Helping Food Allergic Kids Feel "Normal"
Posted by Shifrah on Monday, July 18, 2011
The Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board was born of one woman's desire to help her food allergic daughter be safe yet still feel included in typical childhood activities, reports CNN in Making Food-Allergic Kids Feel Included.

Concerned that her peanut and tree nut-allergic daughter, Charlotte, would be exposed to these foods during typical Halloween trick-or-treating, Mireille Schwartz set up a clear wedding tent on their street and hosted a nut-free Halloween party there. That night she lay awake considering other kids' Halloweens decided to do something to help them. She thought, "There had to be a way to keep children safe, and not just safe but enjoying and living vibrant and full lives."

Now the Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board performs services such as matching people who have food allergies to doctors who can provide diagnoses and treatments. The organization even covers costs for these medical expenses and also offers tips for how to both buy and prepare allergy-free foods in a budget-conscious way.

Indeed, caring for food allergic children can require ample amounts of time and money, especially if more than one child has allergies, and even more so if multiple allergies are at play. Many parents take it upon themselves to ensure their children's safety at school functions or other group activities, starting from preschool age. They may attend these activities with them and often cook for class parties to make sure that their children aren't accidentally exposed to allergenic foods.

And the cost of these allergy-free foods is often twice as much as their possibly cross-contaminated counterparts. Add to this the cost of emergency treatment and lost wages – not to mention the emotional toll of anxiety experienced by these families. With such heavy costs incurred by food allergic families, the support provided by agencies like the Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board is a welcome relief.

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