Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Allergy Mom Back-to-School Wish List


We know, you thought we were in for another "Back to school with food allergies" post.  No, peeps,  Though we probably should post one, truth is there has been an explosion in the amount of information available in this stuff: so much so, that anything we had to offer would be highly redundant and even more highly yawn-inducing.  The truth is, even though we've only been dealing with this managing a food allergy a few years, the changes we have seen in awareness in the past few years are HUGE.

For example, there are now so many more allergy-friendly brands to choose from - we can get cake mixes, frosting, cookies, granola bars, chips, etc. and the selection is big and growing.  Soy nut butter has become so mainstream it's in the regular supermarket.  Five years ago no one we knew (except us) had heard of that stuff, much less used it regularly.
No really, they are. See?

Other changes? Airlines are becoming more accommodating: Delta, for instance, just changed its policy from three nut-free rows forward and back to a whole nut free plane if you give them advance warning.

Food allergy awareness posters are easily visible in many New York restaurants.

States are beginning to pass laws that would allow schools to carry epinephrine to administer to students in an emergency.  This is huge as many allergic reactions in school happen to kids before they are even diagnosed.

In fact, one company is even providing free Epipens to schools in order to prevent cost from becoming a barrier to obtaining potentially life-saving medicine.  Read more about it here:

If that's not proof enough for you skeptics out there that knowledge and sensitivity to food allergies is becoming more mainstream, we have one more point for you: less eyerolls.  Yes, we still get lots, but we get significantly less "you're crazy, lady" eyerolls than we used to even three years ago.  These are statistically significant quantitative eyeroll differences, peeps.

But a step in the right direction isn't enough, is it?  So, we present our food allergy wish list, brought to you by one crazy mother in New York.  We predict that all of these will be true 10 years from now.

Top Ten Eleven Predictions for Food Allergies in Ten Years

Top of the Wish List? A cure for food allergies

1.  "Nut free" or "gluten free" meals will become standard options for all airlines.  Yes, we'll all probably be paying $39.99 for airline meals at that point, but the allergy options will be standard.  Nuts will no longer be distributed on any flight.

2.  School and college cafeterias will have standard "allergen free" sections as routine part of meal preparation.  Knowledge of safety and cross-contamination will be an automatic part of any kitchen safety training.  

3.  Ingredient lists will be readily available; all will clearly label the possible presence or contamination of allergens.

4.  All MLB stadiums will have nut free sections.

5. Much like the "first aid for choking signs", all restaurants and public places that have food will have "first aid for anaphylaxis" signs.  In addition,  Epinephrine will be standard issue as part of any first-aid kit for schools, libraries, restaurants, camps, etc.  All Red Cross first aid classes will automatically include training on anaphylaxis.

6. Allergy-friendly Halloween candy.  'Nuff said.

7. Getting allergy-friendly food and an adult to take responsibility of epinephrine at a drop-off birthday party will become standard. 

8. Gap, Old Navy, Children's Place or some mainstream brand of children's clothing will make cargo pants with a special epinephrine pocket.

9. Auto-injectors will talk to you, reducing human error in training.  Oh wait, that already happened last week.

10. There will be a vaccine to prevent food allergies, or a treatment to prevent them from being life-threatening.

11. "Anaphylaxis" will become a standard term in spell-check.

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