12 Halloween Tips for Parents of Children with Food Allergies

12 Halloween Tips for Parents of Children with Food Allergies

This article is re-posted from www.kidswithfoodallergies.org.  For the complete article, click here.  Always be sure your child with food allergies wears a form of Medical ID.  American Medical ID features an array of medical alert jewelry for children with styles to fit all personalities.

How to take the tricks out of treats when your child has food allergies 

pumpkinsHalloween can be a tricky time for a growing number of children who have food allergies. Today, one in 12 children, or six to eight million kids, are affected by allergies to foods such as milk, peanuts and tree nuts, ingredients commonly found in candy. Often the most life-threatening, peanut allergy, for example, has doubled in the last five years.

“Children with food allergies can enjoy Halloween just as much as other kids but it takes planning and vigilance,” notes Lynda Mitchell, president of Kids With Food Allergies. “When my son was a toddler, he had a severe reaction on Halloween because I unknowingly allowed him to carry a treat that included ingredients he was allergic to, not realizing that he would try to bite right through the paper wrapper while we were walking. I learned firsthand the importance of preparing in advance – such as supplying neighbors with safe candy for my son – and closely watching him as he trick-or-treated.”

As the number of food-allergic children continues to rise, more and more parents are challenged with keeping their kids and neighbor children safe this Halloween.

 How you can make Halloween safer for allergic children:

  • Purchase a variety of candy, including some that do not include any milk, soy, peanuts or tree nuts.  Read labels carefully as some ingredients may be hidden.
  • Let children pick out the candy that’s suited for them.
  • Consider having non-food items on hand, including stickers, fun pencils, small toys or even coins for the child’s piggy bank.
Tips for parents of food allergic children:
  • Plan an alternate activity, such as going to the movies, hosting a slumber party, or having a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood for safe treats or other items.

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  • When trick-or-treating, carry your child’s emergency medicines.
  • Let the kids dress up and run house to house, while you carry a safe snack in case they want one. Bring wipes to clean the little hands first! [Idea courtesy of Jason]
  • Give neighbors safe Halloween treats in advance to hand out to your food allergic child.
  • Prepare a container filled with safe treats in advance, and then swap it for the treats collected.
  • Try a variation of the Tooth Fairy: Sort through unsafe candy, then leave it in a safe spot for a “Sugar Sprite” or “Candy Fairy” who exchanges it for a small gift, toy, or money. [Idea courtesy of Rachel]
  • Trade unsafe candy for allergen-safe treats or age-appropriate non-food items once your children return home. Non-food ideas include coloring books, storybooks, pencils, stickers, stuffed animals, toys, cash and play dough.
  • If permissible, donate leftover candy to children who may not be able to go out and trick or treat. [Idea courtesy of Rhonda]
  • Check all ingredients. Remember that treat-size candy may have different ingredients or may be made on different machinery than the same regular-size candy.

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Why are medical IDs critical?

Perhaps your doctor, nurse or pharmacist advised you to obtain a medical ID for your child. Why is it important?

  • In an emergency, when you might not be able to speak for your child, a kid’s medical ID bracelet or necklace can speak for them.
  • Symptoms of common ailments can easily be misdiagnosed. Prompt diagnosis is critical to effective treatment. A brief description of vital medical facts engraved on your child’s medical ID ensures appropriate and timely medical care.
  • According to a published study, half of all medical errors occur because of mistakes made upon admission or discharge from the hospital.Wearing a medical ID protects against potentially harmful medical errors.
  • More than 95 percent of emergency responders look for a medical ID; more than 75 percent check for a medical ID immediately upon assessing the patient. If your child is wearing a medical ID, it won`t be missed.
  • Medical IDs can eliminate trips to the hospital, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and prevent minor emergencies from becoming major ones. Medical IDs save lives! One day, a medical ID may save your child.

Hot Weather and Your Diabetes

heat_1During the heat of the summer, it is important to consider that the ambient temperature will affect your diabetes management.

