"P.O.K.W.A.S.P.A." = Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy Group

"P.O.K.W.A.S.P.A." = Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy Group
Link to our FB page

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Betty, Helen, Peggy and the Teal Pumpkin Project:

In the mornings I try to take an old lady aqua-aerobics class for my arthritis joints.

This morning, for the first time in about four years, I shared with my aqua-aerobics group "a public service announcement" about "the Teal Pumpkin Project."

I explained that one to two children out of ten are now severely food allergic and that this pumpkin on your doorstep means that you are a home that is friendly to food allergic trick or treaters. That you can make food allergic kids and parents happy by greeting the kids by saying "Are there any food allergy kids here?

I have something just for you!" and be open and friendly about this and give them dollar store (non-food) treats or if they really, really want to give out candy to make sure to offer known food-allergy safe candies like Smarties or Dum-Dums.

One woman, named "Betty" asked what the two candies were that were safe and I said "The candy at both ends of the intelligence scale: Dum-Dums or Smarties," and they got it. One woman was teared up and crying when I explained why I am so motivated to help other parents after nearly losing my own little girl at 15 mos.

Not one person, not one rolled their eyes or tried to run away. All of them were engaged, caring and truly fascinated about this.. All of them said they had grandkids or friends with kids who had this and they were utterly bewildered how to deal with it.

I stopped answering questions and 45 min. had gone by after our exercise class had ended and hardly any of them had moved on to leave. They all cared and they all had really good questions.

What did I learn? Every single generation has questions about this new phenomena. And that group of women all over 60 (except me LOL) truly cared to learn about this and find out how they could make a difference.

This morning Betty, Helen and Peggy's concern for what my life has been about for the past 15 years, renewed my faith in mankind a quite a bit.

And I thought I should share this.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So, what happens when a kid practices how to use an Epi Pen with a "Real Epi Pen?" -- Well, read this:

He did whaaaaaaaaat????!!!

This informative update courtesy of Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy Member Mindy Gularte Carpente:
  • "Well, our morning started off...different! Our 15 year old decided to practice injecting his Epipen before getting ready for school. Only problem was, it wasn't the practice pen! After the needle went in and delivered the injection, he panicked as did we. We were able to calm him down and spoke with the doctor. We were told to monitor his pulse and as long as we could keep it under 140, he would be okay and not need to go to the hospital. As it is a short acting medication, the epinephrine would be out of his system in 30-40 minutes. Things we learned from this lesson: 1) the Epipen injection is not a fix to an allergic reaction. It is just to give you an extra 30 minutes to get to the hospital for emergency medical treatment. 2) the injection does not hurt. He was always scared that if we had to use it, it would be painful. 3) the practice pen and actual pen look identical with a quick glance. Just thought I'd share our experience to spread more awareness of Epipens and how they work. Hoping for a much more calm morning tomorrow!"

Just more excellent, useful advice from the trenches of parents of kids who have to live with this awful thing called a life-threatening peanut allergy.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Petition to Support Research to Prevent and Advance Treatment of PEANUT and TREENUT ALLERGIES

Support Research to Prevent and Advance Treatment of PEANUT and TREENUT ALLERGIES

Peanut and Treenut Allergy affects over 3 million Americans and is the most lethal food allergy since it kills more people than any other food allergy.  It is also very difficult to avoid peanut and treenut allergens since they are the most allergenic substances known and are ubiquitous in our society, schools, restaurants and processed foods.  Families of peanut allergic kids go through extreme hardships trying to live a peanut-free life, and this is a cause of great anxiety for all involved everyday at every meal.  It affects a disproportionate amount of children compared to adults, and experts do not know why this occurs.  The life expectancy of a person with peanut allergy is markedly reduced compared to an average American living today, estimated to be only about 40 years.  Medical costs of hospitalizations, multiple prescriptions of Epipen yearly, and the unthinkable-fatality- would be reduced if we knew how to prevent this condition.  Peanut allergy was unheard of 100 years ago.  Not enough is being done to prevent peanut allergy from developing in our young children, nor finding the etiology for the peanut allergy epidemic, nor discovering a cure. Oral immunotherapy is available in research settings only, yet initial results of clinical trials have shown great success.  Unfortunately, it has not been approved by the FDA for the general population. Please consider the extreme hardship and risk that peanut allergy sufferers go through and do more to find ways to prevent and cure peanut and treenut allergy.  All the millions of peanut allergy patients deserve access to life-saving immunotherapy.  Your support towards finding prevention strategies and approving immunotherapy for everyone who would benefit from it would have positive consequences for millions of people.  Thank you.

