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Parents will go to incredible lengths to help their children when theyre sick, so when mainstream medicine fails to ease a childs suffering, many parents predictably search for answers elsewhere. For youngsters with severe or life threatening food allergies, the mainstream has so far offered few options. Avoiding allergenic food is the only established method of preventing reactions and the enduring possibility of accidental exposure keeps parents constantly vigilant.
When Beth was 19 and a sophomore in college, she began to cut back on how much she was eating. In high school, she had always thought she could stand to lose 5 poundsWhat girl doesnt?, she askseven though at 5 foot 8 inches, tall and 130 pounds, she was slim. She had dieted a few times then, following the low-carb Atkins plan. This time around, however, her motivation to diet wasnt just about dropping a dress size. It was also because she often felt uncomfortably full and bloated after eating.
In December 2010, Chicago seventh-grader Katelyn Carlson collapsed after she ate Chinese food during a class holiday party. The food contained traces of peanuts, even though her teacher had reportedly asked the restaurant not to use peanuts. Since Katelyns peanut allergy had not been severe in the past, her 504 health plan had called for administering Benadryl, an antihistamine. Staff followed the plan and then called 911. Katelyn was rushed from school to the hospital, where she died of anaphylaxis. Katelyn might still be alive today if theyd been given a simple epinephrine injection at school.
Many small children are fussy eaters but youngsters on the autistic spectrum commonly take pickiness to extremes. They often eat fewer than five or so different foodsa list that generally includes chicken nuggets, fries, mac and cheese, cookies and milk. Most of their favorite foods contain gluten, casein or both. Proponents of the opioid excess theory of autism contend that these children limit themselves to foods that contain gluten and casein because these proteins give them a high resembling that of opioid drugs.
Summers end is an anxious time for most college freshmen but even more so for those students who have food allergies and sensitivities. Its a nerve-racking time for their parents, too, as their young adult ventures into the unsupervised dining and lifestyle of higher education.
Giving up control of your food-allergic teen is challenging. Its hard to let go but important for your childs development. These suggestions can help.