Tales From A Twin Mom:
An Open Letter To The Lunch Packing Parents
Growing up, I was never aware of the people with food allergies surrounding me. Apparently, food allergies are surging for some unknown reason. That’s scary. A 2013 study by the CDC reported that food allergies among children increased 50% between 1997 and 2011. Obviously, some precautions had to be taken as a result.
I didn’t really have any food allergies as a child, and most of what I knew was that some kids were just a little uncomfortable from dairy products. Nowadays, it’s just nuts; yes, pun intended, but there’s nothing funny about it. Nut allergies can cause a reaction called anaphylaxis, which may include swelling of the tongue or throat, an increased heart rate, a drop in blood pressure, and/or constriction of the airway.
It’s scary how fast this can take place. It’s so frightening, that many school cafeterias across the country have become “peanut free” and no longer prepare school lunches that contain peanut/tree nuts! I happen to know that our children’s cafeteria has a nut free table for anyone that needs it. I know this because my child has a tree nut allergy. I found out about the allergy the hard way-after a reaction that sent me flying to the local hospital in record time. I had no Epi-Pen, no warning, no information. Now I have everything I need, and Epi-Pens everywhere.
My daughter doesn’t sit at the table at my request; she knows very well she has this allergy and knows what to stay away from. I didn’t want to make her confine herself to that table in case it secluded her from her friends, but she sits there because her friends have to anyway.
After speaking to several parents of children with nut allergies, they said the one thing they would love non-allergic children (and their parents) to know is that sharing their food can be deadly. “We don’t care if your child eats peanut butter and jelly and nothing else, but please educate them on the dangers that everyone else is facing,” said one mother with two nut allergic children. It is a life and death lesson that we shouldn’t only be teaching in the event of an allergy. “They all know there is a nut free table in the cafeteria by now,” said another mom. “Shouldn’t they know why that is so very important as well?”
What do you think? If you have children with a nut (or any other) allergy, is there something you want everyone else to know? If your children don’t have an allergy, do they understand the danger to others?