Book Review: My Food Allergies

Editor’s Note

It was truly an honor to have Amber DeVore, R.D. contact me to review her new book, My Food Allergies. In a straightforward manner, Amber recounts the story of her son’s first anaphylactic reaction, allowing readers to learn and have a better understanding about food allergies and anaphylaxis. The story, combined with David Robinson’s cute illustrations, creates an excellent resource to educate children about the risks and necessary care for someone with a food allergy.

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The book has two main characters, a young boy named Kieran and his mom. After a hard day of playing baseball, Kieran comes home to eat a snack of yogurt with granola. He unfortunately has an allergic reaction, his face swells and breaks out in hives. His mom calls 911 and he is taken to the hospital via ambulance. The doctor at the hospital determines that he is allergic to nuts, which was in the granola.

Once the diagnosis is determined, the family gathers the knowledge on how to stay safe: learns what foods to avoid, how to read ingredient and manufacturing labels, carries epinephrine wherever they go, does not share food, and how to safely and positively participate in life’s activities where food is served, i.e., bring your own safe, nut-free snacks and treats.

What I found to be the most endearing aspect of this book is the interactive guide at the end. The questions posed, encourage the reader to think about and discuss how they stay safe and navigate food allergies in their own life. By including a discussion, a dialogue is created between a child and the reader, most likely a parent, family member or caregiver. The dialogue create a teaching moment where the child learns how to keep safe, care for him/herself, participate positively in his/her life, and finally, provides the opportunity for a child to discuss his/her feelings regarding having a food allergy.

My Food Allergies is an excellent selection to teach, to share and just plain enjoy!

You can find My Food Allergies on Amazon.

Epinephrine Accessibility Bill in MN Legislature

BREAKING NEWS

A bill to allow restaurants, museums, zoos, sports leagues, camps, and other venues to stock non-patient specific epinephrine has been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature this session. Commonly called an “entity bill,” HF1604 would allow various entities to store epinephrine on-site without a physician’s prescription and use it in the event of an emergency.

If the bill passes through the Legislature and is signed into law by the governor, the Minnesota Department of Health will evaluate applications from venues that wish to stock epinephrine and ensure that their staff is trained in anaphylaxis recognition and epinephrine administration by approved trainers.

The bill sponsor in the MN House of Representatives is Rep. Nick Zerwas of Elk River. “I equate it to the AED (automated external defibrillator),” said Zerwas. AEDs are found in public places and available for anyone to use in an emergency.

Senator Jim Carlson of Eagan is the Senate sponsor.   Carlson has worked on epinephrine legislation in the past, such as the school accessibility bill spearheaded by the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA) in 2004.

AFAA has reviewed the bill language and offered suggestions for amendments that can offered during committee hearings.  AFAA will work to organize witnesses to testify in committee hearings, and to rally public support and communication from constituents to their legislators.

The bill is anticipated to have a hearing this Friday in the House of Representatives Health and Human Services Reform Committee.  Supporters who are constituents of committee members are encouraged to contact committee members to express their support.

Stay tuned to your email in-box, my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for upcoming legislative developments.

Book Review: Why can’t I have a Cupcake?

Editor’s Notes:
1) I was so happy that Betsy Childs contacted me to review her new book about food intolerances, Why can’t I have a Cupcake? Her simple, yet meaningful, story along with Dan Olson’s illustrations was a great hit with my sons.

2) When you have a food allergy, it is required that you have two doses of epinephrine in your possession as a second dose may need administered five minutes after the first dose.

Review

My son is attending a birthday party this weekend…a place where tasty treats are always in abundance along with the token slice of “za” (pizza). These social situations are sometimes challenging for those dealing with food allergies, celiac disease or intolerances as assimilation is so important. No matter the challenge, we must teach our children that the celebration is the time we spend together having fun, and much more important than any food.

51odpxI41hL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_In this thoughtful book, Rory, a six-year-old boy, was excited to be going to his friend Poppy’s birthday party where they will have delicious cupcakes. Rory L-O-V-E-S cupcakes, but he is gluten intolerant. He remembers having a stomach ache after eating foods like cupcakes and pancakes.

