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Eleni koukides

I wrote my thesis in a column format to get my point across the strongest. Food allergies affect more than 12 million American's yet not many people know, or even care about them. For people living with food allergies everyday is a battle to stay safe, and a column gave me the option to write separate articles that not only stand on their own, but fit together in one cohesive series as well. Blogging is another reason I choose the column route. The best blogs out there, even if not intended, are laid out like columns. They are specific to one subject, with each entry standing alone, but part of a bigger picture. The first piece in the collection, An Everyday Battle is the main theme to my thesis, and a personal experience with my own food allergies. Just a tiny bit of carrots in my coleslaw left me running for the Benadryl. I was miserable for days all because I let my guard down, and didn't ask, or check what I was eating. Fortunately my allergy to carrots isn't life threatening. If it was I might not be here today. Food allergies change your life, and force you to always be on the lookout. What I aimed to do with my column was to highlight everyday "battles" Food Labels and Food Allergies highlights how difficult a simple task like grocery shopping becomes when you have to read every single food label. I spoke to Karen Bass who has two children with multiple food allergies. Shopping for her is not an easy run in grab what you need, and get out. It is a long tedious trip that can take hours. To bring this piece full circle, I also brought up the fact that vegans and vegetarians have this same problem. Just because you don't have food allergies does not mean that you are not affected. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is mandated to list the top eight food allergens highlighted in my piece about the top eight food allergies, but there are hidden allergens, and by products that do not have to be labeled. My own family struggles with the fact that I am the only one in our family of five who has multiple severe food allergies. Everyone in the house loves peanut butter, but the smell alone could send me to the hospital. Although I need to stay away from it we have a "not when Eleni's home" rule. If I am not home you can eat peanut butter, but all silverware used on and with it must be washed or put in the dishwasher and all counters or surfaces touched must be washed down with Clorox wipes. This rule came about a few years ago when my brother ate peanut butter on his ice cream, and left the bowl in the sink. Later that afternoon I came home, and not knowing what was in the sink started to load the dishwasher. The little bits of peanut butter left on the bowl and spoon caused my Two of the pieces in the collection go hand in hand, Peanut Free Schools, and Food Allergies in the Classroom. The fact that peanut allergies have doubled from 1997 to 2002 shows us just how important it is to keep children with this deadly allergy safe. The fact that I found articles from mothers genuinely pissed off they can't send their kids to school with peanuts or peanut butter shows the ignorance, and lack of knowledge about this epidemic. Not sending your child to school with peanut butter isn't killing them, but sending them with it can kill someone. It's a little bit like the saying guns don't kill people, people kill people. The fact is that peanut allergies, unlike other food allergies, do not generate small reactions such as hives or blisters. Peanuts cause anaphylaxis and death in allergic people. And maybe the public just doesn't know the facts, but they need to because these staggering statistics are not going anywhere. My knowledge and firsthand experiences are how people learn, and I hope to enlighten people with It all started with a little tingle in my lips. I looked down at the dish of coleslaw I had been picking at and my eyes widened as I saw the small specks of orange; carrots. The tingling turned into more of a pulsating, my gums began to itch and I could feel the rasp in my throat as it got harder to breathe. I am one of an estimated 12 million Americans who suffers from food allergies. This means one in every 25, people or four percent of our population. There is no cure for food allergies other then strictly keeping away from whatever As someone with severe food allergies I take it into my own hands everyday trying to teach others how life altering food allergies can be. Living with food allergies is an everyday battle, which I aim to help make a little easier for Allergists and scientists are working on a process to clone foods or ingredients in order to make vaccines, but the idea is still far fetched. These special allergy shots will work just like their counterparts for dust mites, pet dander or pollen, but the problem is that food allergies are a lot more serious. Just 1/16th of a peanut exposed to a person with a peanut allergy could be deadly. My allergy to carrots is serious but not enough to kill me. There is no need to run to the emergency room, but if I don‟t get two Benadryl tablets into my system soon my face might look like a big, red, swollen balloon. