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If you have a child that suffers from food allergies, as I do, then you should be aware of the pending bill The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2009.
As a mother to a son who is allergic to peanuts, sesame and white fishes (and who was for the first 10 years of his life allergic to eggs) I am well versed in the frustration and worry that accompanies your allergic child when he or she enters school, changes schools or takes part in extracurricular activities at school. A simple “treat” brought in by a well-meaning parent or a birthday celebration can cause serious injury and possibly death for an allergic child. The “big” allergies, wheat, milk and peanut are familiar to just about everyone, but lesser known, but equally as dangerous allergies (such as those my son has to sesame and fish) can potentially kill a child due to the lack of education and a plan of action on the part of adults involved in the school system.
Here is a summary of the bill which was originally introduced in 2006 but was unable to garner the votes necessary to pass the United States Senate. It is now presently pending.
Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act of 2009 – Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and make available to local educational agencies, schools, early childhood education programs, and other interested entities voluntary guidelines to develop plans for individuals to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs. Directs that such guidelines address:
(1) parental obligation to provide the documentation of their child’s allergies;
(2) the creation of an individual food allergy management plan for each such child;
(3) communication between schools or programs and emergency medical services;
(4) reduction of exposure to anaphylactic causative agents;
(5) food allergy management training; and
(6) administration of epinephrine. Allows the Secretary to award matching grants to assist local educational agencies in implementing such food allergy and anaphylaxis management guidelines.
Interested parties should write to their representatives and senators to garner support for the bill. It may save a child’s life someday and that child might be your own.
Last weekend, our boys participated in the UVM Merit Badge Day. We decided to make a mini-vacation out of it (and so we wouldn’t have to rise before the crack of dawn) and stay overnight the Friday before Saturday’s events. We made arrangements for dinner at A Single Pebble in Burlington, which was really good and very considerate of our youngest son’s peanut/sesame allergies. I highly recommend it. We booked our reservations online through Open Table which was pretty convenient.
The boys had a good time with engineering and metalworking at the university, and we had a nice relaxing day exploring downtown Burlington. We came home Saturday evening to a delicious dinner prepared by our friends, who were up for the weekend. All in all, really nice weekend.
Sesame allergy….. who would have guessed. Not me. I have been doing some research on this since this is one food that I would have never imagined being on the list of allergens. Unfortunately, Tim (my youngest son) tested way positive for a sesame allergy in addition to the other positive results. Doing some research this is pretty scary if you have a girl, since sesame oil (which I was strongly advised by the allergist to keep away from Tim since it is considered a “dirty” oil) is found in a lot of make up and skin care products. Not to mention that sesame seeds are on McDonald’s buns. Lucky Tim is not a bread eater. Evidently, from the research that I have done, sesame allergies are the fourth most common allergy for children in Australia. I have never even heard of this. Luckily this is one of the more controllable allergies for our son, since he is not a bread eater and his taste in chinese food is simple and does not include sesame oil.
Wow, thanks for the great, helpful comments and links. I am pleased to report that my motherly instinct was correct, but sad to say that Tim is definitely allergic to peanuts. He is also allergic to sesame, brazil nuts and was advised to stay away from all tree nuts since those reactions were questionable on the skin test. He also tested slightly allergic to salmon and flounder which would explain why the past two times our friend Lou was up and cooked his “fish and pasta” which my boys refer to as “chicken pasta” Timmy got sick. Now, Lou doesn’t have to have a complex that his food poisoned my son, it was an allergic reaction.
The allergist informed me that this age, 11, is the prime age to demonstrate allergies to these food groups, although he did say that it was odd that he tested negative to them less than a year ago. Odd, but not impossible. While I am sad that Tim has “grown back into” allergies, I am thankful that at least now we know what it is and what to look for. I guess that my mother’s instinct was correct when I pretty much avoided giving him peanuts or peanut butter, since he never asked for it or showed any interest. And take that, Dr. ER, who knows a child better than his parent.