Friday, September 28, 2007

Filming of our news story

The local news channel Todays TMJ4, came to our house to film us today. They filmed me making allergy free food for Nathan and then talking about his allergies and how we deal with the day to day life.

Our news clip will be aired a couple times this weekend.

Here is a copy of the written story courtesy of Today's TMJ4.

More than 12 million Americans have food allergies. Many of those people are children. Some allergies are so bad, they could kill you. It's important that parents and school leaders do their homework when it comes to protecting kids with allergies.

Nathan looks like any other healthy, happy, 14-month-old. But when mealtime comes, mom has to be extra careful. Nathan is allergic to dairy, wheat, oats, soy, eggs, and peanuts! Nathan's mom Jeanette was shocked when she first learned of his allergies.

"I didn't know that somebody could have that many allergies," she says.

It's not such a shock to Dr. Asriani Chiu at Children's Hospital. Food allergies have increased by 55% in the last five years! There is no medicine to cure or control this disease.

"There's a lot of theories regarding the rise of allergies. One is the industrialization of our nations now," Dr. Chiu explains.

And if you think an allergic reaction is a rash and a little itching, think again.

"It really can progress to a more systemic reaction, including the respiratory system, as well as the cardiovascular system, to shock and even death," Dr. Chiu warns.

Jeanette can control her home environment. But she says daycare is another story. "Other parents don't understand how hard it is to have a child with allergies, they don't think much of it."

What about school age children? The average American elementary school has ten children suffering from severe food allergies.

Cheryl Peil is Food Service Director for the Elmbrook School District. She says the lunchroom can be a scary place for kids with allergies. "That's why we have parent professionals out there that do handle, and try to prevent food-sharing and stuff."

Peil and her team are taking the allergy problem into their own hands. Their food service handbook, 'Managing Life Threatening Allergies In Schools', is nationally recognized. The district's school lunch program is completely peanut-free. Every school lunchroom also has a 'Peanut-Free' table available for kids with peanut allergies.

"Lunch is a huge function. Everybody wants to eat and participate," Peil says.

The schools also have a 'No Snack" policy for any classrooms that have a child with a peanut allergy. Peil admits these strict guidelines are sometimes met with mixed reviews. "It's a 50/50 world, and a lot of people have a 'don't push this on us' type of attitude."

Jeanette hopes Nathan grows out of most of his food allergies. In the meantime, she's taking precautions.

"He's my life, and whatever it takes to do for him, I will do it," Jeanette insists.

One of the things Jeanette has done is start an allergy support group for other parents of children with allergies. Parents can share advice and allergy-friendly recipes with each other.

Here's the information:


Eating Out
Dealing with Allergies at Daycare or School
Allergy Awareness

For more information, contact:

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