At this year’s FARE National Food Allergy Conference, teens with food allergies participated in a 90 minute yoga workshop learning how to enhance their quality of life and experience the mind-body connection. The workshop was led by Kristen Kauke, a licensed clinical social worker and 200-hour registered yoga teacher who teaches yoga weekly. Kristen’s two sons have food allergies, and Kristen…
Teens with food allergies goof around with Adrian Peterson after their Q&A session at the FARE National Food Allergy Conference! Adrian addressed the group and talked to teens about how he manages his food allergies on and off the field.
In the off-season and between games, pro football running back and 2012 MVP Adrian Peterson spends time training so he is at his best when his performance matters most. For this record-setting player, preparation is key—all day. Adrian takes that same approach through the management of his life-threatening (severe) allergies.
Adrian knows first-hand that severe food allergies can affect anyone at any time. During training camp in 2012, at age 27, Adrian was rushed to the hospital after eating a few bowls of seafood gumbo,
one of his favorite meals. Despite having eaten this meal numerous times before with no issue, his body reacted differently, and Adrian quickly began experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis. His trainer recognized the symptoms and gave Adrian an EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injector to administer in
his thigh. In the meantime, the trainer called 911 so that Adrian could get to the hospital to receive emergency medical care. Following the incident, Adrian visited an allergist who confirmed that he had developed a severe allergy to shrimp, scallops and lobster.
From that day on, being prepared wasn’t just about training for football. Now Adrian is equipped with an anaphylaxis action plan and works to avoid his allergens. As part of that plan, he watches for the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, always has immediate access to two EpiPen Auto-Injectors, and knows to seek immediate emergency medical care in case anaphylaxis occurs. Like in football, Adrian’s hard work has paid off—he has not experienced an allergic reaction since the initial incident.
By Kelley and Orion Lindberg
Forty-one ninth graders. Twelve days. Five Spanish cities. And my son, with his allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, and lupin flour.
Were we courting disaster?
My son, Orion, couldn’t wait to join his classmates on this school trip to Spain, and he’d participated in the fundraisers to earn his way. But I was nervous. Nervous about setting my teenager loose in a foreign country. Nervous about pickpockets and lost luggage. But mostly nervous about his food allergies.
After years of living with my son’s allergies, I’ve learned the best way to minimize risk is to be prepared. So I did everything I could to prepare my son and his chaperones. And a funny thing happened…the better prepped we were, the more confident we became.
This is how we prepared:
Finally, departure day arrived, and as I kissed him goodbye at the airport, I knew that my son and his chaperones were as prepared as I could wish. Now it was all up to them.
I felt very prepared going into this trip. I knew how to react should a problem arise. I knew my friends and chaperones knew how to react, too. I programmed the Spanish emergency number (112) into my phone, and I felt very confident in both my abilities and the abilities of my friends around me.
Communicating with waiters to ensure whatever I was being served was safe for me to eat was made easier with the wallet-sized cards containing the words and phrases I needed, which I memorized on the plane ride over. Waiters and cooks were more than willing to help if I talked to them in Spanish. Anything I needed they’d get me, and if there was anything I couldn’t eat, they’d bring me a replacement. I tried lots of Spanish food like paella (a rice dish), bocadillos (sandwiches), calamari, and chocolate con churros. The only things I couldn’t eat were a couple of desserts: an ice cream here, some pastry there. I didn’t care much about that, and they brought me fresh fruit instead.
One evening, we took a cooking class from a local chef school. We learned how to make paella and los tortillas Españoles (Spanish tortillas), which are essentially omelets filled with potatoes and onions. Both were safe for me without any alterations to the recipe we were using. I volunteered to slice onions and peppers for both dishes—who wouldn’t when you get to wield a knife the size of your forearm over a flaming stove?
The only close call I had was on the plane ride home. The attendants had passed out peanuts and pretzels 30 minutes earlier, and suddenly my mouth and cheeks began to tingle—almost twitching. I thought it might have been the beginning of a reaction, and I grabbed my EpiPens and popped my recommended dosage of antihistamines. I asked a friend to talk with me for a few minutes and tell me if he noticed me swelling up or developing hives on my face or neck, and also to be on alert if I worsened and needed medical assistance.
After about five minutes the tingling faded and my friend saw no changes, so we both went back to what we were doing (though he looked back to check on me every two minutes). That was the only thing that may have resembled a reaction that I experienced the entire trip. All in all, my trip to Spain was a brilliant experience, and I’d go again tomorrow.
Kelley Lindberg is a member of the Utah Food Allergy Network. She blogs at www.FoodAllergyFeast.com.
Food allergy is a serious medical condition—but the ways in which we raise awareness can have a lighter approach! This year, FARE is starting its first #TealTakeover—a coordinated campaign that encourages individuals, organizations, schools, and businesses to paint their community teal, the official food allergy awareness color.
There are lots of ways for you to get involved, including making…
In this weekend’s special food allergy episode of the CBS morning show, “Recipe Rehab,” Chef Vikki Krinsky will attempt to make the Savant family’s carrot cake recipe healthier and safe for two children who have multiple food allergies. She’ll go head-to-head with another chef to see which made-over recipe is the family’s favorite. Check local listingsto see when the program is airing in your…
Food Allergies in the U.S. - share our infographic to help people understand the broad impact of food allergies in our country and why we need a cure! http://www.foodallergy.org/infographic