Tag Archives: asthma

Day 2 – Introduction to Allergies

Allergies (food or environmental), asthma and eczema are among the allergy related conditions that may be seasonal, lifelong or outgrown.  It is possible if you have one condition, there is a greater likelihood to develop others. But there are cases where it’s unrelated or just a singular event.
Here are five things you should know about allergy-related conditions:
·       Allergens stimulate your body’s immune response to whatever you touch, breathe, ingest from foods or drinks or from medication injections, causing your body to defend itself and overreact to substances, such as peanuts and pollens (allergens). Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a type of itchy rash that can flare up when exposed to triggers such as allergens, heat and dry skin. In the winter and summer months on the East Coast, I’m always on high alert for eczema. Watching a baby suffer with itchy skin, even when treated with hydrocortisone cream can make you feel helpless, but http://itchylittleworld.com/  offers good advice and resources to deal with eczema for your little ones.
·       Allergies can trigger asthma, which is inflammation of the lungs and airway, making it difficult to breathe. Irritants for asthma can range from pollen, dust, and pollution to tobacco smoke and exercise. As soon as the spring season (pollen) and fall season arrives (ragweed) nears, keep the shelves stocked with antihistamines. It is especially helpful to track your local allergy forecast using the tools at www.pollen.com in order to manage your allergies and asthma during seasons with known triggers.  
·        Symptoms of an allergic reaction can cross the spectrum from itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and wheezing to anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is an allergic symptoms that can affect different areas of body, causes difficulty breathing and can be fatal without the immediate administration of epinephrine (EpiPen). Food allergies are the most common cause of anaphylaxis, but other allergens can risk a anaphylactic reaction and it can be severe for those who have asthma. For those newly diagnosed with the risk of anaphylaxis, The Allergist Mom has an informative post that explains the science and symptoms behind anaphylaxis.
      You can now request a $0 co-pay EpiPen Card and save on your 2-pak prescription, visit www.epipen.com to learn more.

·        Schools are a high risk environment for food allergy reactions and one in 25 school-aged kids have food allergies according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those who are newly diagnosed with food allergies and anaphylaxis, it may be helpful to have an Anaphylaxis Action Plan that has been reviewed and approved by your physician and accessible for anyone who cares for your child. Samples are available for download at AAAAI and FARE

·      Federal legislation was introduced in 2011 to allow schools to have stock epinephrine auto-injectors. Today, nearly two dozen states have introduced some form of School Access to Emergency Epinephrine legislation to save the lives of those who experience an anaphylactic reaction and for those who lack a prescribed EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector) in their states, including my home state of Maryland. Support is still needed to urge passage of federal legislation. Visit Food Allergy and Research Education to learn more and write your representative and senator. 

About 46-76 percent of food allergy reactions happen in the classroom
·        The top eight allergens are eggs, milk, wheat, fish, shellfish, nuts, tree nuts and soy.  But there are other allergens such as fruits and vegetables.  Those with celiac disease are also at risk for food allergies and you can check out one person’s journey at http://celiacandallergyadventures.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/what-is-oral-allergy-syndrome/. When I find it difficult to manage my own daughter’s food allergies, I also visit http://allergicgirl.blogspot.com/ as a reminder there are ways to thrive with food allergies.

A tribute to Allergy Mamas this Mother’s Day

“Mama, why do I have allergies?” That’s a question most of us allergy mamas will hear at some point as little ones grow and learn how to manage multiple types of allergies, especially food allergies. It is not an easy question to answer, particularly when the question is posed during events with nut-threatening cupcakes or crab claw cracking summer cookouts.  As an allergy mama, you are given special gifts to help ease anxiety, carry special treats and create a sense of connection during times when your child could feel isolated. Many could argue that is the gift of any mama. But being an allergy mama is the dairy-free icing on a nut-free cake.
On this Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of the gift of motherhood and want to take a moment to give special thanks to all of the allergy mamas and supporters who seek understanding the complex answers to one simple question, “Why do I have allergies?” Many of you are on a mission to find answers on how to best protect those you love, just like me – with an epi-pen in one hand and a phone in the other hand with doctors, caregivers and schools on speed dial.
As I reflect on a food allergy conference hosted by FAAN I recently attended a few weeks ago, it was clear that mothers are the conduit to create change and understanding. Now, there were many papas there too who are doing great work, but more on them around Father’s Day or future posts. I met many mothers, including a few Twitter followers, who shared personal experiences and have gone through great steps to get schools, caregivers, friends and relatives to understand and manage their children’s food allergies and other related conditions. One mother even paid for her child’s preschool teachers to attend the conference.  Allergy mamas have to truly go the extra mile to protect their children and educate others.
While I’ve been fortunate to work closely in partnership with my daughter’s school in managing her nasal allergies, food allergies and asthma, I know it’s not that easy as we unfortunately witnessed at Edgewater Elementary School in Volusia County, Florida. There are many other hurdles I understand you face while managing allergies in your children, including those that are life threatening.  It’s only appropriate that Food Allergy Awareness Week starts on Mother’s Day, May 8, through May 14. I’ll be on a mission to help increase understanding this week, but I hope you’ll join me on this lifelong journey by following The Allergy Mamas blog.
Through my experience and the shared experiences of others, I hope you’ll gain further insight and support our work to help businesses, communities and schools understand multiple allergies and related conditions.  There are many mamas on this journey, but I hope all mamas and mother figures take a moment to rest today and celebrate the impact you make in the lives of others.   
Happy Mother’s Day!
-Tia Howard,