For kids' food allergies, mommas need help
Reading the Times' story about 9-year-old George Attia, who is allergic to just about everything, hit home today. Attia's mom thinks officials at Cypress Woods Elementary School in Palm Harbor aren't doing enough to protect her son, who's allergic to peanuts, milk, oats, wheat, eggs, potatoes, soy, maple syrup, honey, sesame seeds, barley, coconut, shellfish and tree nuts like almonds and cashews.
My 8-year-old daughter is allergic to all dairy products, so no milk, pizza or ice cream unless it's soy. She'll break out in hives and vomit if she injests a significant amount of dairy, which believe me we have not tested since our messy introduction to said allergy shortly after her first birthday.
Every medical form we fill out details her needs. We individually talk to any adult in charge of her care. Parents of friends know enough to make arrangements at parties and playdates. Waiters get questioned about the ingredients of dishes. Still, when you least expect it, she's at risk.
A teacher served her milk in preschool. Another in first grade gave her flak when she said she couldn't eat the party pizza, so could she go back to the room for her packed lunch. "You can eat the pizza, you're fine," the teacher told her.
Thankfully, more alert adults have cared for her since then. For her end-of-school year pizza party, the teacher e-mailed my husband and I in advance to ask that we arrange for a treat she could enjoy. Didn't want her to feel left out.
It also helps that my daughter is comfortable with her allergy, confident about what's good for her and what's not. Truth is, she doesn't have momma's sweet tooth, so she's just fine watching other kids eat things she can't. But we can't protect her on our own. So thanks to everyone who looks out for kids' allergies.
-- Amy Hollyfield