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology did a nationwide survey showing that 54.6 percent of all U.S. citizens test positive to one or more allergens. This same survey showed that allergic diseases affect as Data from the same survey also shows that of the 12 million affected by food allergies, six and a half million of them are allergic to seafood. Peanuts, tree nuts or both are close behind with three million affected. But with all this being said what exactly is a food allergy and why does it happen? For reasons still unknown by scientists and allergists someone could eat something for years and have no problems, but one day eat it and have a horrible reaction. This is the case with most peanut, tree nuts and shellfish allergies. Something changes in our immune system and our bodies react by attacking what they think is a foreign object, causing an allergic reaction. This was exactly the case with my peanut allergy. I was ten years old, and my lunch of choice was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I don‟t remember too much about the reaction, other then it was hard to breathe. I spent the next three days in the hospital hooked up to a breathing machine that forced air into my swollen esophagus. An IV dripped a Benadryl like prescription into my veins, slowly reversing all the inflammation in my throat. Reactions can be as small as bumps and hives or as serious as anaphylaxis and death. Data collected for a five survey from the Minnesota Mayo Clinic shows that anaphylaxis is one of the most serious reactions and kills about 200 people a year. This same survey showed that peanuts cause 50 to 62 percent of fatal anaphylaxis and tree nuts 15 to 30 percent. The number of hospital visits and deaths from anaphylaxis rise each year, yet we still don‟t know what causes food allergies and why every day more and The only way to be 100 percent safe is to stay away from the foods you are allergic to. Other than that, it is helpful to have Benadryl and an Epi-pen with you at all times. Benadryl is an over the counter antihistamine that helps with both hay fever and low severity food reactions. An EpiPen is for more serious reactions and is a self-injecting system that gets epinephrine into your body fast to open up air ways. This opens up breathing just long enough so the patient can get to the Food allergy sufferers play a game of Russian roulette everyday not knowing if a hidden allergen is lurking in a bag of their favorite chips or if they will accidentally come in contact with something they are allergic to. Food allergies are something I‟ve been dealing with since I was a kid and my parents before I was able to take care of myself. If you don‟t have food allergies you usually don‟t know much about them, which causes ignorance. Just as you wouldn‟t tease a diabetic with a chocolate bar, you wouldn‟t wave a hand full of peanuts in front of me, the smell alone is enough to trigger a serious Check back with me next week for a piece on food allergies in the classroom. I will be interviewing a teacher, and friend of mine, Claire Iannaccone. Iannaccone will let us know what it is like to have an allergic student in class, and The bell rings to announce snack time. All the kids run to their cubbies, pulling their lunch boxes from their backpacks. They push and shove in some imaginary race to see who can get back to their seats the fastest. Zippers unzip to expose lunch boxes filled with goodies. This is first grade; showing off the new juice boxes is almost as fun as recess. Nobody cares about grapes or apple slices, the unhealthier your snack the more envious the At the center of the classroom, a student smiles as she flips open the top to her lunch box. Mom packed her favorite, an apple juice and peanut butter cracker sandwiches. Humming to herself she pulls the straw off of the juice box, tapping it on the desk to remove the plastic cover. She pokes the foil, struggling to break the seal where the straw slides in. Happy with herself she takes a sip before picking up the crackers. She pulls the two sides of plastic apart, the smell of peanuts fills the air, and suddenly the classroom becomes a very scary place for a Today food allergies are more prominent in the classroom than ever before. Three million children or six percent of all children in The United States are affected by food allergies. Reactions are highest in children, affecting one in 17 under the age of three. Peanut allergies alone doubled in the five year period of 1997 to 2002. Food allergies in general also rose 18 percent in children under 18 Claire Iannaccone, 25, of Norwalk, Connecticut, is a first grade teacher and summer camp counselor at Tracy Elementary School. Tracy School is not a peanut free school, but does have a peanut free table in the front of their lunch room. “If a teacher has a student with a peanut allergy in their class, they hang a sign on the outside of the classroom door,” says Iannaccone. The sign is cute, done in a manner to make the child feel safe, not stigmatizing them. Peanut free schools are popping up all over Connecticut, and the rest of the United States due to the increase in peanut allergies in children. A peanut free school is the same as any other school, except for the fact that no student or teacher is allowed to bring peanuts, peanut butter, or any kind of tree nut onto the school property. Check out next week‟s column for more on peanut free schools. Milk, egg, peanut, and tree nut allergies are most prominent in children. The milk allergy is the most common childhood food allergy, affecting 2.5 percent of children under the age of three. 