Archive for November, 2005

Science stumped on food allergy trend in children

Multiple-choice question: Why are more American kids allergic to foods, particularly peanuts?

a) Their immune systems are confused by increasingly clean homes.

b) Nervous parents wait too long to feed their children peanuts.

c) We roast peanuts rather than boil them.

d) Maybe one of the above, and/or something else.

Unfortunately, the answer is “D.”

I found this artical to be extremly informative and well worth the read. One of the better ones.

Aaron

Our reply to the reply on the banning of peanuts in schools

Hi Rachael,

Thankyou for your response.

Actually, my son does not have to consume dairy
products for a reaction to occur.

One drop from a drink onto his skin or a chair
or swing that he touches is enough. Hands that
have held a sausage roll, or a sandwich with
butter…… these are no less lethal than traces
of peanut butter on a slide, yet that is all we
ever hear about.

If you are anaphylactic, you are anaphylactic.

We always have trouble trying to convince parents
with peanut anaphylactic children that we have
exactly the same life-style concerns as themselves,
just because the allergen of concern is dairy.
It is definately an uphill battle for all
the other allergens.

Sincerely,
Melanie

Reply email from mother that wants peanuts banned from schools

Hi Melanie

I thankyou for your comments, but would like to say that my son also has
allergies to eggs/white fish and other products, all of which are life
threatening if eaten.

Unfortunatley I cannot have them banned – but I have done much research,
allergies to nuts and nut products are at a higher rate than other
products and most deadly to children.

If many schools in the ACT and NSW have a proven successful track record
with the banning of nuts, then we can do the same – then many innocent
little lives may be spared by banning them from schools.

I too am a member of the Anaphylactic Society – but to me if you say
lets not bother with a total ban, then this still encourages parents to
put peanut butter on their childs sandwhiches and include nut products
in their lunch boxes.

I believe the push for a ban ongoing training and awareness will aid in
the prevention of further deaths.

I have also spoken with many parents because of this article, many
children with a nut allergy only need to sit next to a child eating a
peanut butter sandwhich to induce an attack, I would ask of you? Does
an anaphylatic reaction occur in your child, when sitting next to
another eating a cake containing eggs?

Regards
Rachael

Our email to the mother that wants to get peanuts banned in schools

Hi Rachael,

I am writing to comment on the article printed in the Sunday Mail 20/11/05.

Firstly I would like to say that I empathise with you, having a child
with anaphylaxis myself. I am sure we would all agree that the health
and safety of our children is paramount, whether they have anaphylaxis
or not. The primative instinct of protection is the primary focus for
all parents, and I applaude your attempts to protect the safety of your
child.

As you would know, anaphylaxis is a severe and life threatening reaction
to an ‘foreign’ body that the immune systen mistakenly believes to be a
threat. This could be anything, not just nuts as stated in the article –
I am sure you were misquoted there.

My 5 year old son is dairy and egg anaphylactic, and to a lesser extent
allergic to peanuts and a wide variety of other foodstuffs. His life is
no more or no less important than those people with pea/nut anaphylaxis.
How can there be legislation to protect the pea/nut allergic and nothing
for the thousands who could die from coming into contact with the
endless other things that their bodies may react to? You can’t legislate
against everything. Yes, it is unfair. Yes, our lives are more
complicated than others. Yes, we have so much to worry about every
minute of every day, I would never pretend there is no difficulty living
with food-induced anaphylaxis.

It would be quite discriminatory for schools to choose who they will
protect and who they will cross their fingers for, based on what kids
are allergic to. Just like you, we have to deal with the fact our boy
may die if he comes into contact with any foods or drinks containing the
offending allergen, but can you imagine a school banning every dairy or
egg product from their grounds? This certainly wasn’t offered by our
school for next year when we were interviewing them. If you think it
possible, please tell us how. We wanted to change the world but have
realised our job is to prepare our son to live in the world as we know it.

