long time -- try finding pain reliever for your child that doesn't have any dyes in it - good luck! It's funny though - their marketing angle on their website and packaging is that it's "non-staining" - ha. How about "will not induce hyperactivity in your child!" :wink:

Pepper -- I think you're absolutely right about childen's intake of all of these food and drinks containing colouring now a days and the increase in diagnoses of ADHD, behaviour problems, etc. I can't see how artificial colourings and flavourings made in a laboratory somewhere (using, who knows what) are good healthy options for our children....

Author:  Pepper [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:50 pm ]
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Saskmommyof2 - that chemistry site was great :) Wow - didn't realise how far back in history colorants were used in foods and how dangerous they were - they didn't know better then - so what's our excuse? (profits!). My son also reacted to certain things that touched his skin - when he began to feed himself, his hands would turn lobster red from "touch sensitivities" but he refused to be fed by anyone so we suffered through it. He had other "touch sensitive" issues with clothing etc ( I remember having that too) - socks, seams touching his legs, hats over his ears, sleeves tight to his arms - I gave away a lot of clothing he just couldn't stand to wear! Fortunately, he did outgrow most of that but still has a few touch issues even now (he's 20).
Natural (as long as you research it) is still best - we've switched to a natural line of household cleaners/laundry/personal care products/shampoos/toothpaste etc and have seen benefits over the past 7 years. Even kids toothpaste has sweeteners in it that aren't as good as they could be - I mean, isn't the idea here to stop tooth decay????

Author:  Pepper [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 11:02 pm ]
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ethansmom - thanks for the Advil site :) that was great too! My kids used a color free Dimetapp for awhile until it was off the market for I forget what med problem - I believe its back on now. I actually just e-mailed the Advil company from that web-site - I find its good to tell companies when they've made something that really benefits allergic kids. But I did mention to them that they'd possibly reach more moms if they stated they were color free - as you said, who care's about the non-staining thing!!!!
You know, when I think of all the kids who are on meds like Ritalin for ADHD it bothers me that more people don't seek out the color dye issue. Its not a true food intolerance but it makes an otherwise safe food into an intolerance! So many kids could be calmer and learn better if they weren't being pumped full of junk!

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