By Kelley Lindberg
This FaceBook post from Vivian Fulton appeared today, and it was so heartfelt I knew I had to share it. As we’re all getting ready to send our kids to school (some for the first time), it’s a great time to remind everyone – even those without food allergies – that simple kindnesses are not only kind, but they can save a life. Thank you for giving us permission to share your story, Vivian. Good luck, and fingers crossed for the new school year.
This is a message that I'm sharing on my facebook page:
Have you ever watched your child dying in the backseat? I have. I have watched David's breathing and his heart slow down significantly. I have known that if I didn't get to the ER in time, that he would be dead. Completely, irreversibly, dead. Do you know what did it? An accidental bite of Cheetos in nursery. David has been to the Emergency Room several times in his short 5 years of life. Every time because of food that 'normal' people eat everyday. Peanuts and milk products can kill my sweet David. Even if he does not eat them, he can still have a reaction.
Have you ever gotten into poison ivy? Imagine your skin itching and burning all over with great big hives. That is what can happen to David if he comes into contact with his food allergies, by touching a pair of scissors or a desk, crayon, door knob, etc. that another child has touched who has eaten peanut or milk products and who hasn't washed their hands or used a wipe to wipe down their hands/face & any contaminated surfaces. He can also go into anaphylactic shock if he touches these things. Anaphylactic shock is what I mentioned above when your body stops functioning and you can die without prompt & proper medical attention. Sometimes, even with medical attention your body can't get better and you die.
Do you want to know what you can do to help children like my David stay safe? Ask your child's teacher what food allergies children who meet in your child's classroom have, not only for their class, but for any other class that might meet in their classroom--both morning & afternoon classes like preschool & kindergarten. Commit right then and there that you will not send your child to class with these foods as snacks or treats. Tell your child's teacher your decision. Also, make sure your child's hands are clean when they arrive at school. Peanut butter or milk from 2 hours ago at breakfast without washing up afterwards is still on their skin or clothes and can still cause an allergic reaction. Inform your friends via social media and/or your blog about your commitment to doing your part to insure that no child will have to go through the pain and sheer terror of having his body stop working.
Thank you for reading. You are more than welcome to share this post. The safety of innocent children rests in you. You can be a powerful advocate for change and safety.
---Hopefully, some of my non food allergies friends will be more compassionate and become advocates for people with food allergies. I'm off to allergist today. Wish us luck!