James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration
Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director, National Institutes of Health
Richard Kronick, Director, Agency of Healthcare Research
James T. Li, MD, PhD, FAAAAI, President, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI, President-Elect, AAAAI
Michael B. Foggs, MD, President, American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology
Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, President-Elect, American Academy of Pediatrics
Tom Frieden, MD, MPH (Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ileana Arias, PhD, Deputy Director, CDC 
Support Research to Prevent and Advance Treatment of PEANUT and TREENUT ALLERGIES
[Your name]

Friday, October 10, 2014

Early Skin Exposure May Cause Peanut Allergies In Children

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Teen survey for school regarding peanut allergies: She'll present her results at teen FARE summit.

Elisabeth, a teen who recently found out she has nut allergies, decided to research the social impacts of having dietary restrictions like nut allergies on high school students. She created a survey in order to evaluate these social impacts and she asks our help in circulating it to gain a broad response.

Elisabeth's survey is done through the Science Research Program in her school in Westchester, New York, and it is both online and completely anonymous. In that program once the student collects enough data, then they find results and present these at science fairs in their area. Elisabeth is also presenting at the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) Teen Summit in November, which is for those with dietary restrictions/food allergies, and is located in Washington D.C. 

Here's the link to the survey:

First in a series called "Wonderful Rants By POKWASPA" -- This one is by member, G. Liz Flecha.

First is a first for me!  I've never reposted a member's personal post on our fellow blog, but today's creative gem just begs to be reposted and offered more of a spotlight.

We all applaud G. Liz Flecha's creativity and superb articulation regarding how it feels walking in our shoes. So, with her permission, I'd like her piece to be the first "re-post on our blog" in a series called:

"Wonderful Rants By POKWASPA

-- This one by POKWASPA member, G. Liz Flecha.

Posted today, October 9th, 2014 

---  "If you know me at all, you know I'm not terribly politically correct. Ahem. If you've hosted my daughter on a playdate or babysat her, you know that I am not terribly psychotic about her peanut allergy.

 This isn't my inner mama lioness coming out, honest. But here is the deal - Some kids are really, really deathly allergic to peanuts. And when you start a tirade in the name of a child being able to eat peanut butter wherever she damn well pleases, do you realize how dumb you sound? 

Do you realize how idiotic it is to get red in the face, screaming "It wasn't this way in the 70s! My kid loves peanut butter! I have a picky eater I can't control, a 5 year old who is somehow able to command that I feed him PBJ every day! Your child can't infringe upon my right not to diversify my kid's diet! I don't want my kid to be empathetic! You're just paranoid!" 

But I have decided that maybe, just maybe, these folks just don't really understand. So if you are one of these people, take a deep breath and let's walk together... First of all, I get it. I love peanut butter. I really do. I have been known to empty half a jar on a soft tortilla and eat it for lunch. 

The feeling I have for peanut butter rivals chocolate and coffee. I recognize that it is both a treat and a protein, that rare mix of fairly awesome, room temp servable foods you can pack in lunch box. But here's the thing about peanut butter - it gets on everything. 

Your lunch box, your face, your fingers, the table... We're not talking celery here, we're talking mess of spaghetti-like proportions. I don't think it's fair to call it political correctness run amok to say that a peanut allergic child is fairly likely to get that mess on themselves. 

Yes, you can educate the crap out of a five year old about protecting themselves, but if you are a kindergartener and your best friend grabs your hand with her gooey one to run on the playground, chances are you didn't ask her to wash first. 

So we can go ahead and say that it's not political correctness, okay? We had Maria tested at one year old. That means, before she knew not to stick LEGOS in her nose, we had to start teaching her to avoid certain candy, that she couldn't share food with friends but was expected to share everything else. 

