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Friday, April 26, 2013

Letting teenagers take care of food allergies

(shutterstock image)

This is the enemy. Tree nuts. Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts and it's amazing how many things they are in. Muffins, brownies, cookies, ice cream, etc.

Son #2 went out to dinner last night with friends and had a great time. He knew from all the other times we've eaten at that restaurant that the waiter will bring out a basket with breads and rolls. One of the breads is a delicious carrot bread with walnuts. But he knows he can't eat the other rolls or bread in the basket because they are now cross contaminated with nuts.

He casually told me that he remembered to ask the waiter to bring a separate bowl for him with plain bread and rolls. Yesssssss! 

I usually have to ask the waiter for a separate bowl with just plain rolls or bread for Son #2. I  explain that he is allergic to tree nuts, so we have to be really careful. I ask him not to pick the plain rolls out of our basket and put them on a separate basket for him. They need to make sure the plain rolls haven't touched any of the breads with nuts. To make sure there's no cross contamination, I ask the waiter to get the rolls and nut breads off baking separate trays THEN put them in separate baskets and bring them to our table. Many people don't understand that foods can be cross-contaminated. That means that if Son #2 eats a plain roll that was sitting next to a delicious piece of carrot walnut bread, he can have an allergic reaction.

You can never be too careful with food allergies. To learn more about tree nuts (and sneaky places where they hide) check our Allergy Home. 

Show your kids how to watch for their food triggers. I tell my son I won't be going to college with him this fall, he needs to learn how to watch for tree nuts and protect himself. It's a scary thing, but sometimes you have to teach your kids and then let go.

And make sure they carry their Epi Pen with them!!!

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