Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions help support my small business, and my participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more about my participation in this program here. This article does not offer (and should not be interpreted as) medical advice, and is for informational purposes only. Always speak to your doctor regarding specifics related to your medical care.
Summer can be tons of fun, but it comes with some unique challenges for food allergy families. Here are a few basic tips for staying safe with food allergies this summer!
1. Keep your epinepherine temperature controlled.
You may find yourself asking: What temperature should I keep my epi pen at?
Your epi pen should ideally be kept at room temperature, but that can be challenging during the hot summer months. So, how can you keep your epi pens temperature controlled*? Here are a few tips!
2. Prioritize skin care during the summer months, but always read labels on skincare products
Skincare is vital all year round, especially for those with sensitive skin and/or food allergies. Broken skin allows allergens an access point to cause contact reactions, or can result in rashes that could be confused for allergies. Summer sun, water play, heat, and sunscreen are all harsh on skin, making prioritizing skincare particularly critical during the warm months.
Be sure to check out my top summer skin care tips for kids with sensitive skin here.
However, skincare and cosmetic products are often the source of nut and seed oils, as well as other top allergens. That means you should always read the labels of your sunscreen and other skincare products in order to ensure they do not contain your allergens.
Sesame oil is one common ingredient in a variety of skincare products that may be hard to identify, because it is not always labeled clearly; sesame is commonly referred to as sesamum indicum on cosmetic labels. Be sure you know any and all names for your allergens, so you know specifically what to look for.
3. As always read every label, even if it is a product you have consumed before, and bring safe foods with you.
4. Always communicate about your allergy needs and comfort levels with others around you.
If you have a child with a food allergy, be sure to communicate with any caregivers about allergy action plans. If you will be the caregiver, or if you have food allergies, it is still important to communicate about your comfort level if you will be in close proximity to others. Why? Many skincare and cosmetic products contain common allergens. If there will be food present, there is also a concern of cross contact or accidental exposure. It is always a good idea to communicate about food allergies with those you spend time with, because it allows others to take precautions with where they put their plates down, where they eat (and how they clean up their space), and what products they wear.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER TO BRING TWO EPI PENS WITH YOU!!!
You should always have at least two epi pens on you at all times. This ensures you will have a second dose should the first not be effective. That is particularly relevant during summer months, when many travel to destinations that are far from emergency services and/or hospitals. And don't worry; epinephrine is a safe medication! Never be afraid to follow your allergy action plan, even if it includes the administration of epinephrine.
Be sure to share this post to help keep other food allergy patients safe and healthy this summer!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commisions earned help suppport my small business, and my participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more here. Nothing contained in this article constitutes medical advice. Always speak with your doctor for information about your family's health.
Chances are, someone you know, and love, has a food allergy. With how common food allergies are, you wouldn't think there would be a lot of misinformation out there. And yet, myths abound.
Food Allergy Awareness Week runs from May 9th to May 15th, 2021, and May is Asthma and Food Allergy Awareness Month.
In honor of the occasion, and in line with my mission to continue providing evidence based parenting and caregiving solutions, I've put together a list of 8 common food allergy myths, and the related facts. How many of these myths have you heard?
Myth: Food allergies and intolerances are the same.
Fact: Food allergies and intolerances are not the same thing. Thet are two separate medical conditions, affecting two separate systems. Food allergies are the result of an immunological response. In contrast, intolerances are a gasterointestinal disorder.
Food intolerances are also not typically threatening. In contrast, food allergies can be.
Myth: If you have a mild allergy, you can eat small amounts of your allergen.
1. There is no such thing as a mild food allergy, only mild reactions.
2. If you have a food allergy, you should avoid ingesting any amount of your allergen.
Never, ever feed someone with food allergies any amount of their allergen, for any reason. Food allergy support groups are filled with anecdotes of family, friends, and educators giving people their allergen because "a little bit can't hurt". "A little bit" of someone's allergen can be enough to kill them. If you do not understand someone's allergen, ASK. Do not, for any reason, make assumptions or executive decisions about what a food allergy patient can or should eat. Ever.
Myth: Not all food allergies are life threatening. Peanut allergies are the most severe.
Fact: Any food allergy has the potential to be life threatening.
Myth: If you have always had mild reactions to your allergen, you are not at risk for anaphylaxis.
Fact: Past reactions generally do not predict future reactions. Any food allergy patient can be at risk for anaphylaxis!
