Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Allergies and swimming. Doctor recommended.

I have asked my girlfriend Sharon to write this months blog post.  Her son is highly allergic to nuts.
I used to have a bad attitude about people with allergies and thought, "tough luck for them!"  However, as I became educated about the risks these people live with every day, not by choice, my perspective and understanding changed.  Simply being in a room with a bowl full of almonds would require Sharon to go home
and shower before picking her son up from school.  I was shocked but it also opened my eyes to the trouble and pain you have to go through to keep your kids safe.

Recently a 13 year old girl died in Sacramento after accidentally biting into a rice crispy treat made with nuts.  Her father, a physician, gave her benadryl and 3 epipen injections to no avail.

I for one want to learn more about how we can keep all children safe.  And if that means being careful in our home and at the grocery store, considering what little johnny needs to be safe, then I will show my children how to think of others when choosing food.  I thank the parents of these children who tirelessly educate the public, friends and schools.

Luckily, swimming is a very safe place for these kids and we embrace them:)

Hi Whale Wisdom readers!

I’m so glad that Liesl invited me to write a guest blog post for Whale Wisdom readers. I have known Liesl for years and know that she’s passionate about swimming and teaching. Liesl knows that I’m passionate about food allergies because both of my sons have food allergies. One time, as we were chatting, we realized that our passions overlap!

Food allergies affect 1 in 13 children, nearly 6 million in the United States. It is an epidemic with no known cause and no known cure. For some people, a single bite of a food allergen, or even an insect sting, can cause anaphylaxis, a severe life-threatening type of allergic reaction that requires the use of an epinephrine auto-injector. People with food allergies often have asthma and eczema as well.

So how do swimming and food allergies overlap, you might ask? Well, very simply, swimming pools are usually a safe and clean allergen free area for people with food allergies. Swimming is a great form of exercise that improves one’s asthma health. The water adds moisture to dry skin and the chlorine also helps to control skin infections that can be caused by excessive scratching due to eczema. Swimming is great for my boys but always consult with your family’s doctor for specific advice about your loved ones’ medical concerns.

You can help those living with food allergies have a safe swimming experience by keeping food and drinks away from the pool area and by always washing hands after eating or snacking to prevent cross-contact. If you know someone with food allergies, ask them what you can do to keep them safe and what are their food allergies. You can learn when and how to use an epinephrine auto-injector, such as an Epi-pen. They will appreciate your kind concern.

I would like to invite everyone to Food Allergy Research Education (FARE) 5K Walk/Run for Food Allergies in Memory of BJ Hom on October 12, 2013, from 9 am to 1 pm, at Lake Cunningham Park in San Jose. The 5K walk/run is a family friendly event with live entertainment and activities for the entire family. BJ Hom tragically died as a result of his food allergy to peanuts shortly after his high school graduation during a family vacation to Mexico to celebrate his 18th birthday.

Thank you for reading and many thanks to LPB for their support of food allergies! Happy swimming!

For more information:


Sharon is a Bay Area native and worked as an elementary school teacher for many years until she and her husband started a family and have two sons. In addition to being a stay at home mom, Sharon does volunteer work for her children's schools as well as for FARE and other organizations.

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