Food Allergy Living Blog

Living With Food Allergies

Food Allergies and Dining Out

Posted 7.19.17 | Guest Blogger

When it’s time to dine out, every parent with a child who suffers from food allergies has a hard time letting go of kitchen control.  This is because allergen avoidance is always the most desirable form of prevention and this is often easily accomplished in the comfort of your home. However, a late soccer practice, meeting, or simply just wanting to enjoy the cuisine of a favorite local restaurant can make avoidance difficult. Eating out puts the responsibility of allergen on both the diner and the restaurant staff.

 

Research shows that there is ample opportunity for restaurants to improve their food allergy safety practices. According to the Food and Drug Administration Food Code, the person-in-charge at an establishment (i.e., the manager) should be knowledgeable about food allergies. We cannot guarantee that all staff will be knowledgeable, but that shouldn't discourage families from eating out. We want our children to be able to enjoy the typical and “normal” parts of everyday life, and there are a number of steps that we can take to be safe.

 

Fortunately, many large restaurant chains have picked up on how important it is to make sure they offer options and service to families managing food allergies. Many have standardized menus, which often include ingredient information, which can provide you and your family with safe allergy-friendly food options.

 

Do Your Research

A great place to start is to research the restaurants you are interested in! Most major chain establishments have websites where you can view their menus before you visit. This gives you a chance to identify safe options for your little ones with food allergies before you go.

 

Keep in mind that websites may not be updated frequently and ingredients may change, so it’s always a good idea to speak to a manager at the location where you're interested in dining before you go. This will help you ensure that the restaurant really is food allergy-friendly and cross-contamination won’t be a problem.

Another great resource when doing research is AllergyEats, which describes itself as "the leading guide to allergy-friendly restaurants in the United States."

 

AllergyEats is a free, peer-based website and app (for both Apple and Android devices) where people find and rate restaurants based solely on their ability to accommodate food allergies. The site, app and related social media forums allow families with food allergies to help each other reduce guesswork and limit some of the anxiety surrounding dining out with food allergies. We're all about free, and you can't beat social support systems where you can get input from families like your own!

 

As always, it's still important for you to ask questions restaurant staff to make sure you're comfortable. Another family managing a less-severe food allergy might report that the restaurant met their needs, but their needs may not be the same as yours.

Always Double Check

As parents, we always want to make sure our kids are safe, so I recommend always checking to make sure the restaurant is still food allergy-friendly even if it’s a restaurant you dine at frequently. And always be sure to tell your server about any food allergies to ensure that you have a happy and healthy dining experience. Many times, they'll be happy to send the chef out to speak with you personally about your dietary restrictions!

 

Once you’ve identified a restaurant with potential, call them during non-peak dining hours (Fridays and Saturday afternoons are generally super-busy. Try a weeknight, which is typically slower). Ask to speak with the manager or a chef and find out if they can prepare a safe meal for your child. Some parents prefer to “try out” the restaurant without the children to get a feel for their ability to accommodate. If you get the feeling that they are unwilling, unable or just don’t “get it,” move on.

 

In the meantime, you may want to prepare an allergy card for the chef that specifically lists your child’s allergies. Havinga list of foods that aren’t safe for your child can make it easier for the chef to keep track of. This adds as an additional reminder, particularly if you are dealing with multiple allergies.

Go Prepared to Eat

Before you leave for the restaurant, bring a few staples in case the restaurant does not have what you need or if it is cross-contaminated. For some parents, bringing a safe food in a thermos or a safe sandwich is an excellent alternative. It's easy to bring a little of  dairy-free margarine and some vinegar and oil for salads, too! (Dressings and oils can contain potent nut or seed allergens). Lastly, make sure you have your child’s EpiPens before you leave.

 

Do you have any additional tips for eating out? Comment below!


Will My Child Outgrow Their Cow Milk Allergy?

Posted 5.24.17 | Christine Graham-Garo


When children are diagnosed with milk allergies, parents might wonder, “Will my baby grow out of it?” As much as your new hypoallergenic formula and allergen-friendly diet is helping, you can’t help but wonder when you can feed your child without anxiety. Keep in mind, it’s normal to wonder!

