This swollen, puffy girl is my eldest daughter Sofia. This picture was taken 14 hours after being exposed to peanuts. This is after multiple doses of Benadryl.
Sofia didn't eat anything with peanut in it. She got a kiss and a hug from a friend who ate peanut products before seeing her. It was an honest mistake and the person who kissed and hugged her feels very bad.
We noticed a few hives before dinner after our friend left (we didn't think anything of it, since random hives are not a new thing to us). At this point we did not know our friend had eaten peanut butter and kissed her. So we gave her a dose of Benadryl and she was fine. She went to bed a couple hours later without a problem. In the morning she woke up and her face, her lips, her ears, her EYELIDS...everything was completely swollen. Her hands were even swollen! We took her in right away and after 24 hours of Benadryl and a steroid prescription, she is better.
How scary, right?
But what scares me even more than this reaction is that there are people who still think that making accommodations for children with allergies is an annoyance.
When the school year started, I read several threads on facebook that went along the lines of:
"These allergies are getting out of hand, soon my kids won't be able to eat anything at school"
"These kids with allergies should just sit at different tables"
"My kids only eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch"
I couldn't stop thinking about these mothers. Is it possible that they would rather make life easier for themselves than to keep my baby girl safe? Sitting at a different table wouldn't have helped Sofia in this weekend's situation. We are lucky we homeschool, I can control what comes into our home and if she does have an allergy, I am right there. But there are millions of other children who go to public school...what do they do then?
Every mother knows the fierce protectiveness they feel for their children if they were being hurt. For me, I felt it the second I held my Sofia in my arms. When I hear about a child being abused, hurt, abducted or bullied...my heart hurts, because I immediately think about my own children. My heart hurts as well, when I think that a fellow mother would not want to protect my child from death. Yes, peanut allergies can be deadly.
If you know you will be in contact with a child with allergies, make accommodations. Make your child's sandwich with Sunbutter or any other peanut alternative, bring fruit as a snack instead of snacks from peanut factories, brush your child's teeth after eating peanut products. Let your child see you making these accomadations! You have a chance to teach your child to be a HERO!
A beautiful thing has come out of my daughter's allergies. We have witnessed young children truly care for Sofia's health. Mothers from Sofia's preschool would always come up to me and tell me that their child would remind them to keep Sofia safe! A friend of mine had pretzel M&Ms out on the table when Sofia was over (they look the same size as peanut ones) and each one of her three kids asked her to take them away because they thought they were peanuts!
What a lesson to learn! We are all responsible for each other. Kids GET IT....now the rest of us have to get on board!