Myth: There are only 8 food allergens: peanuts, treenuts, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish.
Fact: There are more than 160 identified food allergens!!!! With the passage of the FASTER Act in 2021, there are now 9 top allergens (#9 is sesame). The FASTER Act goes into effect 1/1/23.
Myth: You can tell if a product is safe for a food allergy patient to consume by reading the label.
Fact: Labels can tell you if a product is NOT safe, but not if it is safe. Companies only have to disclose if their product contains the Top 8 allergens, and do not have to disclose risk of cross contact.
Myth: You should only epi if your throat closes, or you can't breath
Fact: Signs of anaphylaxis vary. Speak to your doctor, or see FARE's action plan to learn more. You'll notice that symptoms are not just confined to the respiratory system. Allergic reactions can affect the skin, nervous system, cardiorespiratory system, eyes, and even the gasterointestinal tract. My reactions to peanuts have varied from hives to an itchy throat and swelling of my lips and mouth. I have also experienced severe headaches. I have family members who have had severe GI symptoms, but no skin or respiratory symptoms. Other family members have profuse hives, GI symptoms, and wheezing. Knowing all the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, and acting early by administering epinephrine, can save a life.
Your individualized action plan will be the best source of information of when to administer epinephrine, so be sure to obtain one from your allergist if you do not have one (and follow it closely).
EPI FIRST, EPI FAST!!!
*When prescribed by a doctor, administered under the guidance of a medical professional, and/or used as directed. Always speak with a medical professional to see if epi is right for you. Also note, in some places, epinephrine is a component of first aid kits. In these regions, epinephrine has been deemed safe enough to administer when anaphylaxis is suspected. Do not rely on this article to dictate if epi is the correct medication for you, or your family.
Want to learn even more about food allergies? Be sure to visit Food Allergy Research and Education! Also, check out my list of 5 things I've learned as a food allergy parent, and visit my food allergy portal for even more food allergy family resources and blog posts!
Food Allergy Research and Education also has a section on food allergy myths and misconceptions. You can find that here.
Be sure to share to help raise awareness!
With food allergy awareness week around the corner, I am back with a new printable available for immediate download. This free food allergy advocacy resource has 100% no strings attached! Why?
Because raising awareness about food allergies is life saving work, and to make a difference we need to include our children in the discussion.
Food allergy bullying is a common problem, and one way to combat it is with early education. Food allergies are a life threatening disability. There is nothing funny about that.
You can find more tips for addressing bullying over food allergies here.
Stay tuned, because even more printables are coming soon!!! And be sure to participate in Food Allergy Awareness Week from May 9th - May 15th. Food Allergy Research and Education has a ton of activities planned; you can find the entire schedule here.
Or, check out my last blog post for access to tons of graphics, an overview of FARE's event schedule, and more!
And, of course, the real reason you came to this post.... the printable! You can download it via the image, or click on the file below.
Free Kids' Food Allergy Awareness Printable for Immediate Download
Be sure to share this post to help other families raise awareness about food allergies!
It is almost that time of year again; food allergy awareness week 2021 is mere weeks away! Food Allergy Research and Education has loads of great digital events planned for the occassion, and as always, I will be sharing tons of food allergy content.
Leading up to Food Allergy Awareness Week, which takes place from May 9th - May 15th, I'm resharing some of last year's content about food allergies, as well as other information about how to participate this year yourself!
If you are a newer reader, make sure to catch up on some of my articles about managing food allergies from 2020! You can find those below:
2021 has welcomed a much anticipated change for food allergy families... The passage of the FASTER Act!!
While you will be hearing a lot about this throughout Food Allergy Awareness Week (if you haven't already), catch up in advance by watching my video about why this law is so important to families like mine!
Grab Your Graphics!!!
Last year I also shared a number of infographs and awareness graphics. The best way to use these are to share on social media, so I've linked to the images so you can share them with friends, family, and followers to raise awareness. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! Or, feel free to download this one (be sure to tag me on social media if you use it):
Watch my MOCHA Interview with FARE!
Last November I was honored to be a guest on MOCHA's Thanksgiving episode. Learn why I was (and still am) grateful as a food allergy parent:
Check Out My Food Allergy Portal
Follow FARE and participate in their great activities throughout the week!
FARE has a number of great digital events planned throughout Food Allergy Awareness Week. Here is a list of them all (be sure to visit their website to get all the details)
You can follow FARE on most major social media platforms for updates and tons of great content:
And be sure to share this round up!!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support my small business. You can learn more about this program, and all my site's terms and conditions, here.
