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Food allergies?
Old 11-11-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
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Food allergies?

Since many of you are perhaps a few years older than I am, I am curious if any of your children had food allergies that they did NOT outgrow and how they are doing. My daughter is allergic to wheat/barley/rye, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and sesame. She may outgrow egg, but the rest seem here to stay for good. She is almost 4 and the doctor says we'll know better by age 6, but it's not looking too good.

No one really knows why food allergies are increasing so rapidly, but I'm curious as to what life is like for older kids with these issues. My dad is allergic to some tree nuts, but he is not anaphylactic and does not carry an epi-pen (althougth I think he should). He's never been really inconvenience, but he does not truly avoid either (cross-contamination does not bother him and he still eats almonds, peanuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts, which have always been safe for him.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:17 PM   #2
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I'm certainly not a doctor, and have no facts behind this. But I swear I think these allergies are increasing because kids aren't being exposed to the various foods anymore. I think we could solve most of the peanut allergy issues just by feeding kids those nasty old peanut butter crackers out of the vending machines like I ate as a kid.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:34 AM   #3
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I found out in my 40s that I have celiac disease, a reaction to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, oaks and barley. Treatment is to avoid any foods made or derived from those grains.

It's not that bad. But I sure do miss pizza, lasagna and beer.

However, if at age 59 that's my worst health problem I'll consider myself fortunate.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:54 AM   #4
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My DD has a severe allergy to peanuts. We carry an epi-pen at all times (at least I do, DW is less vigilent). DD has some slight allergies to some tree nuts, too.

I think I read that 40% of peanut allergies are out grown. I hope DD is one of those, but only time will tell.

There are some promising treatments for peanut allergies, but they say they won't be available for a while. I hope they hurry up!
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:16 AM   #5
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I wish my sister were still alive to update you guys on the progress being made here. I will suggest a resource, the organization she co-founded:

www.farrp.org

As far as more kids being diagnosed, my sister told me it was more due to better testing methods and knowing more about it. Kind of like back in the day, folks would just die unexpectedly, and noone would know why. They always said it was "natural causes". Turns out a LOT of those folks have undiagnosed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, enlarged hearts, etc. The testing and treatment is simply better.

There was a recent in-depth study about peanut allergies. They gave the test subjects small amounts of peanuts over a long period of time, and eventually thewy overcame the allergy.

It is still a challenge, and there's a lot of work to do.
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirion View Post
Since many of you are perhaps a few years older than I am, I am curious if any of your children had food allergies that they did NOT outgrow and how they are doing. My daughter is allergic to wheat/barley/rye, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and sesame. She may outgrow egg, but the rest seem here to stay for good. She is almost 4 and the doctor says we'll know better by age 6, but it's not looking too good.

No one really knows why food allergies are increasing so rapidly, but I'm curious as to what life is like for older kids with these issues. My dad is allergic to some tree nuts, but he is not anaphylactic and does not carry an epi-pen (althougth I think he should). He's never been really inconvenience, but he does not truly avoid either (cross-contamination does not bother him and he still eats almonds, peanuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts, which have always been safe for him.
Sirion, good luck. Life is tougher for the kids and the parents. Issues you both may be facing as you daughter grows:

- Visiting playmates homes whose parents think "it's no big deal"
- Food served or brought by others at school
- Peanuts served in places with poor circulation (like airplanes)
- Packaged / convenience foods, which depend on many of the ingredients you list.


You will need to monitor carefully the allergies to see if they become life-threatening. You will also need to teach your daughter to not touch any food not prepared by you (this is hard - be nice, make friends, but don't trust the food). You will find other kids in her school with similar problems. This is a growing issue - there must be a support group in your area. Most importantly, you need an allergist that can help you monitor and track this.

Lots of bogus alternative treatments out there.

On the brighter side, some supermarket chains - Whole Foods stands out here - are quite reliable, very careful with ingredients, and offer many food alternatives. Some restaurants, especially large national chains, are now quite reliable for people with allergies. Alternative cook books as well. Resources abound.

