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2.23.2010

Kids and Food Allergies

There's this mom I always see at my daughter's preschool. I may have even posted about her last year- I've only talked to her once but she makes me batty. She has a son right around Oliver's age. Right around the time I figured out (pre-allergy test, when he was an infant) that he was sensitive to dairy I overheard her talking about her own son (who was 10 months old at the time) to another mom as we waited to pick up our kids. She was talking about how bad his asthma had been lately, how they'd had to take him to the emergency room and his blood oxygen was really low, he's needed his inhaler a bunch lately, blah blah blah. Much of this rang true for us as well (although thankfully we never had to go to the ER, but the day he initially got diagnosed with "possibly" having ashtma I think he was well on his way) so I politely interupted and told her a very brief version of my story and how switching from dairy formula to soy formula had completely ended his "asthma." She looked at me like I was speaking French and, after a moment, replied "he drinks whole milk." I shut my mouth at that point as she had made it obvious that not only was my input not welcome but that she thought I was a hippy quack. But on the inside I was seething. I try REALLY hard not to judge other parents because I know that not every parent is blessed with as much knowledge and DRIVE for knowledge as I am. But when someone tells you that trying something as simple as removing dairy from your son's diet could possibly cure his asthma and you turn a blind eye without even considering it (I mean, it's not like I suggested she cut his arm off to cure his asthma, it never hurts to at least TRY removing dairy products) then what kind of parent are you? And what about the little boy- should he be sentenced to suffer because of his mom's stupidity and closed mindedness? Let's not talk about the fact that it's not generally recommended to give milk to a 10 month old baby... It's such a stupid thing but it gets me really worked up.

And since I've had an official diagnosis of my own kids' allergies (in case you aren't up with us, Oliver is allergic to wheat and both he and Izzy are allergic to dairy) I've been thinking about this a lot lately (and getting a tad worked up about it every time I see this particular mom). My kids' symptoms were, generally speaking, pretty mild. They both had frequent ear infections with constant ear fluid (even when not infected) and intermittent coughing/runny nose/general gunkiness. I'm just persistent. I refuse to believe that some kids inexplicably get more frequent ear infections and there's nothing parents can do about it. So I did research (surprised?). It wasn't the doctor who brought up food allergies as a possibly cause, it was me. Thankfully, so far as mainstream medical professionals go, my Pediatrician is THE BOMB and was totally supportive and on board and sent us right over to do the allergy test. And after we got the results she talked to me about what to do next (in very general terms, I've had to, again, do a lot of research myself). So since I've been thinking about this more lately I can't help but wonder- how many kids who suffer from frequent ear infections, excema, asthma like symptoms, digestive troubles, or any other number of maladies needlessly because their parents are uninformed and medical professionals would rather throw drugs at them than find out what is causing the problem.

As my mind often does this train of thought circled around to, "well, what can I do about it?" Well, I can blog about it, but I don't think my 11 readers (whom I love and appreciate) are enough to really get the word out. What else can I do? What can I do to get the word out to parents so they know to bring food allergies up to their pediatricians as the possible cause of these problems? What can I do to get Pediatricians to begin addressing this as the possible cause of many childhood illnesses and as possibly part of the explanation for increase in children with asthma?

And this, sadly, is where I often get stumped. I don't know "people." I don't have notoriety or celebrity to help me promote my cause. So, alas, here I sit writing about it instead. Maybe someday...

2 comments:

Kerrie said...

Cheers to You Brandis! My mom felt the same way you do 30 years ago and that is how they solved all the exact same issues your kids have shown. I can now eat most of those items but I hate to think the level my asthma and other issues would be at if she hadn't looked outside the box. On a side note she tried to bring that up to my aunt (very similar to this other mom) and my cousins can't participate in ANYTHING because they need their inhalers constantly among other things.

You can only help those that want to be helped!

Krystle said...

Wow- makes me wonder what I don't know that could be making me/my future kids feel better! If I'm ever a close-minded or ignorant mom I hope someone actually DOES slap me!

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