Re: March Preschoolers
posted at 3/30/2014 11:43 AM EDT
IPW, does he go to childcare? I think so, (I can't remember) make sure they have 1 or 2 there. Also, please get an epipen trainer and learn how to use it and then SHOW your son's teachers and the administrative staff how to use an epipen and have them practice using one. And tell them the words he might use if he has the reaction - he might say spicy, he might say hot, and to trust him that if he is upset and doesn't want to eat it then to listen and not force. Because if something makes your mouth feel spicy then you shouldn't have to keep trying it. (of course, not for something you know he's had 100 times before (broccoli) and he needs to keep trying it, this isn't a pass to never eat food again, LOL).
Better yet, get the training DVD from FAAN ("It only takes one bite" is the title, I think) and watch it, and ask if your director will show your son's teachers and watch it herself. It's about 15 minutes long, then they'll practice using the trainer on their thigh until it's no big deal and they aren't squeamish about the "needle". (by the way, you don't see a needle until after you've used the epipen, but everyone gets freaky about "I can't use needles, I dont' "do" needles, blah blah). But I make my teachers take the epipen trainer, and actuallly push it into their thigh - you'd be amazed how they don't hold it right, don't push hard enough, or just get plain old nervous about it. Time to be nervous about using it is during training, not when you need to use it. And I've also had a teacher use the epipen on a child after taking my training, and not hesitating and 2nd guessing herself, so it works!
Also, the epipen should NOT be locked in the director's office, or the nurse's (for elementary school) office. Period. I hate that "medication needs to be locked away" rule when it comes to epipens! If the director is out for a day, and the Asst. Dir is also out (yes, it happens, we get sick, too) then what happens?!?!? The epipens must go with him everywhere he goes, which means in the class emergency backpack they take on walks, to the park, on field trips, and that they use to evacuate the center with. (because if you evacuate for some reason, you never know when you'll be allowed back in the building, and he must not be separated from his epipen). Then you must remember to have one/two in your purse, keep one in the house, and your husband has to take one with him when he's alone with the kids. I don't know how a man carries an epipen without a purse, but whatever.
It will be fine, there are many of us who are old and grey with allergies, but you will learn to read the labels on food. Watch out for regular breads that have nut flour in them (like the 5000 grain ones) that they sell at the grocery store - I mean like pepperidge farm or another one, which has almond flour in it. Of course, almond flour is probably fine for your guy, just not for me!
And of course, make sure he knows he can't eat cashews because he is allergic and they make him very very sick. Don't say "he doesn't like them" because you don't want him to wonder if he does and try them. And model for him - "Before you may eat the cookies at this party, I'm going to check the ingredients to see if they are ok to eat. Mary, did you make the cookes? Yum, they look good - can you tell me whether you put any nut or nut flavoring or nut flour in them? Oh, you bought them from Stop n Shop, may I read the box to see what's in them? He's allergic to cashews." Always said with a smile. And then, yes, go right into the kitchen, find the box and read the label. (watch out for chinese and thai food - they use cashews and peanuts, but if they don't put them on, the food is fine, I love pad thai! )
The goal is that at 5 yrs old he'll be able to say "I'm allergic to cashews, they make me sick. Does this x have any cashews in it?" as clear as day. I will say, the hardest time for me was my teenage years - I hated having to call myself out in a group and go through this big song and dance at a restaurant, it was embarrassing, people looked at me, etc. That was in the 70s and 80s, however, when restaurants didn't know from allergies. Now I've had chefs walk me through the entire buffet line to tell me what is and isn't safe, etc.! And that's a standing comment on our Open Table thing when we make a reservation "My wife has an allergy to tree nuts." and they read that thing!