If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will be well aware that both my daughters have food allergies, which has been a big inspiration for this blog and for the way I cook at home. It is very stressful looking after children with serious allergies – I’m not talking ‘oh she can have a bit but it gives her an upset tummy’, I’m talking about hives, vomiting, wheezyness, swelling, sneezing, itching….. Somehow, we’ve got used to this situation – it’s not easy and certain circumstances are particularly hard – parties, eating out, other people! However, it does have an upside – I get an enormous amount of satisfaction out of making yummy allergy friendly food for my gorgeous daughters, and they certainly eat less processed, unhealthy food than your average child, but it is definitely a topic that is constantly on our minds.
I had thought that I’d got my head around the whole allergy thing, but Little S’s peanut challenge last Friday has sent my head spinning. We’ve known Little S is peanut (among other things) allergic since she was 6 months old, so we’ve never had an accidental reaction, and until Friday she had never been in close contact with a peanut. Today confirmed that she is definitely allergic to peanuts, she reacted within 30 seconds to the smallest amount of peanut protein (approximately 1/12th of 1 peanut) and whilst she didn’t get near to suffering anaphylaxis, she was still very ill. Who knows what a proper mouthful could do. I guess it’s just brought home the fact that peanuts are a danger that aren’t going away. We’ve been advised to take NO risks – no ‘may contain traces of’ products, no ‘made in a factory that uses’ products, no food cooked in groundnut oil, no eating out in restaurants that use peanuts. It’s all good, sound advice, but I feel freshly stressed – I need to keep Little S safe, but something as silly as a little bit of a peanut could make her seriously ill. I think back to potentially dangerous situations that we have averted (most notably when on her first day of nursery (having stated they were a nut free nursery school) they got a massive sack of peanuts out of the cupboard for the children to feed the birds!!!!) but also wonder about what dangers are to come…
It’s not the worst chronic condition in the world, but it is an added ingredient to the stress of being a parent, and will only become more stressful as she grows up and we have less control.
I feel that I have to do something to help – something to make Little S and Big S’s lives easier, some way of helping allergy sufferers live just like anyone else …… Watch this space…..