The key things - allergist, supermarket, cook book, teaching your daughter a skill that will allow her (and you) to live a normal life.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by harley View Post
I'm certainly not a doctor, and have no facts behind this. But I swear I think these allergies are increasing because kids aren't being exposed to the various foods anymore. I think we could solve most of the peanut allergy issues just by feeding kids those nasty old peanut butter crackers out of the vending machines like I ate as a kid.
Remind me never to leave my daughter with you!

Anyway, thanks for the replies/advice/support. She is a very normal, healthy kid, and her allergies do not impact us in any negative way. We cook more at home and eat more fresh food, but we have a hard time believing that it's any kind of trial that she can't eat at McDonald's. We work with Dr. Wood at Johns Hopkins, who is one of the most well-respected allergists in the country. He does cutting edge research on food allergies and treats patients, too. He is heavily involved with the research demonstrating that small amounts over time can lead to tolerance. We feed our daughter baked egg every few days since that is all she can tolerate, in hopes that she will completely outgrow her egg allergy someday. However, he has discovered that you can feed a child with milk allergy the same (tiny) dose of milk to a child every day for 30 days with no issues, and then they have anaphyaxis on the 31st day. Allergies are unpredictable and scary!

She knows not to accept food unless an adult she trusts tells her it is safe. The real danger comes when she is just getting out on her own, say age 9-12. At that age, she may be too socially awkward to refuse food from, say a friend's mom, or too cool to carry her epi-pen. So it is our job to teach her that it is important that she tell people about her food allergies so she can stay safe. She is a very "together" kid so I hope she'll be able to navigate this age without serious incident.

I don't think she realizes that most people don't use 3-4 kinds of flour (rice, tapioca, potato, oat, etc.) to make muffins! She just knows that's the way we make the muffins for her. She is heavily involved in the food prep and is not suffering in any way. It's played into our decision to have only one kid so that we won't have to deal with two kids with two sets of allergies, or a kid with horrible asthma (the two conditions are linked). I know plenty of adults manage celiac disease well, but I was just hoping to maybe hear from a parent of a teenage kid or two.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:46 PM   #8
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Truly, didn't mean to minimize the issue. My DD has asthma, and I personally know two kids who died from it when she was still a child. Very scary. Also SIL has celiacs, so I know what's involved there.

I think Finance Dude's points about allergies being better diagnosed and past deaths being of unknown causes are probably on the nose.

If peanuts are the issue they seem to be (people dying from being in the room with them), I wonder why people aren't agitating to outlaw their sale? There are many far less dangerous things that are against the law. Of course that would just create a huge black market. I'd hate to go to prison and have a huge biker dude ask me what I'm in for and have to answer "intent to distribute peanut butter. But it was all for personal use, I swear!"
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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Thanks, harley--I appreciate that you don't think I'm a whacko who just didn't feed my kid the "right" things!

Well, I think the real issue is that peanuts aren't the only, or even the worst, culprit. Actually, I believe Dr. Wood said that cashews are the most deadly nut right now in America. Then, you have to factor is that other cultures have different types of food allergies--e.g., I believe rice allergy is much more prevalent in Asian cultures while wheat allergy is practically unknown there. So, eliminating one food, i.e., peanuts, isn't really the answer. The answer lies somewhere between good manufacturing practices and good labelling procedures together with an overall cultural awareness that this isn't "going away" any time soon and that parents of kids with food allergies aren't crazy and overprotective. Dr. Wood does believe that there will be more effective treatments for allergies (mostly by sub-lingual does of the allergen) maybe sometime in the next 20-30 years. They have "cured" some folks of peanut and milk allergy. However, after the kid in the peanut study at Duke died about a decade ago, the research got shut down pretty tightly. They've found that injections (like for environmental stuff) are dangerous and that oral administrations is much safer. The questions are who will be likely to be cured, and how much to administer.

We are very lucky that our daughter hasn't had any serious reactions ever.
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