Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rush Immunotherapy, Environmental Allergens, and Double the Allergy Shots

My daughter has been getting allergy shots for the last two years to help with her environmental allergies. They were working well until she developed a whole batch of new allergies. 

Recently we discovered that my daughter developed new allergies and now she gets 4 shots rather than the two shots that she was previously getting. Her allergy shots have helped her so much that under her allergists care, we were able to lower her antihistamine intake and asthma medications. She felt wonderful for months! Even her oral allergy syndrome was improving, but then all of the sudden, she went from having mostly clear headed and wheeze free days, to struggling again daily with hay-fever, and asthma flare ups. We had moved into a new part of the country, and she had developed allergies to the local environmental allergens. Oddly enough, she is not allergic to ragweed which is one of the most common allergens.

Because of the variety of allergens that she is allergic to (48 out of the 55 tested), the allergist was not able to combine them into fewer than 4 shots. We were told that some allergens degrade the other allergens if combined. Fortunately my daughter is able to tolerate getting four shots at one time. Our allergist told us that it is very unusual to have to get 4 allergy shots at a time and that he only had a handful of patients out of all of his patients that need four allergy shots. He told us that my daughter is supremely allergic, and is a rare case, in his experience.

To go from her 2 shots a month to now 4 shots, she went through a day of rush immunotherapy. Rush immunotherapy is where you get a few months of shots in one or two days. To prepare for this, you have to take a lot of medication. My daughter's allergist had her on a week of pre-medication leading up to the day of, and then more medication for a couple of days after. My amazingly brave daughter had 12 shots in each arm (4 every 25 min) in one morning for a total of 24 shots! She did very well and had just a tiny bit of localized mild swelling. Her arms were sore that day, and the next, but she was grateful to be weeks ahead of where she would have been if we had not done the rush immunotherapy.

To get through her allergy shots, my daughter swears by the "Shot Blocker" which works by distracting your skin with many little hard plastic points. If we forget to bring it, she asks the nurse to give her a good pinch so that she does not feel the needle going in. She also relaxes her arms and a lollipop always helps. Here is the link to the shot blocker on Amazon: SHOT BLOCKER

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Printable Allergy Shot Tips Poster for Kids

Tips for Allergy Shots:

My daughter is going through allergy shots. We struggled at first with her fear of shots, and found a few ways to get past it. The poster is free to print for the home or allergist office: 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Food Allergy Aware Letter to Parents

Food Allergy Aware Letter to Parents:

A letter to the parents is always important if certain foods need to be kept out of the classroom due to severe food allergies

Here are a few examples:

To Print from smart iPad/smart phone/iPhone: Touch image to bring it up full size / choose "save image" and then print, or choose "print" right from there.

To print from PC: Right click on image / choose "open link in new window" / right click again on image / choose "save image as" / name image and save to your desktop or file / open from there and print.

To use the blank template in Word, save image to your computer, open Word, click on Insert, add image, choose layout option of image behind text, and "fix position on page". Then you are ready to add text.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Substitute Teacher Handouts for Kids with Food Allergies, Food Allergy Alerts for School Plus Staff Sample Letter to Parents

Substitute Teacher Handout and Teacher Letter to Parents for Kids with Food Allergies

I recently made one for my daughter's new school year. and thought I'd share with you! 

Every teacher has a folder at the ready for a substitute teacher in case they need to be out of the classroom for the day. 

To print, click on image, and save to your device, print from there.

Letter to Parents from Teacher:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Food Allergy Aware Studio and Dojo Posters

Food allergies are a concern not only in the classroom setting, but also in other places like the dance studio, and martial arts dojo. 

There have been a few times over the years where I have had my heart jump to my stomach watching my daughter come out of a studio with a candy in her mouth. Even though her dance teachers have always been told about her severe food allergies, mistakes can happen.

Our rule is only candy from home unless it is pre-approved, but when an instructor or adult in a position of leadership hands a child a candy, sometimes that rule can be forgotten.

Sticky hands from an earlier snack, especially if the snack was eaten in the studio can also be an issue if shared equipment or a shared dance bar is involved. 

A poster is a good reminder for both adults and children alike.  A recent email from a dance teacher asking for a sign for her studio inspired these new posters. 

Thanks to her I can now offer them to you all! 

To print: Click on image, then right click to save to your computer or device, print image. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Allergy Shots for Kids Facebook Group!

Going through this allergy shot (allergen immunotherapy) journey has had many ups and downs.  I just started a Facebook Group "Allergy Shots for Kids" to be able to share those ups and downs, and find support from other parents who's children are on the same path.

My daughter is just about to reach maintenance! That means we will go in just once a month! We are all very excited about that!  The biggest hurdle to reach this point for us was the initial allergy shot. My daughter's fear of needles was overwhelming, and she would cry and shake just thinking about it. Thankfully we found ways to conquer that fear, and after the first painless shot, she was able to calmly start her journey towards better health. 

If you or your child have gone through this journey, or are just starting allergy shots, feel free to join the group to talk about your experience, your child's experience, advice on allergy shots, and any fears you or your child may have. The link to the group:  Allergy Shots for Kids (Allergen Immunotherapy)

Friday, November 20, 2015

How Clean Is the Air in Your Home?

