Life with Allergies

So I was literally in the middle of writing a blog when my internet ADD kicked in (seriously, though it happens) and I went to my Facebook tab and saw this article posted. Having anaphylactic children I clicked on it to read it, not expecting to have the reaction I had. I also clicked on this article as well because I wanted to read their official statement.

I am so angry and teared up. How can big companies get away with this? Granted, I don’t buy these crackers anyways because I figure if they make peanut butter crackers the cheese ones are produced on the same lines, BUT some parents do. Apparently these cheese crackers were completely peanut free and safe for peanut allergy kids to eat but they aren’t anymore. Oh wait, Kellogs is going to make ONE cheese cracker safe to eat after September. So they’re going to wait until September to make this change? So when you go to the store, you might get the safe crackers? You might not? Yeah not a chance I’m willing to take.

Chris is anaphylactic to peanuts, tree nuts and banana. Yes banana. Yes we found that one out the hard way complete with Epi-Pen administration and hospitalization. His peanut reactions start out as severe uncontrolled asthma, which is terrifying. He used to eat peanuts and peanut butter. He used to be able to be around it. Now he can’t. Now if he’s exposed he starts having a dry constant asthma cough. If I can’t get that under control it progresses to worse. He starts wheezing, he starts retracting. He starts having stridor. He starts having to use his neck muscles when he breathes. The only thing that helps this is Epi-Pen, steroids and albuterol. If I can’t get his reactions under control he could die. Do you know how terrifying that is as a mother? Do you know how terrifying it is to know that your kid could legit DIE if you don’t do the right treatment quick enough? What about if you are unsure if he’s been exposed? Is it bad asthma? Is it food allergy? The unknowns will drive you insane.

The time that he had the reaction to banana it took me 15 minutes from first exposure to Epi-Pen administration. I was alone in my house. It was spring break. He had NEVER shown reaction to banana before. He ate one and his eyes started itching and swelling. Then they turned red. This was when he came to me complaining about his eyes. It took me about 3 minutes to realize that he was having an allergic reaction.  Then his lips started swelling, and then his tongue and then his throat. I didn’t have his allergy pack with me because my husband took the van to work. By this time I was running around my house tearing it apart, looking for Benadryl. I found it and an Epi-Pen.  I was sobbing because I was terrified my son was going to die before an ambulance could get here. I called my husband while I had to stick our son with an expired (by like 2 months) Epi-Pen because it was all I had.

This isn’t a special snowflake thing. I realize that there are many other snacks my kids can eat. I realize that a huge corporation doesn’t owe me anything or owe allergy kids anything. I realize it’s MY responsibility to make sure that he eats things that are safe. I realize that. It’s exhausting to constantly worry. It’s exhausting to make sure that what he eats and what he’s around won’t kill him. It’s exhausting to worry about sending your son to school when you can’t be there to make sure he’s safe. It’s infuriating when other people don’t understand and are callous and think it’s not a huge deal to have peanuts around him.

Yes it is a big deal. No it’s not okay to have just one peanut butter sandwich or peanut butter cracker around him. No it’s not okay for him to sit next to someone who has had peanuts. It’s not okay. I’m not making it up. He has and will react. Kids do die from allergies so please respect my “no peanuts ever” rule.

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