  • Heat can affect your blood glucose (sugar) levels and also increase the absorption of some fast-acting insulin, meaning you will need to test your blood glucose more often and perhaps adjust your intake of insulin, food and liquids.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to avoid dehydration. Drink a glass of (sugarfree) fluids before going outdoors and at least ever half hour when outdoors in temperature above 80 degrees F.  If your doctor has limited how much liquid you can drink, ask what to do during times of high heat.
  • Check package inserts with medications to learn when high temperatures can affect them. Take medications with you if you will need to take them while you’re away from home, and protect them from the heat.
  • Remember not to leave your blood glucose meter, insulin, or other injectable medications,  in direct sunlight or in a hot car. When travelling, keep your medications in a cooler but do not place it directly on ice or on a gel pack.
  • Heat can damage insulin pumps and other equipment. Do not leave the disconnected pump or supplies in the direct sun. Perspiration can affect the sticking quality of your patches.
  • Get physical activity in air-conditioned areas, or exercise outside early or late in the day, during cooler temperatures.
  • Beware of the major changes in humidity and temperature when travelling and then exiting a car.
  • Always wear your medical ID! Always!

Boot could save millions of diabetic people from foot amputations

NEWS from the UK, segment published on The Bucks Herald:

2220925531People with diabetes are particularly at risk of having foot amputations because bad circulation and foot ulcers can mean their feet are unable to pump blood back up their legs.

The Pulseboot works by replicating this pumping mechanism, allowing the foot to heal and preventing the need for amputation.

Pulseboot chief executive Les Lindsay said: “Each year over 6,000 people in the UK alone lose their limbs due to the complications caused by diabetes.

“Around the world, one amputation due to diabetes happens every 20 seconds.

“We’ve built this shoe to help stop this happening to those British diabetics and many thousands more around the world.”

The technology has been designed in Smeaton Close and developed around the country with the help of people from all over the world.

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It has attracted significant interest from other countries, including America, and its creators think it will have an ‘astronomical’ impact on the treatment of diabetics.

Aylesbury MP David Lidington visited Pulseboot’s base last week to view the technology and to discuss how it can be made widely available.

Mr Lidington said: “Diabetes is growing problem for many countries around the world.

“I’m pleased to see that one of our companies in Aylesbury is going to help so many people avoid one of the more devastating effects of this disease.”

The design was first conceived around five years ago and clinical trials on the prototype will begin this month.

On average, 115 diabetes-related amputations take place every week in England and a recent NHS report put the annual costs of diabetic amputations at £120 million.

Weight Loss Not Enough for Preventing Diabetes Heart Complications

heart_stethoscopeModest weight loss in obese patients with type 2 diabetes can achieve various health improvements but does not lower the risk of heart attack or stroke, according to the new findings of a landmark US study.

The Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) clinical trial found that a long-term intensive lifestyle intervention program, focused on weight loss, leads to many long-term health benefits for obese diabetic patients, including better blood sugar control and improved physical quality of life.

But latest results from the multi-center study revealed the intervention did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity, which was the primary goal of the study.

For the study, more than 5,000 overweight or obese US adults aged 45-76 and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to one of two programs; lifestyle intervention involving physical activity and weight loss, or diabetes support and education, involving three annual counselling sessions on nutrition, exercise and social support.

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After a median follow-up of 9.6 years, researchers found that participants in the intensive lifestyle intervention group lost 8.6% of their initial body weight after one year, versus 0.7% among the support and education (control) group, and also maintained a greater loss (6% of initial body weight versus 3.5% cent for the control group) at the end of the study.

Despite this, the risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart-related death was the same for both groups, suggesting that weight loss may not be enough to protect heart health in people with type 2 diabetes.

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However, intensive lifestyle intervention did result in a number of important health benefits such as reduced risks of kidney disease, depression and eye disease, improved glycemic control, reduced use of medications and hospitalizations, and greater initial improvements in fitness and all heart disease risk factors except LDL cholesterol.

