It is unnatural for a childhood to be robbed of its freedom by worry and disease. But only strict vigilance and avoidance of allergens can protect a child like mine, and with this come many restrictions.
Allergic children are entirely reliant upon their caregivers to ensure they are safe. It is only hoped that simple measures, such as training teachers to administer epinephrine and making unassigned epinephrine mandatory at schools, are implemented before another unnecessary loss of life.
Who could forget the tragic "peanut butter kiss of death" headlines about a Canadian teen who died of anaphylactic shock related to a peanut allergy. Well, the teenager did die -- but little else of that story proved true.
At the center of the fallout are the allergic children and teenagers who are sometimes left feeling unsafe, socially set apart from their peers at lunch or in classroom celebrations, and teased or bullied by other students.
As the parent of a child with multiple anaphylactic allergies, I've learned that any delay in treatment of anaphylaxis can cost my child his life. But what if a child shows signs of anaphylaxis and an EpiPen isn't readily available?
The federal government has no problem slapping graphic warning labels on a pack of cigarettes; yet when it comes to something that affects all of us -- the food we eat every day -- we're left playing Russian roulette.