Weekend Pick: “What Does an Allergy Attack Look Like?”

Weekend Pick:

Allergy

“What Does an Allergic Reaction Look Like?”

Read and Learn

 

Allergy Awareness

It seems that every month marks a cause and May is no different. It is dedicated as  Allergy Awareness Month. At our house we are acutely aware of food allergies because our granddaughter is peanut and tree nut allergic. She also has asthma. We found this out before she was two years old and it was all new to us.

My niece has a teenage son who has many food allergies so I looked to her first. What I found out was how difficult it was to impress upon other adults the supreme seriousness of anaphylactic reactions to foods like nuts, eggs, milk. In minutes a child can be dead from ingesting or even touching an allergen.

What I have found over the years is that stories from other parents of kids who have had anaphylactic reactions sometimes have an effect on people that statistics, and medical information just does not. Parents sharing their anguish as they recount watching their child experience cardiac arrest after eating or touching a peanut makes people listen.

Just as Jimmy Kimmel’s tearful story about his newborn son’s cardiac anomaly and emergency heart surgery affected millions of viewers, we need more stories from food allergy parents to help with awareness of this disability.

This week I read Julia Ryan’s story about her son Tagg. It left me with chills! She mentions Oakley Debbs in her story. I too think of Oakley, who died this past Thanksgiving and whose parents have founded RedSneakers.org in his memory.

Julia Ryan and Merrill Debbs have different stories but both women have shared theirs in order to prevent others from suffering as they have.

Please support Food Allergy Awareness in any way you can .

You may save a life!

 

“Make sure you’re sharing from your scars, not your open wounds.” I need to talk about the two times in less than two weeks my son was transferred by ambulance-a Critical Care Transfer Unit-from one emergency room to second larger hospital and admitted to the ICU.  I know this could have been written better but sometimes done is better than none.

Source: Julia Ryan: What does an allergy attack look like.

Pets Improving Your Health

Pets Can Improve Your Health

Pets Improve Your Health

Having a pet is more than just having someone to come home to. This is another member of your family, who will love you unconditionally. It doesn’t really matter what type of animal you keep as a pet, you have someone who relies on you and just wants the best bond with you.

Source: All You Need to Know About Pets Improving Your Health

I love dogs! They truly are best friends that never deny you their support and friendship by being too busy or too tired.

When I moved to NYC my mom bought me a puppy from a pet store on in  NY. He was a Lhasa Apso, a small white mop with a tongue that hung out the side of his mouth due to an orthodonture problem. Immediately, he stole my family’s heart.

Fortunately, Tam adapted well to the streets of Manhattan walking off the sidewalk into the street to do his business. He loved his walks, smelling everything along the sidewalk and paying no attention to all the noises and other city dogs.

Since Tam left us many years ago, we have always had a dog in our house for the last 40 years. Pets have been essential to each of us, keeping us company on all occasions. At times, we have had three dogs in our midst. Each dog had a completely different personality and needs. Sometimes there was sibling rivalry between them as well.

Pets keep you on a timetable, as they need to eat on a schedule and do their business on schedule too. If they love walks outside you get a little exercise as well.

When you don’t feel well or are having a bad day, your dog or cat will sense that you may need a furry friend to cozy up to you.

I will always have a dog!

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend optimist.

Looking for a Rainbow…the Weekend Optimist!

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

As a clinical social worker, I am frequently made aware of the seriousness that surrounds a child when he or she is made a confidante by one or both of his parents. This occurs when the child is treated more like a friend than a child, who is need of guidance himself.

Parents are at risk for doing this when their children are used as a sounding board because of close proximity during times of strife and stress whether it be work or family stressors.

Our children are not our friends. They should not be exposed to all of our adult worries and problems. Children do not have the life experience to deal with their own problems much less the struggles of the adults they are supposed to rely upon to be their confidantes and supporters.

When this happens to children it is called “parentifying”. This occurs when your child feels like your parent because you are sharing your difficulties.

Never underestimate your children. They empathize and take on your feelings of frustration and anger. They repeat your words from the time they are toddlers when they have no idea what the words even mean. Funny thing is, they continue not to understand our words when we parentify them as they do not have the emotional constructs to handle our adult problems.

