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Handling Severe Food Allergies Away from Home


Replies to: Handling Severe Food Allergies Away from Home

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 20,639 Senior Member
    If a generation of kids can always have their phones with them, your son can learn to have his epi with him in a backpack or medical fanny pack or man-purse or whatever he likes. Or he stays with you 24/7. His choice.

    Even the queen of England carries her purse. Nothing in it, but she has it.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 74,632 Senior Member
    https://community.kidswithfoodallergies.org/blog/what-are-your-options-for-epinephrine-auto-injectors describes the various epinephrine auto injectors, if you want to shop by size/shape for ease of carrying.

    You may want to pay attention to peanut desensitization clinical trials and such, which aim to get the patients to the point that the risk from minor cross contamination or peanut dust is lower than it was before.
  • Waldo755Waldo755 Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    I have learned that I need to trust my son -- he is 18 years old and knows his situation. He is severely allergic to sesame, so much so that even kissing a girl that had eaten sesame hours earlier sent him to the ER. He has several epi pens, and I just pray that he does take them. I have a feeling that he does not, but I need to trust. Luckily, he can detect sesame in foods as his tongue goes numb quickly.

    It is stressful, but they need to learn how to live with it.
  • bcwmcwbcwmcw Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    My son has a severe peanut allergy and is a senior in college now. He’s been carrying his own Epipen since he little and now it’s just like having his keys, wallet or phone (and has another one in his backpack, his car and at his girlfriend’s apt.). The only times he’s ever been questioned about it were when he was studying abroad and going to bars that patted him down (I didn’t want to know why he went to bars that patted him down...). He learned to say “It’s medicine for my peanut allergy” in several different languages.

    Start teaching your kid now. He’s going to have to learn to take charge of it.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,837 Forum Champion
    Some ideas:

    Make it more of his problem. Right now, when he goes out,99% of the time he will be fine. Its that 1% he has to be prepared for. Teens are notorious for not being able to consider the level of danger.
    So make it his problem if he forgets it. Tell him that you want him to be able to go to Jamaica and to college, but that he has to be able to have his epipen with him at all times as the environment will be much less controlled as it has been growing up. So to prepare for that, you want him to have his epipen with him at all times now.
    Say that if he forgets once, then you will interrupt what he is doing and bring it to him.
    if he forgets a second time, then he has to come home from the activity.
    Tell him you don't want to punish him, but if he can remember any time where he has eaten the allergen and how bad that was,...you want to prevent that. But he has to take charge.

    Also have a checklist for him...Phone? Check. Epipen? Check. Wallet? Check. Keys? Check.
    Have him brainstorm how he can carry everything. Cargo pants? Something that attaches to his belt? Backpack?

    Keep in mind that for Jamaica that the epipen might get hot...so he might want a frio pack or somethign to keep it at the right temperature.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,627 Senior Member
    Would an epipen pouch work? They go around the neck. There are leather ones at Etsy.
  • greenbuttongreenbutton Registered User Posts: 2,664 Senior Member
    OP, I feel your pain. Mine takes a highly reactive medicine that keeps him from full sun, and he wanted to spend two weeks hiking in New Mexico with friends at 17. I said show me that you are ready in the next week. And of course, he still failed to wear the hat, the sunscreen,etc, so I said "Nope, you aren't ready". Like an anaphylatic reaction, we are talking life threatening here, so it's hard to just hope for the best.

    It is the hardest thing in the world, and I hope he learns to take care of himself properly. Keep working at it, with an eye towards him having ownership and responsibility. For the record, my son's best friend is VERY allergic and when he forgot his epipen, I made him call his mom, who brought it over, and we pulled him from the group to give it to him. We did that two more times before he remembered on his own.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,269 Senior Member
    edited January 22
    The problem is that as they learn to take responsibility, they make mistakes. And it take a bad situation to really "get it." For those of us who have kid with life-threatening problems, it is a dilemma. What I do know that our children cannot be by our side forever.

    I tell my kid that engineers think about worst case scenarios. If they didn't we would have more bridges and buildings collapsing. With medical issues like this, our kids need to think like engineers.

    Unfortunately they are at an age of denial and feelings of invulnerability.
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 9,337 Senior Member
    Denial- for sure. Feelings of invulnerability- absolutely. But practicing when the stakes are low (i.e. kid is in middle school, so parent is driving, nagging, is the backstop every time you leave the house) is a good way to train the muscles to take over by HS. I know a college kid with CF; boy, is that disease time-intensive to manage. His parents started transitioning responsibility for the regular stuff early; he was clearly ready to move away for college although I'm sure their hearts were in their mouths.

    OP- what does your son want? To move out after he graduates from college? Then let him know (lovingly) that he's got a couple of months to prove to you that he is fully in control of his own care. And that showing you that he's stepped up is the next step.
  • BookLvrBookLvr Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    I have a cousin who has a severe peanut allergy. A couple thoughts:

    1) With regard to airlines, CALL AHEAD. Most airlines will in fact be willing to accommodate and ask passengers NOT to open anything with peanuts either within a several row radius of your student or on the entire plane. The airlines do not want an emergency at 30,000 feet any more than you do.

    2) It is absolutely reasonable to expect a teenager to carry a small bag everywhere. I agree with @twoinanddone that if teens can remember to carry their phones everywhere, they can carry their epipens everywhere. My husband sometimes carries a "murse" (man purse) if he has several items. There are a lot of styles, with the messenger bag/satchel and the day pack being two of the most popular, and a lot of them are very handsome. I would have him throw in his phone, his epi, and some guaranteed safe snacks so he doesn't get tempted to eat, say, a cookie or granola bar with questionable ingredients.

    Best wishes to your son on his trip! Sounds exciting!
  • MaterSMaterS Registered User Posts: 1,790 Senior Member
    IME American Airlines and United Airlines will not make any accommodations for a peanut allergy. We just flew United two weeks ago. They said it violates your privacy to announce there is a peanut allergy on board.
  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 Registered User Posts: 753 Member
    American Airlines allows pre-board if you have a peanut allergy (announced Nov 2018). My S flew American from west coast to east coast last week and pre-boarded with no issues.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 74,481 Senior Member
    edited January 22
    @Rivet2000 what good does pre board do if the person seated next to you has a peanut butter sandwich as a snack? Not sure how that solves the allergy problem. Could you explain?
  • bcwmcwbcwmcw Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    My son is a huge baseball fan. Peanuts and baseball go together. We’ve never had an issue asking people to be careful with shells, and it’s easy to carry some wipes to clean the seat. I’ll admit the scariest day of my life was the first time he went to a game on his own, but he’s done it a zillion times now and knows he has to be careful. His friends know the drill, too. Finding restaurants where he and his friend with celiac can both eat is always a treat!
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,627 Senior Member
    I know it's too late for the OP, but there a fair amount of evidence that peanut allergies can be prevented by introducing peanuts to kids early. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/02/23/388450621/feeding-babies-foods-with-peanuts-appears-to-prevent-allergies
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