The findings were presented this week at the American Diabetes Association’s annual scientific meeting in Chicago and published online June 24 in the New England Journal of Medicine .

American Medical ID is a proud partner of the American Diabetes Association.

What Is Atrial Fibrillation?

By Chris Iliades, MD. Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH. Posted to EverydayHealth.com. Re-posted to this blog for the educational purpose of informing many who have been recently diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and whose doctors have requested that they now wear a medical ID bracelet.

This type of irregular heartbeat affects millions of Americans. Understanding the causes and symptoms of atrial fibrillation can help you manage the condition and prevent additional complications.

tumblr_mam3nwrqNx1qamlr8o1_400Atrial fibrillation is a condition that affects millions of Americans. This type of irregular heart rhythm, also known as an arrhythmia, is the most common serious irregular heartbeat, especially in people over 60.

Your heart’s rhythm is normally controlled by a structure in the upper part of your heart called the sinoatrial node. This node sends an electrical signal to the rest of your heart that keeps your heart beating at about 60 to 100 beats a minute. This is known as your normal sinus rhythm.

In atrial fibrillation, the sinoatrial node does not direct the heartbeat. Rather, it causes heartbeats to start from many locations in upper chambers of the heart, or the atria. “These irregular heartbeats all over the atria cause the upper part of the heart to quiver like a bag of worms,” says Danya L. Dinwoodey, MD, a cardiologist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass.

The term atrial fibrillation refers to the quivering, or fibrillation, of the upper parts of the heart. It can cause your heart to beat very quickly and inefficiently, which can be dangerous.

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Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

The cause of atrial fibrillation can vary from person to person, and sometimes it’s difficult to determine. In many cases, there is a combination of causes. “The most common causes are high blood pressure or an abnormal heart valve,” explains Dr. Dinwoodey.

Other causes of atrial fibrillation include:

  • Coronary artery disease (the clogging of the arteries of the heart that may cause a heart attack)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart defects you are born with
  • Pericarditis (an infection of the lining of the sac that surrounds the heart)
  • An overactive thyroid gland

Risk Factors for Atrial Fibrillation

The biggest risk factor for atrial fibrillation is age. The condition occurs more often in people over 60, and the risk for developing it increases as you get older.

Other common risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Lung disease
  • Family history of atrial fibrillation
  • Heavy use of alcohol

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Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Not everyone who has atrial fibrillation experiences symptoms. “Some people are very aware of their symptoms and can tell right away when an episode of atrial fibrillation starts and stops,” Dinwoodey says. “Other people may not notice any symptoms. For people who have symptoms, the most common ones are decreased tolerance for exercise and feeling a flutter in the chest.”

Other symptoms of atrial fibrillation may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Tiredness

There are two different types of atrial fibrillation, and the frequency of symptoms varies with each type. Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation begins suddenly and often stops on its own. Persistent atrial fibrillation lasts for more than a week, and while it may stop on its own, it frequently requires treatment. Both types may become permanent over time.

If you believe that you are at risk for atrial fibrillation or if you think you’ve experienced an irregular heartbeat, make an appointment to get evaluated by your doctor. Atrial fibrillation can lead to serious problems and additional complications over time. Fortunately, there are many types of treatment that can help keep this condition under control.

The American Heart Association says in regards to Atrial Fibrillation:

Should I wear a medical alert bracelet?

In any emergency situation, having a patient’s medical history is very helpful. Be sure and write down the medication that you are taking and the dose.

Real Medical ID Life Story

969438_545868918784545_1447303586_nWhile at work one day, bleach solution was used to clean a blood spill. The smell of the bleach caused respiratory distress and my airway began to close. Thankfully, I made it to our emergency department just prior to my collapse. Our staff worked to stabilize me. I was then transported to an adult facility. Even though my friends in ER knew of my bleach allergy and latex sensitivity, many were not aware of my Multiple Sclerosis. My medical ID bracelet alerted them to the fact that I was taking various medications and had other concerns that would need to be addressed. Because of that day, I now have my medications and medical history stored in my phone as part of the “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contacts.