Rory’s mother dropped him off at the party, hands him his crispy bar and he is off to have some fun! Not only did Rory have an enjoyable time participating in the fun activity and watching Poppy open her birthday presents, he learned that he was not the only one bringing his own treat or an item to keep safe. Celia can’t have peanuts so she came prepared with a tuna sandwich, in case PB & J sandwiches were served. Mason brought an EpiPen® because he’s allergic to bee stings. Lewis has a popsicle because he can’t have ice cream, he’s allergic to dairy. Continue reading

What To Do When Your 504 Plan is Violated, 3

And we’re back for the third and final installment in this series of blog entries covering preparing for school and 504 violations. Even after all of the best food allergy management planning, expect to have a snag or two. Most issues are misunderstandings or miscommunications and are easily fixed by an email, telephone call or short meeting with the teacher, principal and/or 504 coordinator. Remember to stay the collaborative and creative parent you are, and partner to resolve these types of issues.

On the other hand, when your child’s specified accommodation is not received on a consistent and conscientious basis, then a more direct and formal approach is necessary. What might a violation look like? Perhaps your teacher is having your child sit out in the hall during snack time. Maybe unsafe curriculum projects are continuously being used in the classroom without notice or accommodation. It could be that a student, teacher or school staff member is repeatedly harassing your child about his/her food allergies.

No matter what has transpired in a 504 violation, it’s a terrifying and angering experience simply because your child is at his/her most vulnerable outside of your care. In addition, it is always our hope that adults will behave as mature and responsible individuals, and when that doesn’t happen, it creates a mistrust that is not easily rebuilt.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for 504 Violation Resolution: Continue reading

Preparing for School with a Food Allergy, 2

And…we’re back. : ) Thanks for joining me again for Part 2 in the series of three discussing school preparation and 504 violation. In case you missed it, check out the first post Preparing for School with a Food Allergy, Part 1 which has my Top 10 Tips to prepare for school. In this entry, I’ll share my Top 5 Tips of what not to do when preparing for school. Don’t forget, there’s one more in this series to come, What To Do When Your 504 Plan Is Violated, Part 3.

1.  Don’t Sign A Release of Medical Records

Man's Hands Signing DocumentMedical Information is extremely private and not meant for public consumption. Never sign a release of medical records to your school; there’s nothing worse than school staff or even a school nurse or health paraprofessional interpreting your physician’s diagnosis and notes and drawing conclusions regarding your child’s medical information. A letter from your allergist is sufficient. See the first in the series entitled, Preparing for School with a Food Allergy, Part 1. Continue reading

Preparing for School with a Food Allergy, 1

When my son was small and preparing for kindergarten, I remember the January prior to his entry was the month that I began conversations with my school on food allergy accommodations. With each new year, it causes me to think about how I can help families just like you prepare for the great meeting of the minds. I decided to do this series of posts: Preparing for School with a Food Allergy, Part 1 Preparing for School with a Food Allergy Part 2 (The Don’ts), and What To Do When Your 504 Plan Is Violated, Part 3. I hope you find them to be helpful as you start a new chapter with your child.

1.  Investigate and Learn About Food Allergy Rights and Guidelines

Get to know the existing resources that are out there to support you:FAN2031482BusinessL

 

2.  It Takes Nine Months to Have a Baby; Take Nine Months to Forge a Food Allergy Partnership with Your School

The January prior to the start of school, contact your school principal and district/school nurse/health paraprofessional to introduce yourself and your child. Make it a priority to discuss what school staff members will assist in the development of your child’s Food Allergy Management Plan. Collaborate with staff to finalize the plan prior to the first day of school.

  • Typical 504 Team, i.e.: Principal, District and/or School Nurses, 504 Coordinator, Teacher, Specialists, Cafeteria and Recess Monitors, Transportation Company, etc. The titles of individuals will vary from district to district and school to school.
    • If your school is public, request a 504 Evaluation Meeting.
    • If your school is private, determine if the school receives any federal funding. If yes, then request a 504 Evaluation Meeting.
    • If your school is private and receives no Federal funding, then request a Food Allergy Management meeting so accommodations can be determined.

