Managing the risk of food allergy

When our son was diagnosed with food allergies, we were absorbed into a new way of life, learning the folkways of keeping him safe. We labeled every jar and can in our pantry and fridge so that anyone who visited could see at a glance what was safe (green) or unsafe (red). Like Curtis Sittenfeld, who wrote about learning to live with a child’s allergies in The New York Times, we came “to know certain products so well that when they get a new ingredient, it’s like a friend getting a haircut.” Continue reading

How my food-allergy community “flips the clinic”

May 10-16, 2015, is Food Allergy Awareness Week.

I am grateful to the women (and a few men) who help me care for my son with food allergies. I’ve never met most of them in person, but they are there for me, 24×7, answering questions and sharing resources. Continue reading

The Teal Pumpkin Project

I live (mostly) by Michael Pollan’s advice to “eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” But Halloween is an exception. We live in a Sesame Street-like townhouse neighborhood in Washington, DC, so my kids can easily hit 100 houses while trick-or-treating. The candy haul is epic.

My food-allergic son has always been great about sorting out the candy he can’t eat, but the night can still be stressful, knowing that peanut butter and almond confections are in his bag.

Teal Pumpkin ProjectSo we, along with many other food-allergy families, embraced a new idea this year: the Teal Pumpkin Project. Started by a food-allergy mom in Tennessee, the idea is that you paint a pumpkin teal (the theme color of FARE, the largest U.S. food-allergy advocacy group) and place it on your porch to let people know that non-food treats are offered at your house. Continue reading

20 minutes

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 11-17. I decided to honor it by writing my first public post about being a food-allergy mom. Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, aka @SeattleMamaDoc, is generously hosting it on her blog, where I hope it will reach many, many people.

I’d love to hear what you think — about being a parent, living with food allergies, handling a challenging health situation, whatever this inspires. Please join me in the comments here or on the SeattleMamaDoc blog. Continue reading

YouTube = Health Education Channel

Two videos recently impressed me with their use of illustration and narration to educate an audience about health.

First, the most recent video by Mike Evans, MD, who curates My Favourite Medicine:

Second, one by the 6-year-old son of Joyce Lee, MD, MPH:

Joyce wrote a thoughtful post about why she helped her son create the video: Online Peer to Peer Education or shall we call it Peer to Teacher Education?

These two videos happen to be hosted on YouTube, but of course other channels and sites are viable alternatives. What interests me is how approachable and informative they are, regardless of the production value.