But according to psychologists, continuously confiding in your child can be damaging to their long-term emotional well-being. And while an isolated incident of rehashing a bad day at work won’t cause harm, regularly discussing adult problems the way you would with a peer, forces children into inappropriate parenting roles similar to that of proxy therapists or surrogate spouses.

Source: Your child is not your confidant – The Washington Post

Then, there are families characterized by having “boundary problems.” Human organizations and relationships have clearly set boundaries in which certain role expectations are assigned and fulfilled by appropriate people. For instance, it is for adults to work and earn a sufficient living to provide safety and security while children are growing up and attending school. This also allows kids to play and enjoy childhood so that they can go through healthy development and become normal adults who are ready to fulfill their roles when the time comes.

Source: Family Boundaries and the Parentified Child

The weekend is in front of us. I don’t know about you but there just are not enough hours in our time off to do all the things that are on our plates especially when the weather does not cooperate.

Here in Chicago we are looking at a weekend full of Spring rain that of course is necessary but it is not a welcome sight especially after a very dreary winter and a house full of people with a case of severe “cabin fever”.

What are you doing this Weekend?

Parenting in the Loop Weekend News: March is Trisomy Awareness Month

Weekend News : March is Trisomy Awareness Month

Weekend News Healthy Baby

All moms-to-be want to deliver a healthy baby.

From the time a woman learns that she is pregnant it becomes important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle so that the growing embryo and fetus has the best chance of developing normally.

Trisomy is determined early in pregnancy when there are three chromosomes in every cell rather than the normal two.

Chromosomes are the structures in cells that contain genes. Each person normally has 23 pairs of chromosomes, or 46 in all. An individual inherits one chromosome from the mother’s egg and one from the father’s sperm. When an egg and sperm join together, they normally form a fertilized egg with 46 chromosomes.

Sometimes a mistake in cell division occurs before a woman gets pregnant. A developing egg or sperm ends up with an extra chromosome. When this cell joins with a normal egg or sperm cell, the resulting embryo has 47 chromosomes instead of 46.

March is Trisomy Awareness Month. Many of us know someone affected by trisomy. All cases of trisomy  are unique as is each affected individual.

Several developmental problems are associated with trisomy

Over the last 10 years there has been much research by the March of Dimes which has given us more information about this chromosomal disorder and the associated abnormalities.

I know the weekend is sometimes as busy as our work week. The last month or so has been full of news that for some of us has been upsetting. I find that reading and keeping myself knowledgeable about topics reduces my anxiety especially it it is a worrisome issue.

As I write this, we are faced with many organizations possibly losing funding to do the research that will give us the ability to live a life that is the healthiest possible.

If you read this article and the link below from the March of Dimes over the weekend perhaps you will give thought to supporting this deserving organization.

If you don’t remember polio it is because when I was a child a vaccine was developed to prevent it…the March of Dimes was supportive of the research that ended this deadly disease.

I hope you all enjoy this almost Spring weekend.

Source: News Moms Need » Blog Archive » March is Trisomy Awareness Month

Good enough is OK …It Really Is!

Good Enough is OK…It Really Is!

How many times have you told your child, “It’s OK to be OK”? Not great, not good, but … passable.

Not that often, I bet. If one extreme of parenting is automatic validation — the participant trophies and everyone’s-a-winner mentality — then the other is conditional approval, the idea that nothing is worth doing unless you can be the best at it.

Between these poles is Amy Krouse Rosenthal, whose valuable message of tolerance and experimentation runs through her inspiring body of children’s literature — a list that includes one of my favorites, “The OK Book.”

via “It’s Ok to Be Ok”

This week author Amy Krouse Rosenthal died of ovarian cancer, she was 51 years old. It is a very sad loss for all of us especially children, she was a prolific writer of books with profound messages for both parents and kids.

I especially like “The Ok Book”. Good enough is OK just like the “good enough mother which was made popular by the family theorist Donald Winnicott.

“very subtle things that the mother knows intuitively and without any intellectual appreciation of what is happening, and which she can only arrive at by being left alone and given full responsibility…” (Winnicott1988, p64).

Amy had an understanding of children and wrote in a way that was kind, gentle and inspiring to the reader. She reminded parents that there is joy in trying something for the first time even if you aren’t very good at it. After all if you don’t encourage your child to do new things because they might not like it or might not be good at it think of all the missed opportunities. Good enough is ok is the key to trying when perhaps you don’t really want to do so.