Good news – Many children do outgrow their allergies; however, it may depend on what the child is allergic to and the type of allergy they have. Most importantly, keep in mind that all children are different!

Children with cow milk allergy (CMA) may be more likely to outgrow their allergies than their peanut or tree nut allergy buddies. One research study showed that 80% of kids diagnosed with a CMA will outgrow their allergy by 16 years of age[1]. More specifically, other research studies have found that about 45-50% of children outgrow CMA at one year, 60-75% at two years and 85-90% at three years.[2],[3]

Fortunately, the general consensus is that around 80% of children with cow milk allergy will outgrow it by 3-5 years of age[5]. Regular follow up by your medical specialist is important to re-test tolerance of cow milk protein.[6]

Now, compare that to the studies which show that about 20% and 10%, respectively, of young patients may outgrow peanut and tree nut allergies and approximately 8% of patients who outgrow a peanut allergy will later relapse, meaning the allergy comes back. Additionally, nut-related allergies are typically more severe and more likely to be fatal, which is quite scary![3]

For example, if your little one has multiple food allergies, such as both CMA and tree nut allergies, he or she may outgrow the CMA while the tree nut allergy could still persist. Still, outgrowing an allergy to cow milk will expand their diet and improve the quality of life and available foods for your little one.

Now this may be “good news/bad news” for some families. The good news is that the chance of the cow milk allergy being outgrown is very good, even if the child has the allergy into their teenage years, they are still likely to outgrow it. The bad news is that some infants with CMA may have it into their early teenage years, and a handful may never outgrow it.

The other factor that may influence your little one’s chances of outgrowing a food allergy is the levels of allergen-specific IgE detected in their blood. This means, the lower the allergen-specific IgE detected, the greater the chance of outgrowing the allergy. Your doctor can monitor this - make sure to ask them to explain the results, show you have the level has changed over time, and explain what the possible implications are.

As mentioned before, all children are different. Your little one may have all the right “ingredients” to overcome their cow milk allergy, but there is no way to know exactly when he or she will outgrow it. Your doctor may decide to attempt a food trial by introducing some foods that your child is allergic to, in order to see if the allergy still persists. Be patient, sometimes food trials can be taxing.

Our advice to allergy parents is not to worry, there is usually a light at the end of the tunnel! It’s wonderful if a child can outgrow their cow milk allergy, but if not, they can still thrive and lead happy, healthy lives.

To the more experienced food allergy parents, can you shed any advice on food trials and outgrowing allergies? Comment below or share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!


[1] Skripack et al, J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007

[2] de Boissieu D, Dupont C. Time course of allergy to extensively hydrolyzed cow's milk proteins in infants. J Pediatr 2000;136:119-20.

[3] de Boissieu D, Dupont C. Allergy to extensively hydrolyzed cow's milk proteins in infants: safety and duration of amino acid-based formula. : J Pediatr. 2002;141:271-3.

[4] The natural history of peanut and tree nut allergy. Fleischer DM. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2007 Jun;7(3):175-81. Review.

[5] March 2016.  Cow’s milk (dairy) allergy, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, [http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/cows-milk-dairy-allergy] Viewed 6 May 2016

[6] Motala & Fiocchi, 2012, Cow’s milk allergy in children, World Allergy Organisation, [http://www.worldallergy.org/professional/allergic_diseases_center/cows_milk_allergy_in_children/] Viewed 15 May 2016


Baby Rashes from A to Z (Acne to Eczema!) and When Is It a Milk Allergy?

Posted 4.18.17 | Nutrition Specialist

What new parent hasn’t asked questions like this: “Where did THAT come from?” Or maybe “Why is she suddenly so ITCHY?” Or even “What ARE all of those little bumps on her head?”

Babies drink what we give them (unless they don’t like it!), wear what we put on them (until they take it off!), and tend to stay where we put them (until they go mobile!). If adults are in control and a baby never leaves our sight, we should have answers to these questions. But almost every new parent comes up against a skin condition that they can’t explain.

As newborn babies grow and develop they can experience lots of different skin conditions. Some are typical, whereas others can be hard to explain. In today’s post, we’re going to walk through some of the most common questions and answers related to baby rashes. Food allergies can play a role in some of these conditions, so we’ll point out where that’s the case. 

