Food Allergies

Is there a Grinch-equivalent for Easter?  If there is, I’m it.  Granted, I did put on my ears and hop through a great day filled with family and fun but, I am sick of pastels, eggs and lilies.  Does that make me a terrible person?  Maybe.  I miss the magic and excitement of the holidays.  I miss waking up to baskets and chocolate and not knowing what’s hidden behind the wizard’s curtain.  So much work goes into making the day special.  The outfits need to be new, the food needs to be delicious and the Easter Bunny needs to show up.  I even saw Hop on Saturday hoping that a children’s movie about Easter would brighten my mood.  Despite the fact that James Marsden is adorable, the movie was quite painful.  Perhaps I should have brought my kids.  I don’t know.  The point is, when did I become the grown up?  When did I go from being the one finding the eggs to being the one who can’t remember where she hid them?  I wouldn’t mind being young again but I comfort myself with the fact that kids today, while spoiled and over-coddled, have their share of problems.  Cyber-bullying, helicopter parenting and food allergies are defining a generation.  I am way too exhausted from all the hopping to address the first two.  I’ll try to focus on the big question on every mom’s mind when she is deciding what treat to bring into school for little Susie’s birthday,  “What is with all the allergies?”

The Facts:

1. About 2-4% of adults have food allergies.  About 4-6% of children have food allergies.

2.  According to the CDC, the number of children diagnosed with food allergies has risen about 18% over the past ten years.

3.  Eight foods cause 90% of food allergies – tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.

4.  True food allergies are different than food intolerance.  Allergies to food will result in hives and itchy skin, tingling or itching in the mouth, cough, difficulty breathing, and wheezing or tightness in the throat.  When severe, blood pressure can drop and the person can become pale and lose consciousness.  Eczema and asthma can be precipitated by or become more severe because of food allergies.  About 25% of people think that they are allergic to certain foods.

5.  Anaphylaxis is the most severe consequence of food allergies.  It involves the whole body, can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.  While the risk for developing anaphylactic shock is relatively small, patients with some types of food allergies are instructed to carry an Epipen at all times.  It is an easy to use, injectable epinephrine that can be life-saving.

More this week on symptoms, treatment and research.  Right now, I am wishing I had an allergy to chocolate as there is a bunny downstairs who is calling my name.  Thank goodness we don’t celebrate Memorial Day with much more than beach, beer and barbecue.  That is a holiday I can wrap my arms around – adult fun.  I’m sure it is only a matter of time before Hallmark and Fisher Price get involved.  Next thing you know, fairy-sized Uncle Sams will be sneaking in through the flagpole at night to leave red, white and blue gifts for our poor deprived children.  I am such a crank today – must be all the sugar.  Maybe I’m allergic.

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