We cannot like everything but wow how fortunate to have new things all around us to try.

Amy thought that life was meant to “Figure it out as you go,” Rosenthal said in a 2010 speech. “If it were imperative to have all the answers before beginning, no one would start anything.” Drop a pancake, fall out of a handstand, slip off the sled. “It’s okay to not have it all worked out.”

Clearly, it all did not work out for Amy to have a long life and see her own kids grow into adulthood. There are no words for her family’s grief and loss. My heart is heavy for them. I can only hope that Amy’s prophetic words “figure it out as you go” holds them up as they move forward.

Good enough is ok

Good enough is ok!

Really

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Food allergies invaded our family about 8 years ago with my granddaughter breaking out in whole body hives. It was a very scary and life changing experience for her and for us.

Learning about food allergies is essential and it is an ongoing routine which includes scrutinizing food labels and monitoring your child’s environment on a daily basis

There have been milestones in my granddaughter’s awareness and self advocacy over the years.

Recently, I came across this wonderful summary and timeline of skills that can be life saving for your child with food allergies.

Weekends are a time when kids are out and about with families and friends…it is a break from work and school but not a break from allergies to food.

Even if you are not affected by these allergies yourself it might be helpful if you knew more about them so you could assist if a child or an adult around you has an allergic reaction.

Weekend reading from spokinGrowing up with food allergies takes baby steps. Spokin has compiled 36 milestones for your food allergic child to help track your progress and theirs.

Source: 36 Skills To Teach Your Food Allergic Child — SPOKIN

Happy Weekend!

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

 

Weekend KindnessA Few Quotes of Kindness:

 

  • “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” (Mark Twain)
  • “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” (Aesop)
  • “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” (Scott Adams)
  • “Kind words and actions can seem so small, but their effects are truly endless.” (Author Unknown)

Source: NATIONAL RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS DAY – February 17 | National Day Calendar

Today is National Random Acts of Kindness Day and I am returning to my blog after a long hiatus…self imposed.

Kindness is something that when we experience it makes us feel surprised and happy. In some ways, it may just make our day or even our weekend. Think about when you have had someone, friend or stranger go out of their way to do something nice for you. Try to capture that feeling. Now imagine passing that feeling on to someone else.

My wish is that we carry this kindness forward and try to do something kind no matter how small each and every day.

I hope that this weekend is a good one. Here in the Chicago area we are getting an early taste of Spring! Nature’s random act of kindness.

Another story I would like to share is one of kindness built into the job of a New York baker, who works at God’s Love We Deliver.

Wow! If we could only look at our work this way no matter what it is we do.

It is tempting to say Mr. Piekarski is the man who has baked a million cakes, but that figure is a fraction of the sweets he has baked and sent on their way. For almost 26 years, Mr. Piekarski has been the pastry chef for God’s Love We Deliver, a charity that prepares meals for people who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves — 19 million meals so far.

 

Source: 9 Million Desserts, for Gabriel, Michael, Alessandra and More – The New York Times

Happy Weekend!

Weekend Pick “Red Sneakers For Oakley”

Weekend Pick “Red Sneakers for Oakley”

Weekend pick- Red Sneakers for Oakley

Would you wear your red sneakers this weekend?

It would help to honor the life of young Oakley Debbs, who died of anaphylaxis in November while on vacation with his family. Read about Oakley and his red sneakers at Redsneaker.org and follow Red Sneakers on Facebook and Instagram to support the nut allergy awareness initiative started by his parents.

The Restaurant Nut Allergy Awareness Initiative Join the restaurants nationwide who are bringing awareness to food allergies by marking items on their menus with the Red Sneakers for Oakley logo which is becoming the symbol for “Food Allergy Awareness”. We have provided the files below so that your menu designer can integrate the symbols into the menu. Also we ask that you place the logo which contains the statement this food may contain nuts somewhere on the menu so people understand what the Red Sneaker symbol is for.

Source: Red Sneakers For Oakley

My pick for this weekend focuses on food allergies. Since I read about Oakley’s death over the Thanksgiving holiday, I have been supporting his grieving family’s efforts in Food Allergy Awareness along with many others on social media.