Acne

Acne is something we associate with teenagers, but it can happen anytime in life. Acne is usually related to hormones, and babies sure do have hormones! Where do babies get hormones, maternal hormones are passed through the womb. Baby acne is harmless and usually goes away within a few weeks.

According to MayoClinic, “Baby acne can occur anywhere on the face, but usually appears on the cheeks, nose and forehead. Baby acne is common — and temporary. There's little you can do to prevent baby acne. Baby acne usually clears up on its own, without scarring.” Read more to learn when to see a doctor about baby acne

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis – which may also be called atopic eczema, involves scaly and itchy rashes that can be over a small or large part of the body. It can be triggered by allergens in the air (pollen, mold, dust mites, or animals), dry skin, or any number of factors. Severity of symptoms varies from one person to another. There’s an association between atopic dermatitis and food allergies, especially in cases of severe atopic dermatitis. At this time, it’s not clear if one causes the other. For infants, atopic dermatitis and cow milk allergy often are linked.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis describes a situation where some substance makes contact with the skin and causes it to become red or inflamed. This could be anything from food to laundry detergent or lotions. Your little one’s healthcare team can help you narrow down the possibilities and make changes to remove whatever’s causing this type of dermatitis. If food is a cause, you’ll need to keep your little one from coming into contact with the food and cosmetics with ingredients from that food. Symptoms and treatments of contact dermatitis.

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash happens when a rash occurs on parts of the skin in contact with diapers. Some causes include having wet diapers on for too long, when the infant has diarrhea, or diapers are too tight. Rash can also be caused by introduction of new products to clean, for example if you are using cloth diapers. Symptoms and treatments of diaper rash.

Eczema

Eczema is a generic term for any dermatitis or skin swelling or itching. It’s often used to describe atopic dermatitis – see above! Read over a story of Morgan and his food allergy related eczema.

Hives

Hives, also called urticarial, are red, itchy bumps on the skin, often caused by an allergic reaction to a food or a drug. Hives can vary in size and can at times connect with one another to create a larger swelling. They often go away within 24 hours, but are still no fun. It’s important to avoid whatever substance or food triggers hives. Symptoms and treatments of hives.

Rash

A rash is a generic term that describes some sort of itchiness or irritation of the skin. Your doctor would be the best resource to look and narrow down what a rash represents and what might be causing it. For little onces, their pediatrician may decide to refer you to an allergist and/or a dermatologist.

When is a Rash a Milk Allergy?

Baby Rash

You should always refer to your pediatrician to help you understand what is causing your little one’s rash, but it’s also important to look at the big picture. Sometimes a baby with a cow milk allergy will also display other symptoms in addition to the rash. For instance, you may also see symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, gassiness, wheezing, runny nose, and/or colic.

If you do see a rash accompanied by any of these other symptoms, make sure to keep detailed notes and share all symptoms with your little one's doctor so that the healthcare team has all of the information to get to the bottom of what might be happening.

Also, make sure to work with your pediatrician to come up with a plan for taking care of your baby’s skin – no matter what is triggering the rash, it is important to take possible steps to alleviate the rash and any discomfort. Some possible steps your little one's doctor might suggest include:

  • Bathing your baby in soothing lukewarm water
  • Avoiding scented soaps, bath oils, and perfumed powders
  • Applying an over-the-counter moisturizer to your baby’s skin
  • Keeping your baby’s fingernails filed short and smooth to minimize damage from scratching
     
  • Using cotton mittens to help prevent scratching
  • Dressing your baby in soft cotton fabrics to prevent possible fabric irritation
  • Keeping your baby cool and avoiding hot, humid environments
  • Trying to keep your baby distracted from the itchiness with fun activities

We’ve told you what we know about various common skin conditions that you might see on your little one. Keep in mind, there are other conditions that can cause skin rashes, including various infections. Even with this info, you probably still have questions and want answers! The next step is to discuss them further with you little one’s healthcare team. Make sure you plan ahead, take notes and ask the right questions when you see your doctor.