80 percent of these children will outgrow their milk allergy by the age of 16. An allergy to eggs is the second most common food allergy in children, affecting 1.5-3.2 percent of children. 68 percent of these children will outgrow their egg allergy by the time they are 16. A peanut allergy affects 1.2 percent of children. Approximately 20 percent of these children will outgrow it by age six. Tree nut allergies (almonds, walnuts, etc.) affect 1.2 percent of the children, nine percent of them outgrowing it by age six. All percentages come from a survey done in 2008, can be found on the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network‟s (FAAN) website. “I don‟t have any peanut allergies this year,” says Iannaccone, “but I do have a kid with a raw egg allergy.” Fortunately raw eggs are not found in the classroom, making her job of keeping this child safe a little bit easier. She says, “At camp this summer we had a whole table of peanut free kids, and we made sure that no one with peanuts sat at the table. We inspected their lunches every day, also during snack time.” The counselors are very thorough, also making sure they have spare snacks in case a child brings in something someone else is As children become teens and adults food allergies become a little easier to handle. The older you are, the more you are able to emphasize verbally your need to stay away from certain foods. Take it from me, it will never be easy, but as you live with your food allergies you get comfortable with them and how to take care of yourself. If you go to a school where peanuts are allowed, your best bet is for all of your teachers to know about them, and the severity. My sophomore year of high school I had an allergic reaction from peanut butter another student behind me was eating. I smelled the peanut butter collected my things, and told my teacher I had to leave, explaining the situation. He told me to sit back down because the bell would be ringing in a few minutes. Knowing that this could be a very bad situation for me if I stayed I simply left the class, and headed straight to the nurse‟s office. I was already taking a Benedryl for the blisters forming on the inside of my lips when security came looking for me. Yes, that‟s right, security. My teacher called security, telling them I left the classroom This shows that things have definitely changed in the last few years since I was in school. Teachers are trained on how to better take care of a situation involving food allergies. The fact that there are peanut free schools shows that things have changed, for the good of course. With food allergies knowledge is everything; the more you know the safer you will be. As a parent, sending your kids to school with food allergies can be a scary thing. Here are some helpful hints to make this process just a little bit easier. 1. Work with an allergist or immunologist to identify your child's triggers and reinforce these to your child. If possible, provide your child with a medical bracelet or necklace that identifies his or her specific allergy. 2. Tour your child's school or childcare facility before school starts, and meet with the staff to inquire about policies regarding foods and other potential 3. Provide staff with information and resources to educate them about your child's allergy. Have your child's allergist/immunologist provide clear, written instructions on recognizing a reaction early and administering medication in case of a reaction. Inform staff to call 911 immediately if a reaction occurs. 4. Teach staff when and how to properly administer medications such as injectable epinephrine, encouraging them to handle the medication and ask questions. Explain to them that they cannot delay in administering medication to your child, and that they are obligated to assist your child and to include him or her in normal school activities. Children with a history of anaphylaxis should carry epinephrine with them at all times. Next week we will be looking at food labels, how they work, and on what Food labels can be found on any domestic or imported food regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These labels are required to list if the product contains any of the top eight food allergens, mentioned in my previous Each label gives a list of the specific allergen in the food product. If a box of cereal has a tree nut in it the label would not simply say tree nuts, but rather almond or walnut. Another example would be saying the product contains shrimp or crab rather then just shellfish. Proteins from any of the eight allergens are