It is so very important to understand all you can about food allergies and anaphylaxis that can tragically snuff out a life in a matter of minutes. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a food allergy reaction and having a plan of action is mandatory. Having an Epi-Pen and using it can be lifesaving!

Safely eating foods at home and at restaurants is not as simple as it should be. Anything that makes it easier and safer should be welcomed.

I love the Restaurant Nut Allergy Awareness Initiative that has been initiated by RedSneaker.org and I urge you to support it any way you are able.

You may just save a life.

My heart goes out to the Debbs family on the loss of their beloved Oakley. I would encourage you to wear #redsneakersforoakley this weekend!

 

Tips for Flying with Food Allergies

Food Allergies and Flying

food allergies

 

Tis the season when many families with be traveling with their kids and the hell associated with food allergies and travel.

There are some things you can do to ease the anxiety of this serious situation.

Flying is particularly problematic so I have included a link here from Allergic Living that compares airlines and their approaches to fliers who are allergic to certain foods like peanuts and tree nuts.

If you haven’t flown with your food-allergic child yet, hold on tight to these recommendations and know you’ll be okay! Book with the right airline. If you haven’t booked your  tickets yet, take a moment to review this comprehensive chart from Allergic Living magazine, which shares an in-depth report on the policies 11 major airlines have for working with food allergies. Follow the guidelines of your airline’s policy to get the most accommodation for your flight.

Source: Tips for Flying with Food Allergies

Safe travels everyone!

Food Allergies: Family Urges Food Allergy Education

Food Allergies: Family Urges Food Allergy Education

red-sneakers-for-oakley

#livlikeoaks

It has been a long week catching up after Thanksgiving and moving on to preparing for Christmas.

As many of you know we have a grandchild that has food allergies, specifically to peanuts and tree nuts. Along the way since her diagnosis we have made many friends who understand the severity of such an allergy but of course there are those times when misunderstanding of anaphylaxis can make all of us involved in the safety of our grandchild frustrated and angry.

I would like to share the story of Oakley Debbs, a young 11year old boy who died over his Thanksgiving celebration with his family after he accidentally ate a piece of a holiday gifted coffee cake at a relatives’ house. His is a story that his parents want all of us to remember by wearing red sneakers on December 10th. That is the day of his funeral and celebration of his short life as a twin of his sister Olivia.

Managing food allergies is no easy matter and it demands constant vigilance which includes carrying epi-pens at all times and closely reading and understanding food labels. Eating out can be a nightmare which adds a huge dimension to traveling.

I am concerned with managing a safe environment for children and education is obligatory. The learning curve can for food allergies can be steep and tedious but there are many support groups and great information available. I cannot emphasize consulting with a pediatric allergist if at all possible and making an action plan that is adhered to all the time.

oakley_a4c3d9d87c128f1111fbcf112c9a998b.today-inline-large-1 Food Allergies

Merrill Debbs is convinced that her son, Oakley, might still be alive if she’d known more about food allergies and how fatal reactions can come on slowly and insidiously. The boy, who had asthma and had tested positive for a mild peanut and tree nut allergy, died after consuming a piece of pound cake the day before Thanksgiving. Oakley thought it was safe to eat, but there was a walnut inside and he’d already swallowed it before realizing what happened.

Source: After 11-year-old boy’s sudden death, mom warns about nut allergies – TODAY.com

 

Red Sneakers Foundation – raising awareness of the danger of asthma & nut allergies, educational programs, research & public policy initiatives.

Source: Red Sneakers Foundation

 

As they prepare for a big memorial tribute to Oakley on Dec. 10, Merrill and Robert Debbs spoke to Allergic Living about their loss, their concerns about vital information they never got at the allergist’s office, and their resolve to raise anaphylaxis advocacy through their new Red Sneakers awareness campaign. (Red was Oakley’s favorite shoe color.) “Whatever we can do to help people protect children who have these food allergies – labeling, education to protect these children so it never happens again,” says Robert of the couple’s decision to start a campaign and website while still coming to grips with their son’s death. Both parents now think they were far more informed about asthma than they were about the management of food allergies and risks of anaphylaxis.

Source: After Son’s Nut Allergy Tragedy, Family Urges Food Allergy Education | Allergic Living

For more information and Food Allergy Education and Research (FARE) :https://www.foodallergy.org/#menu