-Rob

Rob McCandlish is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who joined the Nutricia team in 2010. Rob has years of experience at Nutricia following food allergy research, working with Neocate products, talking with Neocate families and learning about the science behind Neocate and food allergies. Rob has two nephews who both used Neocate for their cow milk allergies!


Navigating Holidays with Food Allergies

Posted 12.22.16 | Nutrition Specialist


It’s the hustle bustle time of year - the HOLIDAY SEASON! Sprinkle this with food allergies and it’s like a manic Monday every day. Are you feeling this? I know I am and I look for any go-to guidance I can get. Would you like some Holiday Help? I thought so. Below I’ve got 15 resources to assist you in navigating all things holiday. Check it out!

TRAVELING

  1. Tips to make traveling with food allergies just a bit easier
     
  2. Tips for traveling by train, plane, or automobile with Neocate
     
  3. Stay up-to-date with all things Neocate using the Neocate Footstep App!
     
  4. Learn more about TSA special procedures for traveling here
     
  5. Calling the TSA Cares hotline to answer questions about what you can bring on an airplane at 1-855-787-2227
     
  6. Kids with Food Allergies offers eight great travel tips to help avoid allergic reactions and enjoy the holidays

FOOD

  1. Check out 3 great tips for hosting parties and get togethers where some guests have food allergies
     
  2. Browse 3 delicious recipes for a festive holiday
     
  3.  FAACT offers this list of fabulous tips to make sure you maintain allergy safety with food during the holiday season
     
  4. The pretty bee shares how to stock your pantry for holiday baking
     
  5. Kids With Food Allergies has several great guides for recipe substitution
     
  6. Snack Safely has a GREAT holiday snack list good through 1/3/2017. Visit this page to download a copy. And remember, they continually update the information, so be sure to visit regularly to download the latest version!

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES

  1. Family outdoor activities for the Holidays to help everyone stay sane!
     
  2.  Check out this video - Ms. Miller, the founder and president of Allergic Girl Resources, Inc., discusses talking to relatives and friends when planning holiday events, reframing holiday meaning and connecting with the joy of the season.
     
  3. Will grandparents be helping care for the grandkids this holiday season? FAACT just developed a comprehensive guide to help grandparents caring for kids with allergies right here.
     
  4. How great is this? A customizeable letter from Santa to help an allergic child feel like part of the Christmas cookie fun. Santa wants your little one's help in ensuring the elves with food allergies can enjoy a cookie too!
     
  5. Always be prepared. Keep in mind these 6 things that save lives in case of a severe food allergy emergency from Allergic Living.

The Neocate team at Nutricia wishes you the best of the Holiday Season and a happy and healthy New Year!


We’re having a baby - should we get a dog and move to a farm?

Posted 11.10.16 | Nutrition Specialist


Science is crazy. Sometimes we hear in the news about researchers looking at things that seem completely off-the-wall. On the other hand, a lot of scientists and researchers look at things that can have meaningful impacts on our lives. Sometimes, the research can even be practical for everyday folks like us.

Today, I’ll share some interesting research related to pets, the environment and allergic conditions. I find it interesting not just because I love science, but also because it can be helpful. Sure, I geek out over research sometimes, but when it’s practical research, everybody wins. The questions at hand: can owning pets or living on a farm actually provide a BENEFIT when it comes to allergic conditions?

The state of affairs

  1. Lots of people are allergic to pets. I have some friends who have allergies to cats, which range from mild (sneezing) to pretty bad (difficulty breathing). I have other friends who have allergies to dogs. I even know people who seem to be allergic to just about any animal with fur.
     
  2. Many children who have one allergic condition also have one or several other allergic conditions. For example, it’s not uncommon for an infant with a cow milk allergy to develop allergies to other foods. There are also children who have atopic dermatitis as well as asthma. Any number of combinations is possible, and allergies to animals are in the mix too.
     
  3. We used to think that avoiding things that we have the potential to become allergic to is the best way to prevent actually BECOMING allergic to that thing. For years parents were cautioned to avoid introducing peanut into their babies’ diets until they were several years old. (That advice has changed – but that’s a subject for another post!)

