Food Allergies Challerging Parents over the Holidays

holiday foods

Allergy Care Centers test for 180 allergens. 

Food allergies are a big concern this time of year, especially with Halloween candy and the upcoming holidays. From peanut allergies to gluten, soy and dairy allergies, they are a challenge for children, parents, teachers and even school nurses to manage.

But there are some things we can all do to help ensure the safety of those with allergies.

UMC’s Family Nurse Practitioner, Sydni Sprecher says, “Our food has changed over the previous decades, in the way that it’s grown and kept and processed and manufactured. Additives are put in here and there and things have been genetically modified, and so we do have a lot of people that say twenty years ago we never heard of so many gluten allergies or sensitivities, I think a lot of it is awareness, but a lot of it just changes over time of human manipulation  of natural ingredients has caused a chain of events.”

And, those changes in our food sources have prompted extensive research to help target allergies early, which gives parents an opportunity to be an advocate for their child to help prevent serious problems.

“So, certainly there is so more research available to us with how science has progressed and funding available, we’re seeing so many more cases with children being born with significant allergies or who develop them later in life”, said Sprecher.

“At one point in my daughter’s life, we had eight unsafe foods. So, anything packaged or processed we were not able to have. And, through the steps of our pediatrician, our gastroenterologist, and our allergist, we developed a plan, and thankfully my child has grown out of the majority of those allergies and those foods are safe for her to have. But, I do have that experience as a parent, that fear and that pausing and questioning and reading labels on everything.”

Sprecher also advises parents to talk with their child’s pediatrician, develop an action plan, and educate your child on how to administer an Epipen, or at least how to call 9-1-1. But for preventative measures, children without allergies should avoid sharing their food and beverages.

Lubbock ISD follows similar guidelines.

Paulett Rozneck, coordinator of LISD student health services says, “Lubbock ISD has allergy aware zones, which includes peanut allergies. At the beginning of each school year, parents are asked to complete information regarding any allergies (food, environment, medications) for their student.”

This information is shared with the teachers and sent to cafeteria personnel.

A student’s food selection can be monitored. Teachers notify the parents when there are special events, and the parent can being in alternative foods for their student.

Rozneck said, “Signs placed outside classrooms help keep other staff and parents aware of the need to take additional precautions.”

“And, another thing that parents often are not aware of are ingredients for a full-size candy bar are different from those that are in a fun-sized candy bar,” Sprecher said.  “So those that  are trick or treating you may think oh this is a safe candy but I would just urge you to read the label again because it may be different for a fun-sized candy bar.”

Awareness and education are key when it comes to managing allergies, but hopefully, now, we will all take that pause to really help ensure the safety of those around us.

Allergy Testing and Treatment

Finger-stick Allergy Test

This test is fast, simple and safe (not traumatic for children) A unique next-generation molecular proteomic blood test that detects 180 airborne, environmental and food allergies ( compared to 40-50 from standard scratch testing). This test combines a 67 food panel with a 104 environmental inhalant & non-inhalant panel, including various insects, latex, penicillin, animals, fungi, grass, molds, trees, weeds, and more.

Allergy Treatment with Toothpaste

Our physician writes a 90-day prescription with 3 refills after the results form the finger-stick test. Then sent to the Compounding Pharmacy to mix a unique allergen serum.  The surum is then mixed into the toothpaste.  The toothpaste is mailed to the patients.

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