also listed on food labels, as they can cause a reaction too. “Grocery shopping has become a bit of a nightmare for us,” says Karen Bass, 43, of Danbury, Connecticut. Bass is a nurse and mother of three, two of which have severe food allergies. Kennedy, 11, and the youngest of the three kids is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, while middle child Marcus, 13, is allergic to A simple trip to the grocery store for the basic staples can become a three hour adventure. “Cereals, breads and baked goods are the toughies for us. Almost all of them have nuts or are made on machines shared with nuts,” says Bass about So why should anyone without food allergies, even care the slightest bit about food labels? The truth is that almost anyone can fall victim to our faulty food label system. If you are a vegetarian, vegan or celiac, you too are effected by Food labels are on boxes to protect individuals with allergies, intolerances, and even those who just don‟t like certain foods. Unfortunately the food labeling system is still a little flawed and not every ingredient or by product is included on them. The problem is that not all foods are labeled correctly, and as individual with food allergies this makes staying safe that much harder. Vegetarians do not eat meat, while vegans do not eat meat or meat by products. Whether this is for health or religious reasons does not matter, and with meat by products not being listed on food labels, vegetarians and vegans may be fooled into eating meat. In this case the matter isn‟t life or death, but still is upsetting if for any reason meat is not a preferred dietary option. No one likes to be tricked, especially if the trick can potentially put you in danger. Celiac Disease is similar to a food allergy, but is considered a food intolerance. If you are a celiac your body cannot have gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and some oats. In recent years with Celiac Disease cases on the rise, the FDA has now required that all gluten free food has a stamp clearly Bass says, “I‟m not trying to take the easy way out, but I wish they didn‟t have to work so hard to stay safe. A peanut free or dairy free label on the front of food would definitely make there lives a easier” Foods regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, (USDA) such as meats, poultry, and some egg products do not have to be labeled as the FDA does. Fruits, vegetables, restaurants, fast food, and vendors also do not follow FDA labeling rules either. This again causes a problem for the individual with food allergies. How can you be sure the ingredient you are allergic to is not lurking in People with food allergies dread the may contain, or processed/manufactured in a plant labels listed under the ingredients. Allergy specialist, Dr. Andrew MacGinnitie says, “One study found about ten percent of foods so labeled contained significant amounts of the identified allergen with no difference based on the wording of the statement.” This means that allergic individuals can have a food multiple times without a problem, but another batch It comes down to having to be on guard around the clock when it comes to food allergies. Here are some helpful hints that have helped me shop for groceries 1. Always read labels! Even if you‟ve bought the same item before, ingredients can be changed without notice. 2. Hidden allergens can be hiding in your food. Go online and see what “code” names allergens you are allergic go by. Memorizing them or 3. Check out restaurants and fast food restaurants websites before you go out. Menus don‟t have ingredient information, but a lot of websites do. 4. Go to the FDA website and sign up for emails on allergy recalls. Next week‟s column will be highlighting the top food allergens, also known as the top eight. Learn what the top eight are, and how to stay away from What do milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat all have in common? These eight foods are commonly known as “The Top 8,” and are responsible for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions. Although often confused, a milk or dairy allergy is very different then being lactose intolerant. Just like all other food allergies a milk/dairy allergy is an adverse immune reaction to a protein in the dairy product. Lactose intolerance is from lack of production of the lactose enzyme. Dairy allergies are limited to just cow and animal milk, but a mother‟s breast milk can cause a reaction in newborns due to their consumption of dairy. In these cases the mother is put on a dairy free diet if they want to continue breastfeeding, or has to use a milk substitute formula. Milk substitute drinks are often made of rice, soy, oat, coconut, or almond. Unfortunately these substitutes lack the natural calcium from animal milk, but can be made up with vitamins and supplements. Cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy goodies are made in substitute forms, and can be found at either your local Here are some ingredients to avoid if you have a milk/dairy allergy: Foods to avoid that commonly contain dairy:  Beverages: milk, butter milk, hot chocolate  Boxed