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 Post subject: Am I doing this wrong?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:06 pm
Posts: 217
Location: Terrebonne, Quebec
I'm very new to this allergy thing, I had allergies as a child, but never much experience with severe allergies beyond the fact that a coworker had a life threatening reaction to peanuts, but only if he ate them (we worked at the YMCA regardless, which is peanut free).

As a few may have read, my daughter is almost 11 months old, and diagnosed anaphylaxis to dairy, eggs, peanuts, beef, suspected to nuts and seafood (with 3 anaphylactic reactions to the above mentioned foods, and countless contact, minor reactions). Her doctor says she may grow out of some of these allergies, and I hope so, but we'll have to wait and see. I can't put her in daycare, her pediatrician says no way, it's too dangerous, which is convenient because i'm off work expecting #2 in March.

In our house, we are BIG fans of dairy products, we love our butter, milk and cheese on everything, so this allergy is inconvenient to say the least. I notice many of you have eliminated these allergens from your house entirely, but I don't see how we can do this. So far I have set up a dedicated food area in the kitchen for her food, and a seperate counter for our food prep. Since she is still young, she eats mostly Heinz baby food (which I loathe, but I've had problems cooking for her in the past, she just wont eat what I make). Her counter area has a Lysol wipes jar for daily cleaning or in casze of a contamination risk (like my husband forgetting and pouring milk on that side of the counter). She has a special shelf in the fridge for her food (the top shelf, so nothing can drip down) and so far nothing has been a problem from the fridge. All her bowls/bottles/spoons are done in the dishwasher to sterilize them.

My issue is when it comes to cooking her food, is it usually sufficient to wash a pot twice (with 2 different cloths) or any other pan that is used in the food preparation? If it were only one allergen, I would gladly make the house 100% safe, but can't seem to figure out a way to make that happen. Eating happens now only on the dining room table, no snacks or food anywhere else in the house, the floor in there is swept daily and mopped with disinfectant weekly. Any food bits that fall and are missed by cleanup are consumed by the dog in lightening speed and for now, she doesn't walk around the dining area/kitchen yet so minor crumbs aren't an issue.

This may seem a tad long, but I was wondering if there are ways to possibly improve this somehow. When she starts walking would it make sense to make these areas off limits to her for now? Any advice would help a lot. Thanks!

Daughter 3.5 years) - Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Sesame, Beef; asthma and eczema
Daughter (2 years) - Peanuts Eczema
Son (7 months) - Contact allergy to something food undetermined

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:36 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Cauger, I can't answer regarding the dairy allergy but I can say it sounds like you are doing an amazing job as far as organizing your kitchen in such a way to ensure your daughter is safe. From what I've read from others it seems like everyone has their own comfort level as far as removing foods/keeping foods in the house. Each family finds what works for them.
In our home we removed all foods with any trace of peanuts,tree nuts and sesame and peas (too hard to have as they roll around and bounce on the floor). This includes any product with a may contain for these allergens. At first we had no of his other allergic foods in our home but as I've found my comfort level with how to clean properly etc. we've let a few other foods into our home, shrimp etc. His allergies have come and gone, everything from peppers, tomato, gelatin, eggplant, eggs, to avoid everything was becoming impossible and just not practical for the rest of the family. I am surprised how I have become more comfortable and relaxed (slightly!!). Some of you might laugh at that as I know I sound like a complete spaz and nut job most of the time but I really have come a long way....hard to believe I know. :banana Ok, no need for the dancing banana but I've been waiting to use it. :D

I also like you use the the top shelf of the fridge for anything our son eats, drinks, but I know that not having to avoid dairy we are not at all in the same situation as your. Regardless of what others do in their homes your daughter will grow up knowing your rules, your food 'system'.
If we've cooked anything such as shrimp etc. I use the dishwasher on high wash and do an extra rinse. I am not sure if this is needed but I also am unsure if washing by hand is enough. I don't ever use plastic bowls etc. if we mix anything he is allergic to but I make sure I use stainless, in my head I figure these sterilize better?
good luck!! :D

DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish

PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:55 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 1
Location: Surrey BC
Hello Cauger,
My daughter and your daughter sound like they have the exact same allergies. My daughters first anaphylaxis was when she was 4 months old, she had a bottle of formula. Three years later we have learned so much.
You have to do what you feel comfortable with. In our home there is zero tolerance for her allergy triggers. I am way to terrified to make a mistake. Her preschool, it is a parent participation preschool is 100% allergy safe for her. I would say you need to be on guard at all times yet still be able to live a somewhat normal life. Only you know if you can cook in your house and mistakes not happen. My daughters 3rd birthday she was fed a hotdog that had dairy in husband accidently brought home 1 package that was not safe- 4 Epipens later she survived.
If you need someone to talk to I am here, we have lots in common!

Daughter (3 1/2) Anaphylactic to Dairy, Eggs, Beef, Peanuts, Shellfish, Tree Nuts, Latex. Chemical reactions to Food Dye, esp Red #40
Asthma, Eczema.
Dad-no allergies, asthma.
Mom-No Allergies, no asthma.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:49 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:26 pm
Posts: 1
Hi, I have a two year old with lots of allergies. It was very hard making our house dairy free. I am severely lactose intolerant so it was not a that big a deal with me, but I also have two older boys and a husband. We just had to get rid of the cow's milk. We were having too many almost accidents with my son grabbing a cup off the table that still had a few dribbles of milk in it. The older kids get milk at their grandparents. It is a treat for them. They can have all the rice milk they want at home. I do buy them cheese and yogurt, but they can also only have these things at school. My son is also allergic to oats so we find oatmeal and granola bars very challenging. I only try to use granola bars for school. They are not open at home. Oatmeal is a harder one. It is healthy and my kids like to eat it for breakfast. I reluctantly give it to them. They are trained in cleaning up quickly. As soon as they are finished the bowl and spoon goes in the sink. They know the consequences if they forget. It is so hard to please everyone and keep the little guy safe. I have found kosher and vegan products to be a wonderful resource. I have even found kosher pesto with no cheese or nuts. Basically I just find a substitute for something and we stick with it. We use Vegannaise instead of mayonnaise and I think I even prefer it.