That she had to ask adults if there were nuts in the snack they were serving while simultaneously teaching her how to politely say she didn't like the yogurt they were offering. I'm not trying to say that peanut allergic parents have a harder job than non-allergic parents - we all have our struggles in these arenas - I'm just asking for a little empathy. 

Which brings us to perhaps the crux of the "My kid is eating what she wants, screw you" argument. Try to think of an allergy as a disability, if you will. 

Would you be okay with your child telling someone in wheelchair to buck up and get walking? Mocking someone's speech impediment? 

Because you are effectively teaching your child that 1) my child's needs are less important than his wants or 2) my child is a liar. Which brings me to perhaps the most enraging undertone of the whole anti-peanut allergy trollfest. 

Every time you say "We didn't have allergies growing up" or "How does a person even know a 2 year old has peanut allergies, they aren't even eating peanuts!" that's what you are saying. You are saying that I (or my child) made this up. 

Yep. That I just woke up one day and said, "How can I mess up everyone's school snack schedule this year? Oh I know! Let's tell everyone Maria has an 'allergy'. That would be hilarious!" 

If you are one of those people, Let me assure you, if I was going to make something up about my kids, it wouldn't be an allergy. Genius level IQs? Modeling contracts? 

Yeah, I'd say those things. I'd even say that they tandem surfed on the back of shark while juggling chainsaws and reciting the Declaration of Independence. 

Don't insult both my integrity and my creativity by implying that "allergy" is the best I could do. If you read all of this, thank you. 

If it changed the way you thought, bless you. 

And if you still think peanut allergies are a joke, unfriend me. My family doesn't need your kind in our lives.

    --- by POKWASPA (Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy) FB group member, G. Liz Flecha

Well done, G. Liz Flecha!  Great post.

Keep them coming!

--- Louise Larsen, founder/director POKWASPA

POKWASPA Visual Lesson Plan: Why we are so terrified of your lack of tolerance and understanding about peanuts.

Just found this little image / message -- and felt the need to respond.

Uh, actually WE care about our children's allergies, because, unlike the person who created the above visual message, we care about all children.

And, NO, you do not have the right to endanger any child's life.  Period.

You just don't.

Perhaps you are a "Visual Learner" so let me make my point with images --

Here's why we at POKWASPA are literally terrified of your snacks, treats, lunches, meals -- of your kid's unwashed hands and face, of your pets, of school classrooms, playgrounds, parks, public transportation, everywhere outside of our home --

Because the stuff that can kill my kid, and thousands of others just like her is found --



Peanut Products.

And it is found --- EVERYWHERE.

It is found....

--  On their hands.

--  On their faces.

--  On YOUR face

--  In your wholesome, delicious child-tempting foods.

--  In your hamburgers.

-- On your dogs.

-- In school science projects, and art projects...

So, the truth is -- we really need you help and cooperation to keep our kids alive and I'm hoping you are not so callous that you can't appreciate why this is so important to us.

Because what can and will kill our children is what you just don't want to stop eating.  But, we are literally begging you to evolve, please, and make changes that will keep kids from dying a needlessly tragic death.  All because some people feel they have a right to kill children over a snack food.

We are asking you to please keep your peanut products far away from those who will die from contact with it.  That's all.  Is this so hard to do?  Really?

We would do the same of you if you asked us to.

If it takes a village to raise one child, what does it take to raise thousands of deathly food allergic kids? 

It takes a GLOBAL village.  YOU are part of OUR global village.  We all live here on planet Earth, and right this second you and I are connected by the internet.  You are part of our global village, and I'm asking, I'm begging you to please, please, adapt your needs to fit the "new normal" regarding food allergies, which is that for some reason we can't even help, our children are dying from contact from your food.

So please, won't you adapt and make some small changes to help us raise our children and keep them alive?

Thank you so much for listening.   -- POKWASPA.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pfizer Canada and WestJet Make Travel Easier for Canadians with Severe Food Allergies / Epi Pen maker creates Social Media Contest offering those anaphylactic to foods the chance to win trip for four!!!