Celebrating holidays with food allergies can be a challenge. Everyday foods and activities may not be safe, and hosting family can mean less control over what you child comes into contact with. Whether you are the parent of a child with food allergies, have food allergies yourself, or are looking to accommodate someone with food allergies; whether you celebrate Easter as a holy day, a secular spring event, or somewhere in between; this guide will help you celebrate Easter safely.
Basic Tips for Managing Food Allergies
Whether it is Easter, another holiday, or a regular day, there are several things that can be done to help stay safe when managing food allergies:
Decorate Easter Eggs (without real eggs!)
Eggs are a top 8 allergen, and that means many families feel dying easter eggs isn't an option. Luckily, I found these great Merry Art Dyeable Decorating Easter Eggs! I haven't used them, but the reviews look incredibly promising.
Dyeing Easter eggs not your thing? Try decorating fake ones with paint, glitter, or anything else your heart desires! You can find eggs made out of a number of materials, like thesewooden ones.
Or, create paper easter eggs using construction paper (and cardboard or cardstock if you choose), scissors, glue, glitter, and pom poms! Be sure to download my egg stencil and print it off to create the perfect Easter egg shape!
Fill Your Easter Eggs with Safer Options, and Use Plastic Eggs instead of Real Ones
Candy Free Trinkets for Easter Eggs
Candy free options are excellent not only for children with allergies, but those who are too young to eat candy (though be cautious, many small trinkets are choking hazards, so I recommend sticking to things like stickers). They are also excellent options for families who want to avoid too much sugar, have metabolic conditions, or food sensitivities.
Here are some highly rated options your family will love!
Allergy Friendlier Candy Options
Our family loves Yum Earth goodies, including their seasonal varieties! Here are some made especially for spring!
Allergy Friendly Easter Basket Ideas
Forget the chocolate bunnies! Keep kids with food allergies in you family safe with these food free Easter basket ideas! Here is a list to get you inspired about what to put in your baskets this year, plus a few highly rated products that your kids will love!
1. Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals are always an adorable hit in Easter baskets. We usually put at least on in our child's and our niece's!
Puzzles make great activities for kids of all ages, and fit nicely into baskets. We love wooden puzzles, and Melissa and Doug brand puzzles in our home! There are tons of great and educational options to choose from out there. Here are a few!
What kid doesn't love bubbles? They are a great spring activity; a reason to get outside, enjoy the nice weather, and focus on the light spring breeze! With a toddler, we love mess free Fubbles! The design of the container prevents large spills... and if you have a child, you know exactly what I am talking about!
4. Art Supplies and/or Stickers
Art supplies and stickers are another option that we love for Easter baskets. Whatever your child's age, there are plenty of amazing options out there!
Click on the images below to view some fun options for kids of all ages, or here to find all sorts of amazing Crayola products!
Books are always a great gift, if you ask my family. We are all avid readers, and even my toddler gets excited when he gets a new book. Here are a few spring options, but if your child is older, feel free to opt for the latest chapter book in their favorite series, or another hot read for the year!
6. Other Fun, Smaller Toys
Easter baskets are an opportunity to give your child a new, fun toy to freshen up their collection. We don't always do a toy in our child's basket, but do sometimes give gifts to other children in the family (while aunts/uncles/grandparents do the same for our child). It is a way to add something special to the Easter basket they've already received!
And don't forget the basket!!!!
We prefer getting something that can be reused year after year. it is more eco friendly, and makes for a special tradition when my child gets to pull out their basket again from the prior year.
No matter what your Easter plans; whether you give Easter baskets, do an Easter egg hunt, go to church, or just have a nice brunch; when managing food allergies the most important thing is to be INCLUSIVE. Years from now child won't remember what was in their Easter basket, but they will remember whether they felt left out or apart of the fun and festivities.
Managing food allergies is difficult, but with a bit of creativity, you can celebrate holidays safely.
Be sure to share to help others make this Easter food allergy friendly!
You can find more resources for managing food allergies here.
Or, check out other great season activities for your family!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support my small business. You can learn more about this program, and all this site's terms and conditions here. Additionally, I periodically receive gifted products from Yum Earth. All opinions are my own. We love their products, use them in our home, recommend them to all our friends and family, and genuinely believe in their brand!
Holidays can be tough for kids with food allergies, and Valentine's Day is no different. Here are some ideas to keep your Valentine's Day school card exchange or party food allergy friendly!