dinners: macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, puddings  Prepared meats, salad dressings, ice cream Having an egg allergy not only means no eggs, but no foods with eggs in them either. Although there are no actual egg substitutes to make omelets or egg salad, certain ingredients can be used together to replace eggs in recipes for cakes, One egg can be replaced in baking by using Ener-G egg replacer, flax seed meal, unflavored gelatin, cornstarch, arrowroot flour, potato starch, or a banana. Combinations of milled flax seed, water, soy milk powder, and cornstarch can  Ovo (egg in Latin, used as a prefix)  Baked goods: cookies, cakes, muffins, waffles  Beverages: wine, root beer, coffee, beer, eggnog  Desserts: custards, puddings, ice cream It is also important to know that egg embryos are used to culture many of our vaccines. I outgrew my egg allergy, but not before my measles vaccine became an eight hour ordeal at the doctor‟s office. In order to stop an allergic reaction from even happening my doctor administered the smallest amount of the vaccine to me, waiting a few hours in between each injection. Even the very common Influenza shot that most Americans get every year is grown in egg Both fish and shellfish come from the sea, but they do not go hand in hand. Someone with a fish allergy is not necessarily allergic to shellfish, and vice versa. Fish and shellfish are one of the easiest foods to avoid, making them a little bit easier to live with. This food allergy is also rare in children, and seems to just happen out of the blue to adults who had previously eaten either fish or shellfish. Most fish allergies are confined to certain types of fish such as trout, bass, or flounder. Shellfish is different because you are usually allergic to all shellfish. With this being said, allergists suggest that both individuals with food and shellfish allergies stay away from all types of both foods. Cross contamination is very high at seafood restaurants, your best bet being to avoid them. Not only will it be harder for you to find an option other then fish or shellfish, but fried fish is most likely fried in the same fryer as the French Hidden fish and shellfish in common foods:  Anchovies: worcheshir sauce, some pizzas, Caesar salad, and dressing  Gelatin: can be made from fish or shellfish  Asian food: either contain fish and shellfish, and has a risk of cross Peanuts are separate from tree nut allergies because technically peanuts are not even nuts, but legumes. Unlike tree nuts, peanuts grow under ground on roots. Peanut allergies are most serious because of how stable peanut proteins are. This means that even when cooked or baked they do no lose potency, and do not This allergy is also the most serious because it is least likely to be outgrown. Knowing this, as an individual with a peanut allergy, you must be aware at all times. The tiniest bit of peanut protein can cause a huge reaction without even touching it. A reaction can be as small as hives, but peanut allergies usually cause reactions such as anaphylaxis, where the esophagus swells and breathing can become impossible. The Asthma and Allergy foundation of America (AAFA) states the peanut allergy is the most common cause of food  Peanuts, peanut butter, flour, starch  Baked goods: donuts, pastries, breads  Snacks: crackers, granola, rice cakes  Asian food: stir fry, sauces, egg rolls Tree nut allergies differ from peanuts not only in the way they grow, but because different proteins cause the reactions. Unlike me, most people with a tree nut allergy can eat peanuts, or vice versa. Just like fish allergies, it is possible to be allergic to just one tree nut. For safety reasons most allergists advise patients to stay away from all tree nuts, even if they are just allergic to one type. Below is a list of all tree nuts required both the US Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA) to be placed Soy is a food allergy that is most often found in children, and outgrown before adulthood. A common misconception of soy is that it is easy to stay away from, but if you look at food labels you will see it is a common ingredient. Also watch out for soy in lip balms, lotions, and makeup. Ingredients that are more likely to contain soy: Wheat allergies are almost always found in children, usually outgrown before adulthood. This allergy is one of the safest because it rarely causes anaphylaxis. Most reactions to wheat are eczema and hives, but should still be taken seriously. Having a wheat allergy is not the same as having celiac disease, which doesn‟t allow individuals to ingest gluten. The four main proteins that cause reactions are: albumin, globulin, gliadin, and gluten. Fortunately there are a few substitutes that can be made for someone with a wheat allergy. Rice, potato, sorghum, and bean flours are all good replacements, followed by tapioca and potato starch. Pasta, bread, broth, baking mixes, and snacks can also be bought online without wheat.  