With all this in mind, it seemed logical that for a child with one allergic condition, it might be best to avoid things that might become a future allergen. Why not? If my child already has food allergies, then maybe they’re likely to also become allergic to animals, so why take the chance with a new pet?

But in science, a theory is just a theory. The scientists and researchers among us don’t assume these are facts. We should be grateful that, just because an idea is logical, our scientific friends are willing to test those theories to see if they hold up! When they test a theory they come up with a hypothesis – something they think will be true related to the theory, but that they want to test.

In fact, one theory that you may have heard of is the ‘Hygiene hypothesis.’ This is the idea that in western societies, like North America, our environments (home, school, work, the kitchen counter) are so clean – or hygienic – that our immune system doesn’t develop normally, and that may be contributing to the increases we’re seeing in allergic conditions. We’re beginning to realize that some exposure may be good, especially at key “windows” of time when exposure to something may help LESSEN the risk of later allergy.

The latest science on pets, farms, and allergies

With all that in mind, scientists have tested several hypotheses related to the environment an infant is raised in, such as growing up in a household with pets, and the effect it has on the likelihood of developing certain allergic conditions. We wrote on this topic last in 2013. As an update, here’s some of the latest research that’s been shared in the past few years:

  1. A recently published study found that infants who live in a house with a dog for their first year of life may be less likely to develop eczema and other allergies, depending on a few factors. Read a summary of the research here.
     
  2. Researchers in Sweden looked at data from their entire nation. They found that having a dog in the first year of an infant’s life was associated with a lower likelihood of asthma in children beyond 3-6 years old (but not younger). Growing up on a farm with animals was also associated with a lower likelihood of asthma through age 6. Read a summary of this research here.
     
  3. Maybe farms help? Researchers in Europe looked at a large group of children, comparing them based on how rural their environment was. The children who grew up closer to more forest and agricultural land were less likely to develop environmental allergies. They think the microbes in the environment can be key – read more here.

So what’s the catch?

Well, not everyone is able to pick up and move to a farm! Second, pet ownership is also a big decision. Those are obvious considerations.

Also, research is messy and often leads to more questions than answers. First, not all research that’s been conducted in this topic has come to the same conclusions – some of the results are contradictory. And sometimes you find something you don’t expect. For example, researchers in Finland found that growing up in a household with a dog or cat may be slightly more likely to lead to an allergy to that animal than growing up in a house without one.

With that in mind, the best thing to do may be to talk to your little one’s pediatrician and/or allergist to see what their take is on pets and allergic conditions. They often have a good understanding of the science, including how best to interpret the research, and can offer some guidance or at least help you make an informed decision.

One final note: keep in mind that there really is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed! You can certainly ask your allergist for more information, but don’t believe the hype if you see a breeder selling “hypoallergenic” dogs.

-Rob

How do I come across such interesting topics? In my role as a Medical Advisor and Nutrition Specialist at Nutricia I get to attend major conferences, such as the annual meeting for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). I always discover some really interesting research there!


What to do with Unused Neocate Products? You Can Donate!

Posted 7.19.16 | Nutrition Specialist


Clutter. It is something I don’t like to have around my work or living area. If you are like me, and you have extra Neocate formula around your house (that you no longer need), you may view that extra formula as “clutter” and something that you need to get rid of. But what do you do with that formula that was prescribed to you by a healthcare professional?

Consider donating your unused Neocate to someone who may be able to benefit from it! When donating, it’s very important to ensure that the formula is not expired. For our powdered Neocate products you can find the expiration date on the bottom of the can. If you’re looking at a drink box of Neocate Splash, you can find the expiration date on the top of the drink box. The expiration dates on most of the Neocate family of products follow the standard North American format, which is Month/Day/Year, but some may be Day/Month/Year - either way, it will be obvious!

Oley Foundation

One option is to consider donating to an organization that assists those in need who can’t afford formula. One such example is the Oley Foundation. The Oley Foundation was started in 1983 and it “strives to enrich the lives of those living with home intravenous nutrition and tube feeding through education, advocacy, and networking”.

