Did you know that eight percent of children and two percent of all Americans have at least one food allergy?Food Allergy Aid is dedicated to providing a meaningful resource to these people and their loved ones to keep these potentially life-threating allergies managable.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"May Contain" Statements

Do you consume products that have "May Contain" statements? Do you allow your child to consume these products? There may be a bigger risk than you think when it comes to "may contain" declarations.

In my house, we do not trust these products. We do not even allow the "manufactured on the same equipment that processes _____". I feel that these products are not worth risking my or my son's health over!

I have recently read articles regarding "may contains" which support the fact that many of these products do contain a certain percentage of the allergen. These statements should be taken seriously. Obviously, it is an individual decision if these products will be consumed but they should at least be considered in the decision-making process. Remember, it only takes a minimal amount of some allergens to cause a significant reaction.

If you have any input on this subject, please post in the forum area. I would love to hear your stories and advice for others!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How Did You Find Out??

Whenever I talk with someone about my son's food allergies, the question inevitably makes it into the conversation...."How did you find out that he was allergic to all those foods?"

In our case, our son had terrible ezcema as a young infant. He had red, scaly patches all over his body - including his face and scalp. In fact, his scalp was one of his two worst areas. His head was so crusted that if he scratched his head (which he did often), his hair would look wet from the oozing. He also had a spot on his hand that we swore would be scarred forever! He scratched this part of his hand on ANYTHING he could get to! It would ooze and bleed several times per day.

We tried everything under the sun to get rid of the ezcema but nothing seemed to work. We were bathing him in cetaphil, using atarax nightly, doing probiotics in his food, and using prescription creams. Finally, when all else failed (and mommy was in tears!), the allergist decided to test him for the top 8 allergens at 7 months of age and, at that point, he was positive to wheat, milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, corn, oats and green peas.

We changed him to Nutramigen from a milk-based formula at that point and started an elimination diet of all of his allergens. His skin was better in a matter of days! He also had very good results with Protopic, which is a non-steroidal ointment. However, three years down the line, he developed a rash and hives in the area where it was applied so we do not use it anymore.

The best solution that I got from anyone was from my father - an italian! He kept telling me to rub olive oil on him. I refused as this just seemed useless and messy. Well, when I was at the point of tears, I tried it - it worked like a charm! The best thing about it is that olive oil is great for skin and it's such a pure solution!

Many people, after hearing that, fear that their child will have numerous food allergies because their child has ezcema. This may not be the case. However, children with atopic skin disorders (ezcema) do have a higher tendency to develop allergies and asthma. Food allergies can possibly manifest as skin conditions. I, as a child, had severe ezcema as well and I have food allergies and mild asthma. Allergies can be genetic! So, if a child or an adult has problems with ezcema or other skin conditions, an allergy visit may not be a bad idea! A skin condition does not necessarily mean that a person has allergies but it is worth checking into if it is bothersome or you're just curious!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Milk Protein Allergy Versus Lactose Intolerance

I hear from a lot of people that they have a child or know someone who is allergic to milk because they are "lactose intolerant". Just like the previous post on Celiac/wheat allergy, here, again, there is a big difference. It is understandable how someone would view lactose intolerance as an allergy. It should not, however, be referred to as a true allergy.

The difference is similar to celiac disease versus a true wheat allergy. A person who is lactose intolerant cannot properly digest a sugar that is found in milk. The problem with the digestion takes place, again, in the digestive tract - the intestines. A person who is lactose intolerant and ingests milk may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, and/or bloating.

A true milk protein allergy is an IgE-mediated reaction (immune system reaction) where the body may release histamine. The histamine is responsible for producing symtoms including itching, wheezing, swelling, difficulty breathing, etc. Some people may even experience anaphylaxis after ingesting milk and may have to carry an epinephrine auto-injector.

An allergist can test for milk protein allergy either through blood or skin testing. See an allergist or other physician if you or someone you know thinks they are allergic to milk.

Milk protein allergy tends to be more common in childhood. If you think your child needs to see an allergist, try to find a pediatric allergist in your area. Pediatricians may also order blood work for allergies if they choose to do so. Despite what some people have been told and may tell you, children can be tested for allergies as babies/young children. I have skin tested a 3 month old!! Now, keep in mind, each person is different and the physician will have to decide what type of testing, if any, is best!

Friday, October 05, 2007

What is Gluten?

I get asked a lot about gluten and what exactly it is! Many people also ask about the difference between Celiac Disease and wheat allergy.

Gluten is two proteins that make up wheat (a grain). Proteins in wheat is what causes allergies or intolerances to the grain. Not all grains contain gluten, though. For example, corn, buckwheat, and rice do not contain gluten.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition (the body "attacks itself"). People who suffer with this disease cannot tolerate/digest gluten. If gluten is consumed, it can cause the intestines to become damaged. Once this damage occurs, the body may become unable to properly asborb essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for life. Some of the symptoms of celiac disease include weight loss, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and poor nutrition.

To find more information on Celiac Disease, please see the links below:




A true wheat allergy is when the body experiences an allergic reaction to wheat protein. The body releases histamine which causes symptoms such as itching, wheezing, swelling of the mouth or throat, hives, a drop in blood pressure, and even death. The reactions can be mild, moderate, or severe. Severe, life-threatening reactions are known as anaphylaxis.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Food Allergies

I should introduce myself. My name is Sherry Langston. I am a registered nurse with a bachelor's degree and have been dealing with food allergies for practically my whole life. You see, I am allergic to peanuts and sesame seeds. Most people might think that two food allergies is not a big deal. They could not be more wrong. Food allergies are tough and, to many, it is a scary experience - especially if you are a parent of a food allergic child.

My son is 4 years old and has 7 food allergies - wheat, milk, eggs, soy, peauts, oats, and green peas. The experience of raising him is what has changed my life and my perception of food allergies. He is who has made me passionate about helping others deal with this lifestyle.

Most people want to immediately feel sorry for our son because he cannot eat what others eat - we are quick to stop them and explain that this is not something that you need to feel bad about for him!! The mantra that my husband and I use to deal with this is "there are worse things than food allergies". Now, we understand that allergies are serious but we choose to view this as something positive rather than negative. With careful consideration of food choices and the proper resources, food allergies are completely manageable! It is not necessary for anyone to feel "different" or left out because of food allergies. There are TOO MANY resources out there to help make lives easier. I hope that you find this site helpful. Please e-mail me with any questions or comments - personal or about the site. I would love to hear from you!

The E-book will be available soon! This book contains a lot of helpful tips and many resources! Check back for when it will be available!