As a parent of a child with allergies and asthma, air quality is on my mind frequently. When it comes to clean air and allergies, I mainly worry about the outdoors as we are currently living in the South where there seems to be pollen in the air at all times of the year. What I sometimes forget to consider is the air inside of my own home. Thanks to Modernize for this very helpful guest post!

How Clean Is the Air in Your Home?

Via Modernize

Everywhere we turn, it seems like allergies and sickness are on the rise. Sensitivities to food, plants, and chemicals are rampant, and it’s no wonder why. With all of the toxins in our very homes, we are all vulnerable to a gamut of symptoms that affect our daily lives. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. This indoor air pollution can exacerbate countless short and long-term health problems, including respiratory problems, watery eyes, colds, and headaches—and it can even trigger asthma attacks, worsening an individual’s condition.

For anyone ready to take action against indoor pollutants, Modernize discusses the sources of toxins in your home and how you can stop your kids’ exposure to these harmful chemicals.

The Culprits: Harsh Cleaning Supplies and Hygiene Products

Cleaning supplies and even some hygiene products aren’t always required to list every single ingredient they contain—and even if they did, we might not all have a grasp on what the ingredients are or the harm they can do. In fact, fragrances are considered trade secrets, and the word “fragrance” or “parfum” on a bottle could mean pretty much anything. Many cleaning supplies are associated with asthma and respiratory problems, while skin irritations can often be traced back to seemingly harmless hygiene products. Bleach, ammonia, fragrances, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are just a few of the harmful or potentially harmful chemicals contained in cleaners, air fresheners, detergents, and personal grooming products.

The Solution:

Remember that “green” doesn’t always mean healthy. Any company can slap a “natural” label on a bottle. Research the ingredients that are best avoided and closely review all the products your family uses and buys. It sounds like a lot of work, but once you find brands you trust, it will be worth the trouble. Look for cleaning products without VOCs, fragrances, bleach, ammonia, and flammable ingredients. As you shop for shampoos and soaps to be used on the skin, make sure to look for sulfate, fragrance, and paraben-free products. Avoid DEAs, MEAs, and TEAs, which are hormone disrupting chemicals found in personal hygiene products more often than not.

Remember, you can always make your own cleaning supplies and hygiene products. If your family members have problems with asthma, skin irritations, or frequent ailments of any kind, it’s certainly worth a shot. Vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, lemon, and olive oil are wonderful ingredients for effective homemade cleaners. Make sure to follow trusted recipes, as not all these substances should be mixed.

The Culprit: Paint and Sealants

Those darn VOCs are everywhere. Traditional paints, sealants, and even fabric treatments emit VOCs for a long time after they are applied to the walls or furnishings in your house. This is especially dangerous when it comes to painting entire rooms in your house.

The Solution:

Look for water-based eco-paints without VOCs. Back in the day, these didn’t used to go on as smoothly as paints with harmful chemicals, since the harmful chemicals were what allowed for the smooth texture. But more and more natural paints are mastering the look without sacrificing your health. If you really want to go the extra mile, make sure to buy carpet, rugs, and furniture that you trust hasn’t been treated with toxic chemicals.

The Culprit: Poor Ventilation and Dirty Air Ducts

Weather-stripping and tightening up your home can sure save on energy costs. But it also reduces proper ventilation, which essentially turns your home into a chemical stew (not to be dramatic). Meanwhile, dirty air ducts can be a source of mold, fungi, dust, and other pollutants.

The Solution:

Open windows as much as possible. This will keep the contaminated air moving out and the fresh air moving in. Change your filters when needed, and be sure to get your ducts professionally cleaned (if not done correctly, it may only stir up the pollutants instead of getting rid of them). If you have pollen allergies, however, keeping your windows closed when the pollen count is high may be necessary, so check your local pollen counts, as well as the filters in your air conditioning system.

The Culprit: Tracked-in Chemicals

Our shoes come into contact with all manner of offensive chemicals daily, from oils in the street to heavy-duty public bathroom floor cleaner to pesticides.

The Solution:

Even if it makes you seem a little uptight, asks your kids, spouse, and guests to take off their shoes at the door. If your kids seem to have trouble following this rule, install cubbies where they can place backpacks, coats, and shoes as soon as they walk in the door.

The Culprit: Carbon Monoxide

All of your fuel-burning appliances have the potential to emit harmful gases. While some are detectable, others may not be. And by the time you detect them, the damage may already be done.

The Solution: Carbon Monoxide Detector

Install a carbon monoxide detector to ease your mind and secure your family’s safety from this deadly gas. Make sure to get all of your fuel-burning appliances inspected by a professional to prevent dangerous gas leaks in your home. You can also get your home tested for radon, an odorless and invisible gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Other Solutions

Once you become aware of all of hazards within your very home, it’s hard not to feel somewhat paranoid and conspired against. But once you have faced the realities and come up with solutions that work for you and your family, you will feel at peace and in control. Even if you don’t tackle of the solutions listed above, consider getting an indoor air quality test and installing portable high-efficiency air particulate filters in the bedrooms of your home.