The Oley Foundation has an Equipment/Supply Exchange Program to connect families who have items to donate with families in need of enteral formula, pumps, tubing and other supplies. Note that items are for donation only and there may be costs associated with shipping the formula. In general, it is the responsibility of the individual receiving the formula to pay for the shipping costs. Read more about procedures for donating to Oley Foundation.

 

The Parker Lee Project

This is another organization, based in Texas, that you might want to consider when donating unused formula. The Parker Lee Project was started by Megan & Phillip Smith after they had first-hand experience of struggling, arguing and pleading with offices, insurance companies, and DME companies for various supplies for their daughter.

The Parker Lee Project accepts all unused, unopened supplies (except Suction Supplies) and all gently used equipment (as long as it hasn't been molded to fit your child specifically). View their website on various ways to connect.

The Hovannesian Feeding Foundation

This foundation was started by Hovannesian family after welcoming into their family a daughter born with Kabuki Syndrome. The organization collects items to redistribute to families that have to pay out of pocket despite having insurance.

Additional Resources

You can always call your local healthcare team, such as the pediatrician, gastroenterologist, allergist, or dietitian. They may know of other families in need of formula, or their office may accept donations for people whose insurance won't cover Neocate. You can also check with your local children's hospital to ask if they accept donations or know of a local organization that does. Additionally, you can find other family support groups via the following pages:

If you know of a resource that accepts donations of Neocate products that you would like to share with our community, please don’t hesitate to comment below! You can also consult with your healthcare professional for other options on donating your unused formula to other families that may need it.

Note, organizations listed above or in the comments section below are not endorsed by Nutricia North America, and Nutricia cannot be responsible for the information or products they provide.

- Ellen

Ellen Sviland Avery joined the Nutricia team during the summer of 2014. She has extensive experience in pediatrics, metabolics and tube feeding. Prior to coming to Nutricia, she worked in home infusion. She has been a registered dietitian for more than 12 years. Her passion in pediatric nutrition started when she was in Birmingham working with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and has continued throughout her career.


3 Tips to Prepare for Summer Camp with Food Allergies

Posted 7.14.16 | Nutrition Specialist

School is out and summer is here!  For a lot of families that means vacations and summer camps. Do you need help making sure your child’s allergies stay in check over the summer?  We can help! Preparation is important when sending kids with food allergies away to camp, on vacations, or to stay with relatives.  But how can you prepare?

Research

First, find out if the summer camp your child will be attending has a policy on food allergies. Additional questions to help with your research:

  • Does the camp allow other children to pack lunches/snacks which contain possible food allergens like peanuts, nuts and/or milk products?  If so, is there a designated area for allergic children to eat their snacks and lunches? 
  • What kind of staff will your child have access to? Is there a healthcare professional on site? What are their credentials and responsibilities?
  • What are the procedures for emergencies? How far away is the camp from a hospital or a medical treatment center?
  • What activities will the camp provide during your child’s stay?  Is there elevated potential for exposure to known allergens?
  • Is there a dedicated place where allergen-free snacks are stored?
  • For some information on allergy-friendly camps, or camps that are aware of how to manage allergies:
  • FARE: List of Food Allergy-Friendly Camps
  • GoDairyFree.com: Summer Camp Options for Food Allergic, Gluten-Free and Vegan Kids

Additionally, check-out the following recording of a webinar featuring Dr. Pistiner and Ms. Polmear-Swendris answering questions about how to choose a camp, what questions to ask of summer camp staff, how to store epinephrine at camp, and a review of basic food allergy management.

Advocate

Once you have decided upon your camp of choice, the next step is to advocate for your child. Notify everybody about your child’s allergies: the camp director, counselors, subs (if you have access to them), even insist the camp lifeguard is aware.  If the camp you chose to attend does not have an allergy policy in place, help educate organizers on how to keep your child safe.  First, help camp counselors and administrators understand your child’s allergy.  Don’t assume they have all the facts. Second, tell them how to handle any possible exposure and give them your emergency care plan (this is a perfect time to share an allergy card you can create using the Neocate Footsteps App).  Here’s another helpful link that you can use to help staff members prepare: PDF Example of FARE Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan

Educate

Finally, one of the best ways to prepare is to talk to your child about their food allergies.  If your child is old enough to understand their allergy, they can be the first line of defense against an accidental exposure.  Help them recognize their symptoms and how to alert staff members for help.  Have your child label their lunch and snack; reiterating the importance of not sharing foods and/or drinks with other campers. 