Mom to a
2 year old allergic to: dairy, eggs, oats, rye, barley, banana, mango, peanuts, almonds, pistachio and cashew
4 year old with no allergies
8 year old with a hazelnut allergy & Asthma

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:27 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6616
Location: Ottawa
It's really hard to have the allergens in the home during the toddler years. Don't view it as a permanent solution but rather as a safety measure that you may need to take for now (like plug covers).

Keeping allergens in a special place (container in fridge or high shelf) can work as well. These can be sent to school with the older children as you mentioned or on play dates. With allergens in the home, you have to be extra vigilant about cross contamination by surfaces and re-using knives to spread jams etc. As your child gets older, you may want a system of stickers to identify safe or contaminated packages.

There is no right way of setting up your home. Much depends on the allergens, the ages of all family members, their ability to consistently follow a ridgid protocol and the stress levels of the system. You will find a system that works for your family and it will evolve as your childrens needs and abilities develop.

Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy and green beans) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: Oral Allergy Syndrome, Allergic to Birch trees

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:26 pm
Posts: 28
Location: Vancouver, BC
Hi, I'm late replying to this thread. I have an almost 2 year old who has severe allergies to milk, eggs, soy (contact and ingestion), legumes and sesame seeds, nuts and peanuts. We have thankfully never had an anaphalactic episode, but based on how ill she was on breastmilk until I eliminated her allergens, I think we've just been lucky so far. We seem to have made it survived her highly oral phase, so I thought I'd share our experience.

Here's what we do in our house: we've completely eliminated nuts and peanuts and sesame. They are not food staples for us anyways, and they are small and messy and I don't want to deal with it. We do have milk in the house, but it is only drank (by adults) when DD is not around. Kids don't drink milk in our house because of the high risk of spilling and contaminating other stuff. Dairy products and eggs and the rest of her allergens are eaten, but only at the kitchen table. Everyone washes their hands with soap before and after a meal. DD only eats in her high chair with tray, and the counters are wiped and the floors swept before I take her out of there.

With regards to cooking implements and tableware: DD has her own utensils (metal) and bowls/plates/cups (mostly metal and glass, obviously used with supervision!). Some of the better quality plastic stuff is ok, but the cheapie Ikea stuff that my 4 year old uses, I just don't trust to get it clean. She has her own "safe" cutting board and frypan. Her food is always prepared before everyone else's, or at a separate time altogether (I still batch cook most of her food). I haven't had any concerns about using common pots and pans and pans when they are stainless steel so long as they are washed in hot water or in the dishwasher. But I don't trust coated pans and cast iron to come completely clean (especially since we make eggs on them) which is why she has her own.

We don't have any areas that are off limits to her, but we are in the habit of making sure that we sit at the table, eat and then clear the table. There is never any food on the table that she could accidently pull down. I have to wait until she is being occupied elsewhere to load the dishwasher because she is forever trying to get in there and "help" - which is bad enough when there are knives in there, but when those knives might have butter or cheese on it... even worse!

For kid snacks, we opted to have common "safe" pantry snacks for both kids, even though my 4 year old has no allergies. Its just easier for us to do it this way, especially since my MIL lives with us and watches the kids when I am at work twice a week.

Anyways, I thought that we didn't really do much in our house, but reading through my post, I guess we do! Just goes to show that you adapt to whatever you have to deal with and it becomes second nature. Susan makes a great point about how household "rules" can change as the child gets older.

Good luck!

6 year old son - eczema and sensitive skin
4 year old daughter - allergic to nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, mustard and eggs; has outgrown allergies to wheat and legumes (by age 2) and to dairy, soy (by age 3.5).

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 376
Location: Alberta
My son is anaphylactic to dairy, but we have never eliminated it from our house. In fact, his sister drinks milk, eats yogurt, cheese & cereal right next to him all the time. You might think that this means his allergy is not severe, but it is! He has never, ever had an anaphylactic reaction to what might have been trace amounts found in our house. He gets the occasional itchy hive on his fingers, though, maybe once or twice a year. We have implemented a process with him (he's 9 now) where he has to observe for himself which milk I am pouring on his cereal, or in my cooking, as there was one time in a slumber I poured the wrong milk on his cereal. It was a serious reaction, and I felt horrible. Lesson learned. But I've always held firm that he has to make his way in this world, and it is always going to be full of milk! When he was a pre-schooler, I was a lot more vigilant because he trusted everyone to feed him "safe" food, so he has been taught from a very young age that he is not allowed to eat anything unless we say it's OK. We have had 2 anaphylaxis episodes while eating out, both times we read the labels and were assured of the absence of milk, and in both cases it turned out that the WRONG version of the food was given to him (raspberry frozen yogurt instead of the dairy-free raspberry sorbetto, and a pork hot dog instead of all beef - which was the dairy-free one).

It breaks my heart sometimes that he's never been able to enjoy pizza, birthday cake at a party, mac and cheese ... but he has NEVER complained! His friends at school are not 'banned" from bringing dairy, but they always look out for him and make sure that they are cleaning up properly if they've had yogurt (which is as nasty as peanut butter, IMO).

This is just my philosophy, and many people deal with dairy allergies differently, but I really want to give him the confidence to make his way in this world because I won't be able to protect him forever!

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