I have also experienced a Multiple Sclerosis exasperation in which I had great difficulty walking and my speech was affected. I simply couldn’t find the words to say. As I sat in a wheelchair in a local ER, slumped to one side from the weakness with my face slightly drawn and unable to clearly articulate my needs I was again very thankful for my medical ID bracelet. The triage nurse used my bracelet to help identify what was happening prior to my husband’s arrival. I had difficulty communicating with the ER physician, but because the nurse had seen (and paid attention to) my bracelet she spoke up for me. My bracelet provided her the opportunity to realize I needed an advocate at that moment. She was wonderful!

I never go anywhere without my medical bracelet. It has been invaluable to me by providing a voice when I cannot speak for myself. I now advocate for medical identification alerts for those I come in contact with who need them. I keep brochures and information about the various types of alerts (bracelets, necklace, watches, etc) so that I can provide them to others. My son, who developed a severe nut allergy, and my daughter, who has a severe reaction to an antibiotic, also wear medical ID bracelets. Our family is a huge supporter and proponent of the medical identification alerts!

Allergy Awareness Day at the Ballpark: Chicago

This just in from Chicago White Sox:

AMID_BlogPicThe Chicago White Sox will host an Allergy Awareness Day presented by Mylan, LP on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. against the Cleveland Indians.

Fans interested in purchasing tickets and seating in the peanut-free section should email or call Dustin Milliken at dmilliken@chisox.com or (312) 674-5186.

Make sure to wear your American Medical ID bracelet or necklace to the game!

What You Can Do to Make Life a Little Safer for Children with Food Allergies

This article was recently published in US News. The author, Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN, is a NYC-based registered dietitian whose clinical practice specializes in digestive disorders, Celiac Disease, and food intolerances.

Her personal blog, www.tamaraduker.com, focuses on healthy eating and gluten-free living.

It Takes a Village To Raise a Child (With Food Allergy)

kh_spring2011_story3African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” rings especially true for parents. Who among us hasn’t relied on others in our “village” for last-minute babysitting, help getting a stroller down stairs or grabbing a runaway toddler headed into the street?

For parents of the estimated 5.9 million children with food allergies nationwide, we villagers have an especially important supporting role: to help keep their kids safe from potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

It’s tempting for us parents who have dodged the food allergy bullet to dismiss this issue as “someone else’s problem.” Isn’t it hard enough to meet our own kids’ needs without worrying about someone else’s? In this context, restrictions on our own food options to accommodate kids with allergies may be viewed as an infringement on our rights: Why should we be inconvenienced by nut-free play spaces, daycares or schools just because someone else’s child has an allergy?

Parents of kids with food allergies, however, see the world through very different lenses. To them, each new school day, birthday party, class trip or play date is a potential minefield that could conclude with a harrowing trip to the emergency room. Forty percent of children with a food allergy have already experienced a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction.

Imagine, if you will, how terrifying an acute allergic reaction must be for both parent and child: vomiting; a tight, itchy rash or hives spreading across the body; face swelling up; maybe even trouble breathing or skin turning blue. If you think this isn’t something that concerns you as a parent of a child without allergies, I’d ask you to imagine instead how you’d feel if your kiddo’s peanut-butter paw prints on the jungle gym caused another child to have an anaphylactic reaction before your very eyes?

Food allergy is a serious problem in our collective village, and we all have to worry about it.

So I polled moms of kids with food allergies, asking: What do you wish we parents of kids without food allergies would do to help make your child safer? Here’s what they told me:

1. Take it seriously. As more and more people adopt restricted diets for reasons of digestive intolerance – avoiding ingredients like gluten, dairy, soy or fructose – some express weariness at having to cater to the increasingly demanding needs of their dinner companions, relatives or houseguests.

