New Blog Address

October 19, 2010

My blog has moved and has a new address.  Please follow my blog at the following address:

http://kidsallergies-goingmilkfree.blogspot.com/

Thank you for your interest!

Thanks to my friend, Tracy, for the following cookbook suggestion.  This is what she said:

Not sure if you have this already…great source for fun recipes with good suggestions for substitutions (when applicable). Because I deal with dairy and egg substitutes (never mind the nuts!) I found it very helpful. Check it out–maybe a good link for your blog too.

The Kid-Friendly Food Allergy Cookbook: More Than 150 Recipes That Are Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, and Low in Sugar

This is great, Tracy! I will definitely add this link to the blog. This is exactly what I was hoping for, new ideas to share, even if it’s not about milk specifically. Regardless of the allergy, we all share very similar experiences. This is a great suggestion. Thank you.

Allergy or Intolerance?

September 28, 2010

Does your child have an allergy or intolerance?  Over the years, I have found myself explaining this difference over and over again. It worries and frustrates me that a milk allergy is frequently mistaken for an intolerance.  Yes, many people are “lactose intolerant”.  If you are intolerant, however, you don’t have to worry about a life threatening reaction.  You might end up on the toilet rather than in need of Epinephrine and in an emergency room.

My frustrations started very early on in this process.  For instance, I remember reluctantly bringing my son to a new playgroup when he was about two years old and worrying about the cups of milk and spills and kids walking around with chocolate muffins and donuts.  I certainly was not comfortable leaving him, even though the parents I was getting to know all seemed quite nice.  One parent tried to comfort me by saying, “Well, you should be able to leave him.  I just won’t give him milk.”  Wouldn’t it be nice, if it were that simple.  Of course, anyone with a food allergy, whether it’s milk or something else, knows that even the smallest amount in any form could cause a severe, life threatening reaction.  It is not as easy to get this point across to others.  Someone actually said to me once, “What’s the worst that could happen? So he might get an upset stomach or diarrhea”.  I wish.  I truly wish our son only had to worry about an upset stomach.

What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be mild to severe, depending on how much lactase your body makes. Symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat or drink milk products. If you have lactose intolerance, your symptoms may include:

  • Bloating.
  • Pain or cramps.
  • Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly.
  • Gas.
  • Loose stools or diarrhea.
  • Throwing up.

What Are the Symptoms of a Food Allergy?

Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe, and the amount of food necessary to trigger a reaction varies from person to person. Symptoms of a food allergy may include:

  • Rash or hives
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of the airways to the lungs
  • Anaphylaxis

The lists of symptoms for lactose intolerance and food allergies comes from WebMD.com.

I have been checking my son’s back-pack and folder every day for the letter that should have gone out to the parents notifying them that there is a child in the class with a severe milk allergy.  I did get a letter regarding a child with a severe peanut allergy in my younger child’s class.  As in years past, the school agreed to do a letter for our class about our allergy issue.  Wondering why I had not received the letter yet, I decided to check with the school nurse today.  She said, I have spoken with the principal and teacher and they feel this is not necessary.

We have always sent out a letter.  Since kindergarten, this is what we have been doing.  Before giving in to the temptation to burst into tears and yell, “how dare you not follow this procedure and tell me this is not necessary”, I decide to take a step back and think about this.  They assure me that the lunch room is following the proper procedures to keep our son safe.  The teacher is informed and knows how to keep him safe in class.  The room is not “milk-free” nor have we ever requested that a room be milk-free.  However, the kids are not drinking milk and having lunch in the room.  I am not asking for the room to be milk-free.  So what is the purpose of sending out a letter?

When our son was younger, we felt a letter was necessary.  It served as a reminder for parents and the teacher to be mindful during holiday parties in the room.  Young children should not have to take on the responsibility to wonder if a volunteer parent or teacher accidentally put the wrong cookie on their plate, or if the friend sitting next to them has a cup full of chocolate milk.  Sometimes, parents would ask me for ideas for holiday treats or birthday treats that were safe to bring in.

Now, we are realizing that our son is getting older.  He knows to be aware of his surroundings and if his buddy sits down with a carton of milk, then he should move over and give them some space in between.  He certainly knows enough not to take any food without checking first to make sure it’s safe.  He definitely understands the importance of not trading food.  In addition, our son does not want a lot of attention drawn to him and to be labeled the “allergy kid”.   So maybe, the letter to the class isn’t necessary anymore.  It would have been nice, though, had the school discussed with us the change to our usual routine.   I should be happy. Things are getting easier.

Parent’s of children with life threatening allergies will always worry.  I have a feeling the age of the child will not change that. However, they do grow up and become more responsible.  Maybe it’s time I take another look at our allergy health plan and make room for adjustments.

Don’t cry over spilled milk.

September 20, 2010

Aside from accidentally ingesting milk, one of my biggest fears is that another child will spill milk on my son at school or at a birthday party or at a sleepover or anywhere for that matter.

This happened to a friend’s daughter recently.  My friend’s daughter is severely allergic to milk and someone sitting near her during lunch spilled a carton of milk.  The milk did get on the girl with the milk allergy.  She quickly told the teacher in the lunchroom that she had milk spilled onto her. However, the teacher merely said “well just go wash it off”.  There was no follow-up to visit the nurse.  No one monitored the child for an allergic reaction.  The child was left to deal with the fear of “what if”. What if I have a severe allergic reaction?  What if I need and Epi Pen and I don’t get it in time?  What if I need to go to the hospital?  What if no one knows I need help, while I am in the bathroom washing off the spilled milk?

It’s not just the nurse and the teacher that need to be aware; it’s the substitute teacher, the lunchroom attendant, the cafeteria workers and the recess monitor. The school needs to ensure that all who work or help at the school are prepared to deal with any issue or emergency that arises.   Most importantly, children need to feel safe at school and trust that they will be taken care of when there is an emergency.

Too busy to cook.

September 17, 2010

It doesn’t feel like fall yet where we live.  But the weekends are filled with sports, birthday parties and errands that remind me  fall is here.  This doesn’t leave much time to plan meals.  While trying to come up with an easy recipe for Sunday and trying to keep my promise to try new things and not go with the same old menu, I thought of the slow cooker.  A friend gave me this recipe for Tangy Pulled Pork Sandwiches.  I have made it a couple of times and remember that everyone loved it and it is so easy to make.  The recipe is filed under Milk-Free Recipes.  Enjoy!

Recently, my son broke his finger.  This would be his fourth broken finger.  Each time, I ask, is he getting enough calcium?  Would he be at less risk of breaking bones if he was not allergic to milk and could get more calcium?  Should we supplement and what is a good supplement?

At the most recent appointment with the Orthopedic Doctor, I asked these questions.  I did not get the definitive answers I was looking for and will follow-up, after reviewing with our Pediatrician and maybe even a Nutritionist.  To be fair, the purpose of this Dr. visit was to make sure the bone was healing properly and not to review his nutrition and allergies.

The Orthopedic did however mention a supplement called Viactiv.  Of course, I immediately went shopping for the supplement to learn that they come in four delicious flavors and ALL FOUR CONTAIN MILK.

This is just another reminder that the patient and the consumer must take the responsibility to read labels, do the research and not assume anything in order to keep someone with allergies safe.