Educate your child on how to properly manage food allergies at camp and ensure that they are aware of:

  • Green light and red light (or safe and unsafe) foods
  • Strategies for avoiding exposure to allergens (i.e. NEVER trade food with other campers)
  • Symptoms of allergic reactions (i.e. NOT to go off alone if symptoms are beginning);
  • How and when to tell an adult about a possible allergic response
  • How to read a food label (if your child is younger, plan with the camp how to handle this)
  • How to use epinephrine 

If you are sending your little toddler to their first camp, use the following link to read 3 Easy Steps for Success when Explaining Food Allergies to your Toddler.

And finally, have them wear a medical alert bracelet.   There are many options available for bracelets, including waterproof ones, perfect for summer!

Keep in mind, getting ready for camp can be similar to how you get ready for a new school year or traveling.   If you need additional tips on how to specifically travel this summer with Neocate, make sure to check-out Helpful Tips and Resources when Traveling with Food Allergies.

We hope these tips will help make this summer a fun and exciting experience for your children; a summer they will never forget while staying healthy and safe!  Do you have any other tips or suggestions to share?  We would love to hear from you!


Is Your Stress Impacting Your Family? Importance of Caregivers Managing Personal Stress

Posted 1.14.16 | Irina Kabigting

As parents and caregivers, we might not always make ourselves a priority. Daily pressures can add up, causing us to stress out.  When you do start to stress out, are you able to not only recognize it, but also take steps to de-stress?

A New Year signals a new beginning, so in 2016, let’s slow down and take a look internally at what we can do to understand and lower the levels of stress we experience.

What is Stress?

Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When we are stressed, our bodies release chemicals that signal us to react.

Good stress on our body, to a point, increases productivity. However, negative stress can cause the opposite effect on our bodies. In essence, we have a breaking point after which our bodies start to signal that it’s time to pull back and relax:

The Human Function Curve

(Photo Credit: Elon.edu)

 

What Causes Stress?

Stress can be brought on for a number of reasons. It’s also important to note that some instances might impact you much more than the person next to you and vice versa.  For example, think about that popular ride at the amusement park. You might freak out and be scared to death about going on a ride. Your palms might sweat, your heartbeat might start spiking and maybe even your breathing becomes intense. However, your friend might be excited, laughing and having the time of his life going on the same ride. Same stimulant, different reaction.

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association identified the most common causes of stress in Americans. Between 2007-2010, the top three causes of stress were money, work and the economy.

Causes of Stress

(Photo Credit: American Psychological Association)

Why Should You Care?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it is estimated that up to 75 percent of all visits to physician’s offices are stress-related. There are some studies that are starting to look at the potential relationship between stress and increased susceptibility to infections and various other diseases. There’s already evidence that caring for children with food allergies can cause parents to miss more work and experience more financial stress. Ongoing research is finding that family quality of life may be affected by food allergies.

Scary right…

Our stress as parents and caregivers doesn’t just impact us alone. As a caretaker, we have to be cognizant of the impact stress can have on our families as well.

The same study from the American Psychological Association quantified the impact of the stress we feel as parents, on our children. The study showed that younger children tend to feel more worried and frustrated when their parents are stressed out.

Impact of Stress on Children

Additionally, more parents than nonparents say they are not doing enough to manage their stress (31 percent vs. 20 percent). Parents are more likely than nonparents to report engaging in unhealthy stress management techniques, such as drinking alcohol (18 percent vs. 12 percent) and smoking (17 percent vs. 10 percent).

Such staggering data show how important it is to take the time to take care of yourself, not only for you, but also for your family.

Signs of Stress

The first step in managing your stress is to learn the signs of stress so that you can recognize when you need some “you time.”