At the Kindy/Preschool where our son has attended for the last two
years, no food bans were in place, and never did we ask for any. There
was, however, excellent teacher/parent communication, extensive teacher
training, student training, and management strategies to reduce the risk
of exposure. We are grateful to proclaim that there have been no
incidences in the two years, even with almost every child having butter,
yoghurt, cheese dips, milk and peanut butter on a daily basis. With 2
weeks to go though, we still hold our breath everytime the phone rings
on those 3 preschool days. But that is the life we live. We deal with it
the best way we can.

The best skills we can teach our son is the ability to look out for
himself, have excellent judgement, good communication and an
understanding of his life-long condition, because he will have it for
life, not just during school hours. The world is filled with nuts,
dairy, eggs, fruit, bees…….. before school, after school, at parks,
beaches, shopping centres, parties, sleepovers etc. It can’t be
eliminated, but we can teach our children to live with what they have
been dealt. It is not up to the government, schools or anyone else. At
the end of the day you can’t trust anyone to do their job properly but
yourself. Legalised accountability can never ensure the safety of our
children. Educating our loved ones can.

The anaphylaxis support group, Anaphylaxis Australia do not advocate
banning foods from school. They recognise that people can forget about
the ban, blatantly defy the ban or genuinely not realise the food/drink
contains the allergen. Teachers and admin can hide behind a false sense
of comfort thinking that noone has the banned product at school, and not
actively look for any signs of a reaction, as there ‘shouldn’t’ be any
allergen at school. I know this happens, as it has happened to an
aquaintance of mine, and at the preschool of a friend. So, I do urge
you, if your school of choice does ban peanuts, that they be constantly
reminded to be on the lookout for possible reactions, as there are never
any guarantees.

I do commend you for getting the difficulties of raising children with
anaphylaxis out to the masses, and the problems our kids face on a daily
basis. Thank you.

I do want to wish you a very safe and happy Christmas. I hope it is an
enjoyable time for you all, as stress-free and as trouble-free as possible!

Sincerely,
Melanie

Mother calls for ban on Peanuts

The following is an article that was printed in our local Australian – Queensland publication – The Sunday Mail on 20 Nov 2005 by Jeessica Lawrence.

This got my wifes back up so much that she emailed the mother (whom we left her email address out) to express our views on the topic. I’ll add it to the blog shortly.

A letter to the editor was also sent but no response from The Sunday Mail has been forthcoming as yet. I’ll keep you all posted.

Aaron

A Brisbane mother whose son could die if exposed to peanuts wants them banned from schools.

Rachael Munro said children who had anaphylaxis – potentially fatal allergic reaction to nuts – were at risk of dying within minutes if exposed to even a minute amount.

Ms Munro, whose son Jordan, 3, has an acute allergy, said teachers and staff needed training to save a child who asphyxiated.

Jordan must carry an Epi-pen on him at all times. It must be stabbed into his leg if he shows signs of swelling or asphyxiation.

“If teachers or staff can’t find that pen within five minutes he would die” said Ms Munro, from Wishart.

Peanut allergy has become one of the fastest growing allergic afflictions in Australia, with one in 100 people at risk – double the rate 10 years ago.

Several Queensland schools, including Holand Park State in Brisbane, already have banned them from canteens and ask parents not to include nuts or peanut butter in lunch boxes.

“Parents have been very understanding. We’ve had 100 percent support”, principle Tony Gribbin said.

More than 200 people signed a petition started by Ms Munro (munrocreative@bsccp.com) and she plans to take her campain to Premier Peter Beattie.

Medical Advisory Board for Anaphylaxis Australia chairman Dr John Ruhno said a shift toward roasting peanuts was thought to be responsible for the rise in allergies because it increase the amount of allergen.

But he stopped short for calling for nuts to be banned from schools.

“A voluntary ban would be a good thing but as soon as you start legislating you need to have the peanut police,” he said.

“We need to have a progam in place to actually teach the teachers to regonise what anaphylaxis is and to use adrenalin.”

A spokesman for Education Queensland said schools managed students with allergies on an individual basis, on the advice of the student’s doctor.

The spokesman said medical experts had not recommended a blanket ban.