Snacks: crackers, chips, cereals, pretzels  Breads: bread, bagels, rolls, muffins Now that you know about “The Top 8,” you can better understand food allergies, where they are found, and what foods to avoid. Strict avoidance may be the only way to stay safe, but knowing what to look for can save your life. Safe Join me next week to learn more about the latest school tactics that have some mothers up in arms. Is your school, or your child‟s school a peanut free According to surveys done by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, (FAAN) peanut allergies doubled in children in the five year period from 1997 to 2002. Eight years have passed since this survey was done, and still the battle rages over whether or not to have peanut free schools to keep allergic Simply put, a peanut free school is a school that does not allow any peanuts, peanut butter, and sometimes tree nuts on the premises. This means no PB&J for lunch, no peanut butter crackers for snack, and no peanut butter cookies at the bake sale. If there are vending machines in the school or teachers lounge Reese‟s Pieces, Snickers, and Butterfingers will be removed. But is this too much As an individual who is allergic to peanuts it is hard to understand why so many parents are against peanut free schools. Peanut free schools would keep me safer. As an adult it is easier, but don‟t we want our kids to go to school to learn? How can a kid with a severe peanut allergy focus on learning when the fear of someone having peanut butter is looming in the back of their brain? Food allergies are not simply physically decapitating, they take you on a psychological roller coaster that I personally feel almost every day. In 2008, Willow Crawford, of Prince George, Canada expressed her thoughts on banning peanut butter to the Prince George Citizen. Crawford said, “Banning peanut butter and other such things from a child‟s lunch is over the top.” Crawford was verbally attacked for her article, and the ignorance she spread Frank Crosina, also of Prince George, Canada, is not only a teacher, but a father to a six-year-old with a peanut allergy. Crosina responded to Crawford by saying, “There seems to be a wide misconception out there about peanut When a child with a peanut allergy comes in contact with a peanut product, they do not experience a simple rash, bumps on the skin, itchiness, headaches, or watery eyes.” Crosina has seen first hand what can happen with peanut allergy, also saying, “This seems to be what people like Ms. Crawford seem to think. It is this kind of ignorance that keeps the parents of children withup at Children with peanut allergies experience anaphylactic reactions, which include, but are not limited to, uncontrolled vomiting, swelling in the face, neck and throat, and closing of air passages. They can stop breathing, and even die. Analogies are great way to explain things to people who really cannot put “For the purpose of enlightening Ms. Crawford and all other parents who are still in the dark about peanut allergies, let me explain it using this analogy. Imagine having your child sit down to eat in their classroom and somebody went around and sprinkled rat poison on the desk around your child's food and then told them to be careful not to eat it or even touch it. Peanuts are the equivalent of poison to my son and no reports of "inconvenience" for a fellow parent are going to make me want to have your child "learn" about allergies from the death of my son.” I think the problem starts here because no parent wants to be told how to raise their child. In telling parents they are not allowed to bring certain foods to school they feel inconvenienced, and as if they are being told how to take care of their children. This is not the case at all, and these parents must take a look at the bigger picture. If your child has asthma you would be pretty ticked off if the gym teacher made your kid run until they passed out because they could not breathe. All parents of allergic kids want is for you to see through their eyes. It comes down to the fact that not eating a peanut butter sandwich is not life or death for a Although there is no list of schools that are peanut free, studies show there about 30,000 schools in the United States banning peanuts. A school in Charlotte, North Carolina has also banned eggs. “One life lost is too many. We think this is a reasonable accommodation to make,” says Cabarrus County Assistant Superintendent Jim Amendum.” Is it really that difficult to send your kid to There are plenty of foods that can be eaten at lunch besides PB&J. If you school is only peanut free look into things like almond butter, it is said to taste just as good as peanut butter. And if your school is tree nut free you can try sun butter, which is made from sunflower seeds. Instead of focusing on the negative, it‟s also important to look at things with a positive perspective. Think about it as I can send my kid to school with A, B, and C instead of they cannot bring D, E, or F. Here are some peanut free foods you can send to school with your kids, if they attend a peanut free school. Candy: air heads, dum dum pops, gum drops, junior mints, jolly ranchers, life savers, nerds, ring pops, rolos, runts. General Mills Cereals: cinnamon toast crunch, kix, berry berry kix, lucky