There are many signs of stress. They can be mental and/or physical. Here is a list of potential stress-related signs our bodies might feel one or combination of the following:

  • Irritability/Anger
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of interest, motivation or energy
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Headache
  • Feeling depressed or sad
  • Feeling as through you could cry
  • Upset Stomach or indigestion
  • Muscular tension
  • Change in Appetite
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Teeth grinding
  • Change in sex drive
  • Tightness in chest
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Change in menstrual cycle
  • Increased heartbeat and faster breathing
  • Increased perspiration
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Other
  • Nothing

What Can You Do About Stress?

There are numerous resources and techniques available for managing stress. Later on this month, we will devote a blog post to diving a bit deeper into stress management techniques, so stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, take an honest look at your surroundings and think about your stress triggers. What is stressing you out? How do you currently deal with stress? Is it a healthy approach? Is there anything you can do about the sources of your stress?

If you need more ideas today, check out this list of 13 Tips to Ease Stress, provided by WebMd.

What stress management techniques work best for you? Share below; it might help another caretaker just like you.


Upcycling Neocate Cans

Posted 12.15.15 | Nutrition Specialist

We've written before about recycling Neocate cans as well as recycling Neocate lids and scoops. We've also shared some ideas for getting creative with Neocate cans in arts and crafts. But have you ever considered "upcycling" Neocate cans at the holidays? We got this idea from an EoE family that we met at the annual APFED patient conference. They told us that money was tight one year, so they found ways to reuse the many Neocate cans they had lying around. We love the idea!

First, what is upcycling?

The term "upcycling" describes reusing a product or material that you would otherwise discard or recycle. To be more specific, upcycling means reusing the product in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original product. Upcycling is considered to be a step above recycling from an environmental perspective. For example, you might be familiar with all of the creative ideas that have come up in recent months for reusing Mason jars. Those are examples of upcycling! So how can you upcycle Neocate cans at the holidays?

Turn Neocate cans into gift containers

Who needs boxes and wrapping paper or expensive gift bags when you can do something really creative? As long as your gift will fit inside, you can make a great gift container with a Neocate can. See this post and swap the called-for coffee can for a Neocate can. Pretty cool, especially with the gold lid! Invite your family members to see who can make the most festive gift container, or who can get most creative.

Turn Neocate cans into gifts

What could be better than a handmade gift for someone you care about? We'll take handmade gifts over storebought merchandise any day! The possibilities with Neocate cans are almost endless. See a previous post for ideas to turn Neocate cans into musical instruments, containers for plants, or even a piggy bank. The plant container idea could be especially great when you're trying to think of something nice to do for your neighbors.

Turn Neocate cans into decorations

If you're like us, you use the same holiday decorations year after year. For a change of scenery this season, how about turning a Neocate can into a nice holiday gift basket to hold baked goods or goodies when giving gifts? For a fun family activity, how about a holiday time capsule with notes and pictures to open next year, or even in another 5 years? You can also turn a single Neocate can into a decorative can to hold greenery as a centerpiece. If you have several cans and really want to create a masterpiece, turn a stack of cans into a snowman with a top hat.

What great suggestions does your family have for upcycling leftover Neocate cans?

-Rob

Image from The Evolution of Mom


Nutricia Goes Teal for Halloween

Posted 10.27.15 | Nutrition Specialist


Last year, we were very excited to see how the Teal Pumpkin Project took off! This concept started in Tennessee with the local food allergy group, FACET, and is now led by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). This year, we've noticed even more news coverage and buzz around this great initiative. One of my neighbors even posted about her family's teal pumpkin, and encouraged the whole neighborhood to participate! This is great news for children with food allergies who just want to get in on the trick-or-treating fun. This year, Nutricia as a company is fully embracing the Teal Pumpkin Project!

Trick-or-Treat with a Cause!                         

This year, the Neocate team is encouraging our entire company to help raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters during Halloween by participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. You can learn more about the project and how you can get involved here.

Our company leadership was so excited by this great initiative that they offered to cover the cost of non-food treats for trick-or-treaters with allergies. Since our employees are scattered across the United States and Canada, we know that our company can help make a difference for hundreds of families in North America! To add some excitement, we're even offering a prize to the employee who has the most creative teal pumpkin. (Who doesn't love a contest?)

What allergy-friendly non-food items are you passing out for Halloween this year as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project?

-Rob

Image from FARE
The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).



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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.