Warning - here begins my rambling:
On the mind today after conversations with several good friends, some of the less obvious culprits for tree nut allergens are:
- Croutons - no idea why, but these are REALLY hard to find that don't say "processed in a facility with"...
- Corn chips (tortilla chips) - a few brands we can't use
- Pretzels - this one seemed odd to me but some of them used shared equipment
- Cereal Bars - most brands also make granola bars and most granola contains nuts we can't have
- salad dressings!
- breads - the fancier the bread, the more likely they make a nutty bread variety on the same equipment. The cheap breads tend to be fine but we always double check the labels (and double check each other).
Essentially, if it has a label, READ IT. If it doesn't have a label and you didn't make it or it didn't grow that way, DON'T EAT IT. Ask those awkward questions (politely!) of the waiter about what's in the dessert crust (get the chef), or the restaurant owner, or your friends. Be kind, but ask. If you aren't sure, leave something off your kid's plate. That trip to the ER is not worth letting them have a bite of that cookie they are begging for. Go get the safe ones out of the car.
Some favorite brands that are safe for P:
- Walgreens granola choc chip bars for emergency kid food - these are processed with peanuts and almonds, but we can have both of those
- Enjoy Life Foods - (ELF) - their soft cookies are the best top 8 allergen free cookies I've ever tasted. We particularly like the snickerdoodles. They don't taste like the snickerdoodles I grew up with, but they are delicious.
- Enjoy Life Foods - bars - hard to find - but so far yummy. The cherry cobbler bars were a hit for the race last weekend with the little man. I'm not a fan of lots of processed foods but sometimes it's nice to have something that can go in the stroller for emergency snacks other than squeeze applesauce!
- Lucy's cookies - major allergen free - can get in small snack packs of 3 cookies. I keep these in the car for restaurant dilemmas (if he can't have ANY of the desserts), or if everyone else can have something that he can't. (This recently happened at Moe's after a playdate in the park, every other kid is eating a cookie and he couldn't have any of the three options). Up until now he'd just take a lollipop but he's finally starting to care about being different. So yay for Lucy's cookies or tiny oreo packs. (ELF cookies taste better but don't have small packs). You can get 18 of the Lucy's 3-packs on amazon for a good deal if you keep an eye on the price. (variety pack) That will last us a VERY long time.
Other random things - I'm getting coupons and emails from all sorts of allergy things lately. FARE (the food allergy website) sends out newsletters. The one today had links to medic alert bracelets. We have an engraved medical ID, but so far I haven't seen the need to pay for a monthly service for this. Mabel's labels has some cool allergy alert stickers that they print your specific info onto. (good for short term things like the preschool at church). I still tell them every single time we drop him off and write it on his nametag on his back to make sure they don't give him food outside of the stuff they show us before we leave. (usually goldfish and apple juice).
Little by little P seems to finally be grasping that this allergy thing means something. This is real progress from six months ago. He's talking to friends at preschool about it, and he can now (finally!) tell you that he's allergic to walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. (He used to pick something at random and tell you he was allergic to bananas.... (he's not!)) And, (hooray!), you can more or less understand him. (Yay speech therapy!) I'll take it. He's recently decided that his allergy bracelet is indeed a bracelet with his info on it and not a watch. (He has been very determined for a while that he needs his watch!) His new teachers (new class at school) are adjusting to him pretty well too. One of them has a kid slightly older at the school that has an allergy. Both seem fine with the idea of actually using an epi auto injector. Which is great, because those things are intimidating. I do find it odd that epinephrine is stored in the classroom, but benadryl is at the front desk. Don't get me wrong, I'm THRILLED that the epinephrine is even IN the classrooms. Time matters if you need one of those things. Our old daycare kept them locked up in the office. I wouldn't want a teacher to have to hesitate to leave a class alone to run to the office or call up there and have someone not be right there. I'd rather they err on the side of giving him the shot if they think he needs it and having it 4 feet away. They also have photo cards on the medicine cabinet in the room. Each kid with an allergy has a card with a photo, list of allergies, and list of meds. (So a sub or floater will know at a very quick glance which kid and what meds are available in the room and up front at the main desk).
In other news, I noticed P had puffy eyes when I picked him up and he was coughing on the way home. That's NOT a good sign with this little guy, who goes from 0 to wheezing often in 4 hours or less. I gave him Benadryl tonight to help as an antihistamine, and the cough was deep enough we broke out the nebulizer and Xopenex. I'd have used the albuterol but it winds him up so badly I figured this was the lesser of the two evils. He has a better chance of getting to sleep on Xopenex. Now I have to stop from going in every hour to see if he's breathing ok. At least we have a nebulizer and we're really close to a neighborhood ER. Asthma and allergies they can certainly handle! And if he's coughing in the morning the allergist is going to get a call before we dose him. Summer cold plus asthma plus allergen makes mom a nervous nellie.
What else.. the excema is still there and mild, no real issue here. He's taking his daily walnut dose with applesauce like a champ. He doesn't bat an eye anymore - how quickly normal changes and how resilient and adaptive little kids can be!
Thanks to all our friends and family for your kind words (and for putting up with my long winded rambles). Love you all!