Continue reading

A Gift of Miles Launches New Website

Website Details a Holistic Approach to Food Allergy Education For Families, Childcare Providers and Schools

a-gift-of-miles-food-allergy-consultingA Gift of Miles is pleased to announce the launch of a new website that details Kristin Beltaos’ holistic approach to food allergy consulting and education for families, childcare providers and schools. The updated website more clearly outlines Kristin’s services including customized food allergy management life skills, education and plans utilizing evidenced-based practices. Ultimately, clients learn how to proactively manage food allergies in their environment while keeping children with food allergies safe, happy and included.

Taking your life or organization to the next level has never been easier. Leverage Kristin’s customized consulting, expertise and training programs to help you identify your goals, develop strategies and action plans that establish a new order.

Whether you’re in Minnesota, nationally or internationally, visit the new website and make a selection under Food Allergy Consulting or Other Services to learn more about how you can find support and assistance that will help you transition to your new chapter.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post.

I wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy new year!

Thoughtfully,
Kristin

Dr. Allan Stillerman: NEW Cow’s Milk Research Study

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Dr. Allan Stillerman is the Principal Investigator for a research study of a new investigational formula for CMA that has been developed by an infant formula manufacturer headquartered in the United States. The investigational formula will be tested against Nutramigen (Mead Johnson Nutrition).

The study consists of two (2) parts:

Part 1StillermanMilkStudy
This part of the study will test for allergic reactions to Nutramigen and the investigational formula.

  • 3 visits over approximately 2 – 3 weeks
  • 2 oral food challenges (at Visit 2 & Visit 3)
  • Physical Exam
  • 1 blood sample
  • Taste test for caregivers
  • Diary to record allergic symptoms

 

Part 2
This part of the study will study how your child grows and how well your child tolerates the formula.

  • This part of the study lasts 16 weeks (about 4 months) & has 2 additional visits
  • 7 telephone contacts
  • Measurements of growth
  • (height, weight, etc.)
  • 1 blood sample
  • Quality of Life Questionnaire for caregivers
  • Diary to record allergic symptoms and how your child tolerates the formula
  • Study participants will be asked to return approximately one year after the first visit to have another blood sample taken.

 

Learn More…
Allan Stillerman M.D.
Clinical Research Institute

The Parent Job’s Interview with Kristin Beltaos

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Hello my friends HAPPY SPRING! I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Angel Thompson of The Parent Job. To take a peek at this interview, click the link below. Find out what I like most about being a parent, who has had the most impact on me as a parent, how I overcome parenting challenges, and much more.

Meet Kristin Beltaos…

Food Allergies: Wills, the Establishment of Guardians & Life Insurance

I Kristin Beltaos Being of Sound Mind and Mother to a Food Allergic Child…

I know, it’s a morbid topic, but one that truly needs to be addressed when you have children and especially if you have a food allergic child.

Do you have a plan for your children should you and your spouse/partner meet an untimely death? My husband and I have always been big planners. We pay close attention to our financial planning multiple times a year. In addition, we had our Wills, Power of Attorneys, Living Wills established and purchased Life Insurance while I was pregnant with our first son. We discuss these items multiple times a year, I know it may sound somber, but checking in with one another has always been an essential ingredient in our relationship. We always want to make sure that we’re on the same page and covering our bases.

Speak frequently with your guardians to ensure that your wishes are understood.

Speak frequently with your guardians to ensure that your wishes are understood.

Recently we updated our Wills and Guardians for our two sons. I think the first inclination is to always select family for Guardians, which is what we have done in the past. After eight years of these Wills, our ideas regarding this topic have evolved through the years. While our extended family is very important, in our case it isn’t the best decision should something actually happen to us. Here are some things to consider when addressing this very sensitive topic: Continue reading