charms, rice chex, corn chex, wheat chex, and trix. Kellogg‟s Cereal: corn pops, crispix, fruit loops, post alpha bits, and Cheese and Dairy: mootown snacks, go-gurt, drinkables, sliced cheese, cubed cheese, shredded cheese, string cheese, and cream cheese. Crackers, Chips and Cookies: zoo animal crackers, dunk aroos, sun chips, cheetos, elf grahams, snack stix, gold fish, fig newtons, cheese nips, and teddy Fruit: fresh apples, bananas, oranges. Packed apple sauce, diced pears, peaches, rasins, and oranges. Fruit rolls ups, fruit by the fruit, and fun fruit. Popcorn: corn cops, Frito Lay cheddar cheese, Frito Lay Chester‟s Cookies and Donuts: Cub Foods Bakery donuts/donut holes- glazed, powdered sugar, sugar, and sugar cookies. Kowalski‟s Bakery iced sugar cookies, Ice Cream: Edy‟s whole fruit bars, Icee squeeze up tubes, Italian ice, Klondike Oreo ice cream sandwich, and Minute Maid soft frozen lemonade. The holidays are coming up quickly! With parties to attend, and desserts to be had, make sure you read next week‟s column about food allergies, and The holidays are a time for family, friends, and tasty treats! Take a moment to think about your favorite holiday. Whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick‟s Day, or Christmas, all of these holidays have something in common; food. Thanksgiving has turkey and stuffing, Christmas has gingerbread, and St. Patrick‟s Day has corned beef and cabbage. So what happens when all these foods are thrown into the mix, and you have food allergies? Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe eating Halloween candy to surviving the Communication is key for safety with food allergies during the holidays. It doesn‟t matter whether holiday meals are at your house, or at someone else‟s, the fact is that no one wants to hurt you. By letting family and friends know about your food allergies you alleviate unnecessary drama. First if you are having a holiday dinner the most important thing to do is let your guests know. Most people do not know about food allergies unless they have them, so it is important to ask your guests if they plan on bringing food. Although this may seem rude, keep in mind it‟s a matter of safety. When the situation is known, guests will understand. Most guests will offer to bring something anyway; this is an opportunity to fill them in on you or your family‟s food allergies. Having a list of items that can be brought is also helpful. If the tables are turned, and you are attending a party, you want to let the host know right away about your allergies. Believe me, there is nothing worse than getting to a holiday party, and realizing you cannot eat anything. For everyone who likes to cook like me, the option of bringing a main dish that often contains allergens is a great option. Bringing a dish not only saves the host some time, but ensures there will be something completely safe for you to eat. If you really aren‟t the cooking type, the other option is to offer your host a list of what you are allergic to. This becomes a little more complicated because things like cross contamination come into play, something that must be avoided. Malls, airports, and train stations are bound to be packed for winter holidays. If you are traveling, your best bet is to have Benadryl or Epi-Pens on hand. For children, make sure they know not to take from anyone before knowing what the ingredients are. Another tip for this is carrying “safe food” that you know is safe. This takes the guessing game out, and ensures safety. Bowls of nuts and candies on tables are also a big concern if you have a dairy or nut allergy. These are almost always found on coffee tables during the holidays, and something you should mention to your party host about hidden allergens. There is always that one person in the office after Halloween who confiscates all of their kid‟s candy, and puts it in the break room. This candy can have hidden allergens, or contain them, again setting up a scary situation if you have food allergies. Just let your coworkers know about your food allergies. Something that I‟ve learned is safest for parties where you don‟t know what will be served is eating ahead. If you are hungry you are more likely to eat something that might not be safe, whereas if you are full the temptation is less. This is a perfect way to keep children safe too. Give them a snack before leaving Halloween and candy fit together perfectly, but for a child with food allergies this can be very dangerous. Here are some nonfood items to pass out on Here are some Thanksgiving side dishes that can all be made free of the Corn free cranberry sauce with orange and ginger

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PRACTICE BULLETIN OBSTETRICIAN–GYNECOLOGISTSNUMBER 41, DECEMBER 2002 Polycystic Ovary Syndrome This Practice Bulletin wasdeveloped by the ACOG Com- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition of unexplained hyperandro- genic chronic anovulation that most likely represents a heterogenous disorder. Its etiology remains unknown, and treatment is largely symptom based and empiric

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