PR Newswire

Pfizer Canada and WestJet Make Travel Easier for Canadians with Severe Food Allergies

'Reach for the Sky' contest aims to increase awareness on a growing public health issue in Canada
KIRKLAND, QCSept. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - Serious allergies are on the rise and to raise awareness of anaphylaxis,  Pfizer Canada, Canadian distributor of EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors, and WestJet are launching a social media contest called Reach for the Sky, offering Canadians with severe food allergies, or those at risk of anaphylaxis, the chance to win a WestJet Vacations package for four.  
"Pfizer Canada in partnership with WestJet is committed to making travel and travel planning as worry-free as possible for those WestJet guests who are among the 2.5 million Canadians who self-reported having at least one food allergy," said Allen Van Der Wee, General Manager, Global Established Products Business Unit at Pfizer Canada Inc. "Anaphylaxis is a serious health concern, especially when travelling. We are proud of our continued partnership with WestJet, an organization that embraces the culture of care and understands the serious medical issues involved with severe allergies. We support their efforts in being prepared to help guests should the need arise."
Food-induced anaphylaxis is reported to have increased 350 per cent in the last decade.In addition, severe food allergies among children in the US have increased from an average of 3.4 per cent during 1991 to 1999 to 5.1 per cent during the years of 2009 to 2011, according to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2
WestJet has long taken measures to accommodate their guests while maintaining a balanced experience for all other guests with food allergies. WestJet carriers are equipped with EpiPen®and EpiPen® Jr Auto-Injectors, trusted by Canadians and their health care providers for more than 25 years. That said, travelers at risk of severe allergic reactions are ultimately responsible for taking all the necessary precautions, including carrying their own epinephrine auto-injector(s) at all times.
"We take the health and safety of our guests very seriously and we are pleased to be working with Pfizer Canada and offer EpiPen® to help provide additional support and raise awareness for people at risk of severe allergic reactions," said Lorne Mackenzie, Director, Regulatory Affairs at WestJet.
For more information about WestJet's Allergy Policy, please visit www.westjet.com.
Reach for the Sky Photo ContestTo enter, eligible participants must visit the EpiPen® Canada Facebook page and submit an inspirational photograph along with a caption explaining how living with severe allergies does not restrict them or their child from going after their dreams. The national launch of the voting period will occur in October for the public to decide their favourite entry out of the top 20. For more details on the Reach for the Sky contest or to enter the contest, visit the EpiPen® Canada Facebook page.  
*Should you be carrying an EpiPen® Auto-Injector? Take the Severe Allergy Risk Test to help determine your risk of a severe allergic reaction and visit www.EpiPen.ca for more information.
About PfizerPfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Pfizer's diversified health care portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines for humans, and many of the world's best‐known consumer products. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca or you can follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/PfizerCA) or Facebook (facebook.com/ Pfizer.Canada).
Important Safety InformationEpiPen and EpiPen Jr (0.3 and 0.15 mg epinephrine) Auto-injectors ("EpiPen") are indicated for the emergency treatment of anaphylactic reactions in patients who are determined to be at increased risk for anaphylaxis, including individuals with a history of anaphylactic reactions. The EpiPen Auto-Injector is a disposable, pre-filled automatic injection device that administers epinephrine in the event of a severe allergic reaction.  After using EpiPen, you must seek immediate medical attention or go to the emergency room. For the next 48 hours, you must stay close to a healthcare facility or be able to call 9-1-1. For more information about EpiPen, please visit www.EpiPen.ca.
About WestJetWe are proud to be Canada's most-preferred airline, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country's top employers.  We offer scheduled service to more than 85 destinations in North AmericaCentral America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries.  Leveraging WestJet's extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more.  Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods  ̶  even on seat sales.  For more information about everything WestJet, please visit www.westjet.com. More information about WestJet's allergy policy can be found on www.westjet.com in the Travel Essentials section under Guests with Special Needs.
EpiPen®, EpiPen® Jr are registered trademarks of Mylan, Inc. licensed exclusively to its wholly-owned affiliate, Mylan Specialty, L.P.; sub-licensee, Pfizer Canada Inc., Kirkland, Quebec H9J 2M5.
1 Ben-Shoshan,et al. A population-based study on peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, and sesame allergy prevalence in CanadaJournal of Allergy Clinical Immunology 2010 Vol. 125 Issue 6:1327-1335 June 2010 Available at: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/epidemiology/joseph/publications/medical/benshoshan2010.pdf[Accessed September 4, 2014].
2 Food Allergy Research and Education. Available at: http://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats[Accessed September 4, 2014]. 

