Canadian allergy sufferers are currently breathing sighs of relief because, yay, pollen season is over. But as soon as those spring/summer/fall allergy symptoms disappear, we're all still sniffling and clearing our throats. I spend most of September through, oh, August, with a stuffy nose and I'm pretty sure I'm not that sickly. So what's up with that? Most likely environmental allergies.
I know there are plenty of you out there who think we should just keep my allergic kid inside this Halloween. I know it would save you the hassle of once again having to think of someone else, but here's the thing: we love Halloween and so do our kids. They love trick-or-treating, and they love gorging themselves on the bounty of sugar when they get home from their neighbourhood walk. It's a childhood rite of passage, and nope, we don't keep our anaphylactic boy at home in a protective bubble.
I went to buy school shoes for my kids today, and guess what? Apparently I've nearly missed the boat, because they were out of stock on almost every pair my kids liked. And why is that? It's because other parents out there were way more prepared than I.
Here's my organizational contribution: this amazing list of lunch ideas I've compiled! I'm so prepared, I've got ideas to last... I don't even know how long. A long time, though.
Forgive me the backstory on this one, but you'll need it to understand how we got to this point in our food allergy journey. My son is turning seven this year, and has had food allergies his entire life. He used to react to allergens through breastmilk, even though multiple doctors told me I was mistaken. Allergies were confirmed by his reactions, and then by skin tests at nine months of age. At 14 months, he had a serious reaction to tilapia and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
By now, you may have heard about the Saskatchewan teen fired from her job after having an allergic reaction. I sat on the news for awhile, because, well, something doesn't sit right with me, you know? Ever the critic, I wasn't sure that the timing of her firing was just really bad (and had little to do with her reaction), and I wondered why anyone with allergies as severe as she alleges would ever leave home without an EpiPen.
Those with food allergies know to always, always read the labels. Always ask, even at regular restaurants, if ingredients have changed. Always read the allergen list. We double- and triple-check for allergens. This is why when Lisa Macpherson ate the same seafood salad she's eaten countless times before at a Milestone's restaurant she didn't expect to discover peanuts in the new dressing. Posted on Facebook, Macpherson reached out to friends to see what her course of action could be.
In 2012, Micheline Ducre's daughter died of anaphylaxis after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanuts earlier in the night. Myriam Ducre-Lemay's boyfriend was unaware of the allergy, and wasn't able to save his girlfriend once she had difficulty breathing.
Relationships have been on my mind a lot in the last couple years. Work ones, personal ones, old ones and new ones — it takes finesse to manage all the relationships we have in our lives, and often I think we don't appreciate just how much work that really is.
A British restaurateur has been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, and charged with six food food safety offenses, resulting in six years' imprisonment. It's a decision that could set precedence in the food industry worldwide, placing more responsibility on restaurant owners and staff to ensure safety of ingredients. Mohammed Zaman was found guilty in part due to his wholly careless attitude toward food safety.
Every year, FARE works hard to help the general public understand the severity of food allergies through Food Allergy Awareness week. As a parent to an allergic kid, this is my life every day, every week, every year. It's exhausting trying to explain why my son can't eat a cupcake, even though it doesn't specifically contain nuts.
When we think about spring allergies, we're usually thinking about all the pollens being released outside, and the cleaning up of last year's dead shrubbery (and all the moulds that come with that). But for those with seasonal allergies, spring is a particularly rough time for a few other reasons you may not have thought about. When your immune system is already compromised, any stress on it can worsen allergic symptoms, so here are some of the stranger culprits you may not know about:
I suffered a miscarriage at 19.5 weeks gestation. I remember the nurses hustling around me discussing my "fetus," and the ultrasound technician talking about the "fetus." It seems absurd to classify my baby as a fetus, to not be able to "technically" say I had a stillbirth despite labouring and delivering my baby. At 19.5 weeks, a baby is around 14cm (almost 6") long. Look at your hand.