Many express skepticism about the medical necessity of such dietary restrictions and dismiss them as a lifestyle choice or flexible “food preference.” So let’s be clear: food allergy is NOT a lifestyle choice. Avoiding allergens can be a matter of life and death for allergic kids, and they depend on all of us – teachers, school staff, camp counselors, friends’ parents, babysitters, restaurant wait staff, candy-wielding bank tellers – to take their allergies seriously. Case in point: Someone goes to the emergency room for a food-related reaction every three minutes.

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2. Save your nuts for home (or car, or stroller or other personal spaces in which contact with other kids is likely to be limited). On a related note, if your child is snacking on nuts at any point in the day – whether at home or out – it’s a great idea to clean their hands and faces with soap and water or wet wipes (not just antibacterial gel, which doesn’t get rid of the protein) before letting them loose into a shopping cart, playground, school, library or other shared public space.

There’s a reason that nuts in particular are singled out for restriction in some public spaces: Peanuts and tree nuts are among the most likely allergens to trigger a severe reaction in people with food allergies. In fact, available data suggest that they account for the majority of fatal or near-fatal anaphylactic reactions in the United States. (Of course, other allergens – including milk and fish – can induce similarly severe reactions.)

In my household, nuts are a daily staple, whether in the form of almond-flour muffins, pistachios or peanut butter sandwiches. But I also keep a jar of sunflower seed or soy nut butter in the fridge for sandwiches or snacks destined for consumption in crowded, public kiddie places. It’s not at all inconvenient, my kids don’t even notice the difference, and I take advantage of these nut-free occasions as an excuse to add an extra bit of nutritional variety to our family’s diet. I’m told that parents of kids with food allergies appreciate such gestures more than we can imagine.

3. Share toys, not food. In our zealousness to raise selfless kids who share, we may be putting kids with food allergies at risk inadvertently. If a child you don’t know is hovering around your snacking kid, don’t let him share food unless that child’s caregiver has confirmed it’s OK.

Parents of younger children with allergies in particular depend on us villagers to help them control what goes into their kids’ mouths in that split second they’ve looked away. Relatedly, many parents of school-aged children with whom I spoke reported that, in their communities, classroom birthday parties are increasingly celebrated with tokens like stickers or pencils – rather than cupcakes. This ensures that all kids in the class can be included and helps keep the school environment safe for all.

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4. Talk to your kids about (food allergy) bullying. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that one-third of kids with a food allergy have been bullied because of their allergy. While all bullying can leave long-term emotional scars, food allergy bullying can pose a more immediate physical threat as well.

According to John Lehr, CEO of the non-profit group Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), food allergy bullying can sometimes take the form of a prank that can have harmful and potentially dangerous consequences. To raise awareness, FARE has developed a campaign called “Food Allergy Bullying: It’s Not a Joke,” with online video clips and resources for parents and teachers; the materials are available online at www.foodallergy.org.

Lehr points out that, nowadays, food is available everywhere and in every situation. For kids with food allergy, this means that risk is omnipresent. Their parents are on constant vigil for accidental exposure at every turn, and it can be an overwhelming task at times. The more educated about food allergy that we are as neighbors, friends, relatives and members of the greater community, the better support we can be to the guardians of our littlest villagers.

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American Medical ID is a proud partner of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). FARE works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including all those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in 13 children in the United States – or roughly two in every classroom.

June is National Safety Month

national-safety-month-ribbonEach June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and participate in National Safety Month. NSM is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.

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This year’s theme, “Safety Starts with Me,” was inspired by the pillar of Leadership and Employee Engagement from the Journey to Safety Excellence.Successful organizations engage everyone in safety and create a culture where people feel a personal responsibility not only for their own safety, but for that of their coworkers, family and friends. While leadership from the top is important, creating a culture where there is a sense of ownership of safety by all, makes everyone in the organization a safety leader.

American Medical ID plays a big part in the safety of many people with ongoing medical conditions. American Medical ID provides stylish and durable medical ID bracelets and necklaces that help communicate a person’s condition during an emergency. For more information, visit our website here.