Monday, February 20, 2012

Why we should read every label every time.

I am one of those Allergy moms that will read a label at least 4 times before feeding it to my child. I know I am not the only one and that I am most certainly not the worst. I spoke with a woman that would read it about 15 times before-during and AFTER eating it. But, when someones life depends on it, you can't help but to be absolutely sure.

When purchasing an item that the allergic person will be eating you must ALWAYS read the ingredients. Some people will consider that they have bought it 10 times already and read it every time when deciding not to read it. That is a dangerous move. Companies are constantly growing and changing. They always want the best products and more consumers. Because of that, they are changing the ingredients in the food the make. It can be the smallest change, one small ingredient but that is going to change whether someone allergic to that ingredient can eat it. Other companies, especially around the holidays, will manufacture quite a few different products in the same building and even shared equipment. The possibility of cross contamination is far too high at that point to take the risk. We have come across many candies and foods that my son used to eat as a safe food but no longer can eat them due to the change in manufacturing. It is always a sad thing to see that he has lost yet another safe food but we do what we have to do.

An example of a time when we fed him a "safe food" without reading the ingredients:

On new years eve 2010 we had gone to a family members house to have dinner and games. They had bought my son's favorite food at the time, little smokies. Normally they buy them at costco and my son had eaten them in the past. So, when we arrived, the smokies were already heated and ready for him to eat. Normally, I would double check them as I do myself every time as well. It is also easier for other people to miss specific ingredients especially if they are unaware of the so called code words for certain allergens. But, I did not read them because the wrapper had already been thrown away and I didn't want to hurt feelings by asking to double check. (Never be afraid to hurt feelings. It is much better to be safe than sorry.) My son sat down with his favorite meal cooked in front of him. After eating half of a little smokie he screams. We are all a little stunned not sure why he is doing that until i realize that he is rubbing his lips on the table and fussing. When we can finally get him to stop rubbing his lips we notice that they are bubbled up to double the size of normal. So, we give him benedryl because sometimes we can stop it with benedryl and not need to use the epipen. I have been advised that in a case such as this we can give him a specific amount more than normal to help get rid of it quicker. We ended up in the ER that night anyway although they couldn't do much for him but tell us we did the right thing and to continue with the benedryl for 24 hours. When someone ingests something they are allergic to they will continue to show symptoms the entire time that the allergen is in their system. This can be 24-48 hours. It had turned out that there was dehydrated milk powder in the little smokies and after 1 bite he had reacted.

So, my point is to ALWAYS read the label before it enters your mouth or your allergic child's mouth.

I check when I am in the store, before putting it in the cart. I check before I cook the item. I check before he eats the item and a lot of the time I recheck after his first bite. That may seem like a lot but you can miss things and you need to check and recheck. The lady I told you about in the beginning would check before she put it in her cart, while standing in line to pay, before putting into her cupboard, before cooking, during cooking, before eating and while she was eating she would keep it next to her to read. She would even keep it out for a couple hours so she could recheck if she had doubts. She stated that she would check multiple times while cooking and eating until it equaled about 15 times.

1 comment:

  1. Although I have seen the benefits of checking and re-checking (especially when you are in a busy grocery store with two children and are heavily distracted), I do think it borders on obsessiveness for this lady who checks and rechecks and then reads while she is eating. Poor thing has probably had so many adverse reactions, she needs to be soothed while she eats. I think that is an extreme you don't want to end up teaching to your child.

    I'm glad you check and re-check and are so conscientious about it.