Food For Thought -- Wiping out food allergies with fermentation.

Korean kimchi made from fermented vegetables. (Photo: Taehoon Kang, Flickr)
Food allergies are becoming an epidemic. If you have young children, you know that the warnings are everywhere. You can't bring certain "high-risk" foods in school lunches anymore, and many children take a shocking amount of medication every day to help curb their reactions.
study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that food allergies among children increased almost 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. Researchers also estimate that 15 million Americans and 17 million Europeans currently suffer from food allergies. The concentration of reactions in developed countries is baffling scientists, but a new study may have the answer that our grandmothers knew all along: We need to eat more fermented foods.
When I was growing up, even the word "fermented" was gross to me. It conjured up images of rot and mold, and that's something I was always told to stay away from. Ironically enough, this fear of the natural fermentation process may be one of our biggest enemies today.
This new study introduced mice with peanut allergies to a natural gut bacteria found in humans called clostridia. While the bacteria blocked the peanut allergies in the mice, it also pointed out another important find. In a 2004 study, immunologist Dr. Cathryn Nagler and her team discovered that certain antibiotics remove clostridia from the system, allowing allergies to develop and thrive. So in combination with this new study, it's safe to say that the overuse of antibiotics is directly causing the increase in food allergies.
"We have co-evolved with our microbiota, and it has an enormous impact on our health," Nagler said to the BBC. "It's having a negative impact now because we've disturbed it with antibiotics, a high-fat diet and C-sections."
Nagler goes on to comment in another interview with KCET about infants and antibiotics: "An infectious disease specialist made the point that most kids in the U.S. receive two or three courses of antibiotics in infancy. Most of the treatments they receive are for viral infections, meaning they're getting a treatment that serves no purpose."
Although it may take several years to get clostridia approved for pill form, it's important to note that gut bacteria is created naturally through the fermentation of certain foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and many other delicious foods can help reintroduce your intestines to the bacteria it needs for proper digestion and health. And yes, beer counts as a healthy fermented food, although pasteurization kills the good bacteria.
Fermentation has been around since the beginning of time as a way to preserve food. Before refrigerators, ice in bags and chemical preservatives, people fermented their food for long-term storage. So why did its use decline in the past 100 years or so? Mainly because fermentation has certain variables that don't play well with mass production. There's no easy and cheap way to manufacture, age, transport and store fermented food on a large scale.
Home fermenting can be tricky (and potentially dangerous, if done incorrectly), so your best bet is to do lots of research before just letting some cabbage rot on your counter and eating it. "The Art of Fermentation" is the absolute best book you can get on the topic. Author Sandor Katz takes a look at fermentation from the do-it-yourselfer's perspective, showing that just about every type of food can be properly fermented with the right knowledge and care.
"Mastering Fermentation: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Fermented Foods" is another good one if you're looking for recipes to try out once you understand the basics. Author Mary Karlin shows you how to make everything from fermented vinegars and mustard to tips on preserving and curing meats.
If you're still a bit grossed out by fermentation and the idea of introducing it to your body, you might be surprised to learn that you are probably already eating it. Sourdough bread, beer, yogurt, cheese, pickles, apple cider and even salami are all commonly fermented foods. Some of these are now artificially fermented with chemicals through a cheaper manufacturing process, so be aware of what's real and what's been processed in a lab.
And if you're overwhelmed with the work it takes to ferment on your own, there are a few helpful products out there to make things faster and easier. The Kraut Source is a small-scale fermentation device that was recently Kickstarted to help the average busy consumer make small batches of what the inventors call "gourmet fermentation."
So don't be afraid to embrace the preservation methods of our ancestors, and you may discover a whole new taste to enjoy, while giving your body the proper tools it needs to fight digestive or allergy problems.
Shawn Schuster is a small-scale sustainable farmer in Alabama. He can be reached on Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

Accessed: Wednesday, October 8th 2014