Archive for June 2011

Free EpiPen Refresher Course is Just a Click Away

For those parents whose children suffer from food allergies, we probably do not go to many places without our homemade meals, Kirkland wipres and package with medicines and EpiPens.  However, when was the last time that you (or the people that care for your kids) go through a refresher course on using an administering an EpiPen.  I know they are supposedly simple to use (and I have not had to personally administer one)….but it does travel with us everywhere so knowing how to use it in the event of an emergency is essential as a parent of a child with food allergies.  As a quick review, I downloaded the app from the Apple Appstore to my iPad and found it very easy to follow.  There are some slides and a quick video.

If you have an IOS device, the Dey Pharma application is FREE and it worth the few seconds it takes to download.  It is useful in refreshing your skills or even helping someone else (like a teacher, a babysitter, mother-in-law, friend) understand how to administer epinephrine from the EpiPen in the event of an allergic reaction.  Of course, if you ever have an instant of doubt, seeking a doctor or calling 911 immediately should always be a first course of action. 

The iPhone and iPad application offers the following useful information:

  • A video demonstrating how to use an EpiPen Auto-Injector
  • A quick slideshow (User Guide) to help you visually walk someone through the three steps of an EpiPen injection
  • The ability for you and your healthcare professional to create multiple allergy profiles listing allergens to avoid and symptoms that may indicate an allergic emergency
  • The ability to share the User Guide and your allergy profile(s) with anyone via Email

To download the application for your Ipad or iPhone, please click here for more information.

Hopefully in the next release of the application they will offer the abiliy to track and e-mail you reminders when your EpiPen's are about to expire.

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Back from the FAAN Conference and Ready to Connect

Hi Friends, I am so looking forward to connecting with everyone our new night, Tuesday. I was able to attend the FAAN conference in Anaheim last week. I learned a lot, got some good resources, and met a lot of wonderful people that deal with what we deal with on a daily basis. It was a day of emotions and a lot of information.

How ironic that coming off that weekend my daughter had a reaction this week at school. I am so glad I was there volunteering to care for her needs right away. She is fine and thank goodness for medicine that brings immediate healing.

Being able to meet with others that share this lifestyle is so important. I really value your stories, feelings, and information.

We are still trying to make it easier for you to bring your kids if needed.  We have an empty adjoining room that would be a good place for kids to color, watch a portable DVD if you have one, or play with other easily portable toys you can bring.

I hope you can make it this Tuesday.

Blessings to you all,
Kathryn

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New Night for Allergy Support Group Meetings

The feedback from everyone that responded to our recent survey overwhelmingly helped us to decide to move the Support Group meetings to a new evening. The third Tuesday of every month will now be the new meeting time which goes into effect immediately.

The June meeting will now be Tuesday, June 21st. The meeting room at Saddleback Church will remain the same. Please come join us for the Orange County Parents of Kids with Food Allergies Support Group Meeting meeting on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in Room 407 at Saddleback Church at 6:30 PM. The Orange County Saddleback Church Parents of Children with Food Allergies support group is a non-medical support group designed for parents of kids who are impacted by food allergies. The group meets to provide:

  • Emotion support for one another
  • A safe place to share concerns, successes and strategies to manage your kids food allergies
  • Learning about new resources and tools
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Food Allergies Not Always Savvy and Accepting

I would like respond to a Parenting article that I just read titled “The Truth About Food Allergies.”   You can read it here.  I would definitely agree that the author is correct to highlight some of the amazing advances that are occurring in the area of food allergies.  However, it seems clear that there are definitely some areas that also expose some of the misunderstanding that exists when trying to walk in the shoes of a parent whose child has food allergies.

In one section, the author tries to convey that we are now “allergy savvy and accepting.”  I cannot speak for other parents but only can speak from my own experiences and I would say that this statement is far from the truth.   Things are better than they have been for many parents.  If you were a parent 15 years back, for instance like Linda Coss, who has written several great books on Food Allergy Recipes, you were a pioneer as a parent and flying blind if your kid suffered from food allergies.  There were no food labels indicating the existence of certain food allergens.  No studies being performed in the area of food allergies.    No Internet to quickly turn to in hopes of finding an answer.  Yes…things are better than 15 years ago and even 5 year ago.  But those of us whose kids have food allergies have true daily struggles.

Sending your child off to a public school requires a lot of prayer and faith that the Lord will be watching your kid from high above.  It is a dangerous place.  It is definitely better if your kid has peanut allergies because there has been some progress made…but peanuts are not the only life-threatening allergen.    Anaphylaxis can occur in milk, eggs, fish and other common food items.  The next time you are at school…count the number of items at any given table that contain some sort of “milk” product.  Believe me…milk exists in everything.  However, if you kid does have milk allergies…you will have a few choices as a parent.   You can choose to have them sit by themselves, away from other kids.   You can have them sit with at the “peanut-allergy” table where every kid at the table will most likely be eating something that is deadly to your child.  Or have them sit at a regular table with the other kids and have faith that your child will be safe.   These are the tough decisions that parents with kids with food allergies get to make.

Luckily we go to a school that is accepting of the food allergies….but it is still a lot of work.  It is work in the process of “understanding” and “educating”.  Educating teachers; writing letters; being involved in the school; observing your child in different conditions and environments…..and some of the things to consider.  And even in the “best” of situations, you can still run into non-accepting and even “bullying” behavior by other children if you kid has food allergies.  Our child at age 6 has already experienced this in school.  This is not what I would consider to be an “accepting” behavior.

However, there is good news.  We are so blessed to live in Orange County with access to such a great support group that meets at Saddleback Church monthly.  Meeting with other parents that share the same daily struggles has made a great deal of different in our lives.  As parents, we are extremely hopeful that are kids will grow out of their food allergies and that someday food allergies will no longer exist….but in the interim, we are going to pray daily for our children.

Going back to the article, the unfortunate situation is that the article paints too much of a picture that the “war on food allergies” has now been already won….and this is a disservice in my opinion.  Parents of food allergy children are not waking up everyday thinking of allergy cures.   They are trying to navigate their ways through the daily obstacles of dealing with food.  My wife and I are praying for an allergy cure….but the daily struggles of food allergies usually have us focused on praying to get through the day without an incident.  Let’s not forget there are a lot of possibilities for cures…but no cures as of yet.  There is a lot of research in process but a lot more research to do.  There are a lot of parents with kids with food allergies today and this rate is growing.   And with the increase in numbers, more parents (and children) that are in need of support.

The best thing we can do for our kids today is to help others understand the problem of food allergies and to live a life in which we love one another.  As Jesus Christ said in Mark 12:31, “love your neighbor as yourself.”   This means putting yourself in the shoes of others and understanding what they are going through.

 If you are a parent of a child with food allergies and live Orange County, we would love for you to come and share your experiences and gain support from our monthly support group at http://www.ocfoodallergy.com

 

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