Tips for Food Allergy Families
1. Communication is key! Speak with the classroom teacher in advance. Discuss any concerns about food allergies, and offer to provide information about food allergies for the teacher to send home to other families.
2. Offer to do any baking for the class party, or send in special treats just for your child.
3. Plan ahead. Speak with your child about how to stay safe at school. Make sure your child's epi pens are not expired, and check in with the school to make sure they are up to date on the details of your child's reaction plan. This is good practice ahead of any celebration that may revolve around food.
4. Refer toFood Allergy Research and Education's website for tons more resources!
Tips for Non-Food Allergy Families
1. If you are sending in food items to share, make sure their are food allergy friendly. Or, better yet, provide nonfood treats!
2. Nut free doesn't mean the product will be entirely nut free, either. Always check if the product is from a nut free facility.
3. Nut free does not mean allergen free. Allergen/Classroom Friendly does not mean allergen free.
4. Ask your child's teacher if there are any food allergies in the class you should be aware of.
Ideas for Card Exchange Goodies
These highly rated Amazon choice products are sure to impress your child's classmates!
Allergy Friendly Valentines Candy
We love YumEarth products! They are Top 9 free, which makes them perfect for our family!
Printable Valentine's Cards
Feel free to download this cute food allergy friendly Valentine's card!!!
Or, download one that isn't related to food allergies!
Allergy Friendly Baking
Store bought baked goods are frequently come into cross contact with allergens. As a result, food allergy families like mine usually opt to bake our own brownies, cakes, and cookies. One of our favorite recipes is this nut free brownie recipe (we do not use the frosting recipe, but you certainly can if you choose). When made with your favorite safe flour, butter, and other preferred products, it is easy to modify to be cross contact free. It is not wheat,,/gluten dairy, or egg allergy safe, unfortunately, but I'm speaking to some of my blogger friends to get an amazing Top 9 option that I'll share ASAP.
You can check out our preferred products here, or visit myfood allergy portal to get recommendations for food allergy support groups where you can ask for recommendations based on your individual allergies and comfort levels.
We topped our Valentine's brownies with pink vanilla frosting, Valentine's sprinkles, and delicious Yum Earth Valentine's gummies!
My child's school celebrates many occasions by reading.... no food involved! If your child loves books as much as mine, or if you are looking for books to share with your child's class, check out my list of highly rated Valentine's Day Books for Kids!
Share Valentine's Day Books
Want more great food allergy content? Check out my food allergy family portal here!
Help keep kids with food allergies safe this Valentine's Day by sharing!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Association, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog (a small business!!). You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
Food allergies are tough to manage on your average day, let alone on holidays or during social events. And while this year holidays look a bit safer for those not having guests coming to celebrate (see the incident with my mother's lip gloss for all you need to know on this subject), even those who are celebrating with immediate family should still be concerned about things like season treats(which may be manufactured differently than the usual products), and potential for allergens in nonfood gifts (like lotions or cosmetics).
Whatever your holidays look like this year, here are some tips to help keep your family safe!
Read the labels, every time!
Even if you have used a product for years, manufacturing practices can change at any time. This is especially true for seasonal specialty products (think those Christmas versions of favorite candies). If you are concerned about cross contact or an allergen not in the top 8, be sure to contact the company directly! There is no legal obligation to list for these in ingredients. Furthermore, cosmetics and lotions may be held to a different standard than food.
If you are getting together with guests outside your household, volunteer to do the cooking, or host.
Even with clear communication, mistakes can happen. Ensure foods are safe by doing the cooking, bringing your own food to a celebration, or (best yet, if you are insistent on getting together with others), hosting. Hosting ensures that you are in control of procedures to limit cross contact (CC) in prep areas. You can also bring your own plates, utensils, or plan to use disposable products to further limit issues with CC.
Clearly communicate your comfort level with anyone you are gathering with; never assume others understand cross contact concerns!
Not comfortable with shared lines or facilities? Communicate this in clear language. Make sure to express concerns with cosmetics or body products that could transfer and cause a reaction as well.
Make sure anyone involved with caretaking has a clear understanding of the patient's allergy action plan.
Better yet, bring a copy as a reference as well as having clear discussions with all appropriate parties! Never leave your child in the care of anyone who does not fully understand the steps to follow in the event of a reaction.
Make sure cosmetics/body products are safe, not just food!
