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Allergies

Allergies are everywhere these days.  Both boys are in peanut-free classrooms this year, but I was surprised to recently receive a note from Ryan’s classroom prohibiting baked goods on birthdays and other special occasions.  Apparently, there are five kids with gluten allergies and one child with an “unspecified allergy” (I have no idea what this might be, but that’s what the note home said.  Strange).
Like many children of the 1970’s, I like to remember things being just plain easier when I was a kid.  Allergies were not omnipresent like they are now.  Although my little sister Lisa was allergic to all sorts of pollen, dust, and dander, I don’t remember anyone in my immediate or extended circle with any food allergies.  I know for a fact that peanuts were in heavy rotation on the Sunday School snack schedule, and other than my sister getting a weekly allergy shot (how I hated being dragged along to those visits!), it just wasn’t on my radar.
I mentioned the no-cupcake directive in passing to my girlfriends the other night and we were off to the allergy races.  Several have children with environmental or food sensitivities or allergies, and everyone in the group (including yours truly) knows one or more kids with food allergies of the scary, life-threatening kind.  We pondered whether there really are more kids with allergies these days or whether we just know more about them, I decided to take a look.
I was surprised to learn that 50 million (not a typo) Americans have some sort of allergy and that “allergic disorders” are the #1 chronic health problem among children.  I also learned for the first time that untreated allergies can lead to more serious problems such as speech delay!  (I know that sounds like the worst kind of ignorance, but we have been very lucky inasmuch as the boys don’t have allergies).
My sister Lisa has settled in Austin which she claims is the Allergy Capital of the World.  Not the Live Music Capital of the World, but Allergies.  Poor Lisa goes through weeks of abject misery every year when the dreaded Cedar Fever runs rampant, and, in turn, my precious niece and nephew (18-month-old twins) are already under the care of an allergist.  This makes total sense, as I also read that children of allergic parents are more likely to suffer from allergies.
To read more, check out http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/children-allergies/Pages/default.aspx
I’m interested to know if allergies are an issue in your world.  Do you or your children suffer from allergies?  If yes, when were you or your kids diagnosed?  What do you do for treatment?  Are there particular environmental allergens in your neck of the woods?
More in a few days,
Corey

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