Food isn't the only thing that contains allergens. Many cosmetics and lotions contain nut and seed oils. Never assume a product is safe because you can't eat it!
Finally, always carry 2 epipens, and when in doubt, it is always better to epi than leave the reaction to chance*!
Always follow your individual action plan and listen to your doctor's recommendations first and foremost! Guides like this are great, but your practitioner will know the best steps to keep you or your child safe.
Looking for tips on Top 9 free holiday candy? We love YumEarth!!! Their products (other than candy corn, which is only available around Halloween) are free from Top 9, and their manufacturing facilities are free of Top 9 as well. Best yet? They are delicious!
Be sure to share this to help keep other food allergy patients safe this holiday season!
And be sure to check out Food Allergy Research and Education's webpage to learn more about food allergies. Or check out my food allergy portal for even more about managing food allergies, including recipes, other blog posts, great lists, product recommendations, and more!
This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for being included in this amazing web series episode by Food Allergy Research and Education. Check out the entire video below!
Celebrate Halloween with free themed coloring pages, and help communicate with Trick or Treaters or party guests about important allergen information with easy to read alert cards.
If you love these, be sure to check out my subscriber's library for tons of other great (and free) printables!
Food Allergy Alert Cards
Let Trick or Treaters or guests know what goodie bags are safe for those with food allergies by pairing these cards with clear bags. Or, use them to display in front of trick or treat bowls.
Disclaimer: Always read individual labels before ingesting if you have a food allergy, or are giving food to someone with a food allergy.
And check out even more Halloween themed printables in the exclusive and completely free subscribers only resource library.
Just some of what you will find there! Teal Pumpkin Project inspired printables, 10 Little Pumpkins printables, more coloring pages, Halloween worksheets for elementary aged kids, binder book activities, and more!
Love this? Be sure to share with others!
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Many readers will already recognize the Teal Pumpkin for food allergies, but have you heard about the blue bucket for autism? If you have, there are a few things you should know to help you understand why requiring a blue bucket to have a child participate in Halloween is in bad taste, and why disclosing your child's diagnosis with a blue bucket is problematic.
If you are new to my blog and social media feeds, be sure to first take a look at the following resources to help you understand the issues associated with the blue bucket for autism initiative:
There are many, many reasons that Trick or Treaters may behave differently than your expectations. Obviously food allergies are one I discuss a lot, and autism is another. But there are even more reasons Trick or Treaters need and deserve kindness, and why you should be inclusive on Halloween; no matter who comes to your door. And ultimately, it is absolutely none of your business what those reasons are.
About "This Home is Inclusive"
Not all kids talk. It isn't your business.
Not all kids like costumes. It isn't your business.
Not all kids can eat, or even like candy. It isn't your business.
Kids may take a long time to make a choice for any number of reasons. It isn't your business.
Someone's diagnosis is none of your business. Parents/Trick or Treaters shouldn't have to disclose a diagnosis to have their child participate in Trick or Treat. Not all disabilities are visible. Someone's neurotype definitely isn't. Please be inclusive on Halloween, and everyday. No child should feel left out because of adults' expectations. Don't make children put on a show for free candy. It is just plain mean.
Now that you have some background on why inclusivity matters, perhaps consider putting up a sign saying your home is inclusive to everyone on Halloween (food allergy patients, autistics, etc.). The idea for blue pumpkins to show a Trick or Treater is autistic was developed for a reason. Parents of autistics felt that there was a need to disclose a diagnosis for their child to be accepted. How awful is that?! You don't want to be one of those people, right? Of course not.
You can use the sign below to share that your home is inclusive for everyone. Also feel free to share the poem below (with appropriate crediting, of course!).
Free Printables Available for Immediate Download
There are even more food allergy awareness signs in the subscriber's resource library!
"This Home is Inclusive" (Poem Text)
By the Mindfully Scientific Mama
We won't make you ask for a trick or a treat.
No blue buckets required to get a sweet.
No one is too old or too young to join in.
And you don't need a costume to give us a grin.
It isn't our business if you can talk or cannot.
Or why you want a trinket put into your pot.
Halloween is for everyone,
No if, ands, or buts.
Our home is inclusive, we won't keep our door shut!
Love this? Be sure to share!!
May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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Disclaimer: Content on this website is meant for informational and educational purposes. Nothing found on The Mindfully Scientific Mama constitutes medical or psychological advice. Always consult a profession in the respect field for advice specific to your situation. Read more about this site's terms and conditions here.