Anaphylaxis Canada Launches Exciting New Program For Teens: The Allergy Awareness Challenge

Today, August 28, 2013, Anaphylaxis Canada is launching an exciting new program for teens…The Allergy Awareness Challenge.

Check it out…click here for a link.

The Allergy Awareness Challenge was designed by teens for teens…Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel...helped to design all the games and materials.

The Allergy Awareness Challenge is an educational tool for teens which specifically focuses on spreading the word about anaphylaxis through three fun days of interactive challenges:

1)  Adopt An Allergy
2)  Food Allergy Jeopardy
3)  Food Allergy Spelling Bee

The Allergy Awareness Challenge is student run with all the materials provided by Anaphylaxis Canada…free!

I would really love your feedback on Anaphylaxis Canada’s Allergy Awareness Challenge.

Parents, caregivers, students…is it something you would consider proposing to your school?

I know I will definitely be informing my boys high school about this unique opportunity.

As Parents With Allergic Youth…How Do We Relate To Life Experiences We Have Never Experienced?

Tip # 30’s Tips For Parents from Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel  at Why Risk It?
Click here for the entire list.

“Ideally we would love to learn more about food allergies by meeting/speaking with older kids with food allergies and not always from our parents.”

I totally agree!

No matter what age you are…nothing feels better than to hear from someone, in or around the same age, tell you something about their life experiences that makes you feel less alone.

In fact, it is one of the main reasons for which I started writing this blog…I wanted to reach out to parents with children living with food allergies because I was living that life…feeling very alone.

As my boys with food allergies move into their teens, the above statement from allergic youth made me stop and think…my life experiences do not involve food allergies or eczema, therefore, how, in my boys’ eyes, can I relate?

I thought back to a few instances where my husband’s friends have discussed their life experiences with eczema and food allergies to my boys…

Growing up…a couple of my husband’s friends experienced severe eczema on parts of their bodies.  Michael had always looked up to them, however, after hearing them discuss their eczema related stories…they achieved a ‘pedestal status’.

I am forever grateful to them for sharing their life experiences with eczema from that time in their lives…it gave hope to Michael that he would someday ‘outgrow’ his eczema like them.

As Michael entered his early teens…that is just what happened.

When Michael was young, another one of my husband’s friends alerted me to his eczema-like reaction when he ate McIntosh apples…I put two and two together and realized that the same thing might be happening to Michael.

After explaining this friend’s experience with Michael, he switched to picking apples with gloves on. Over the years, he has also learned to limit his intake of apples…he, himself, has discovered a link between eating too many apples, oranges and cantelope…his skin becomes inflamed.

This same friend has a fish allergy…yet he loves to fish. In fact, my husband and he just came back from a 4 day fishing trip this past weekend. The fishing was phenomenal! His friend just makes sure he brings his own food to eat and is careful about handling the fish when he has reeled one in.

Learning from the life experiences of my husband’s friends with eczema and food allergies gave my boys role models…best of all, they gave them hope.

I like to think that working towards controlling my asthma through running, continues to encourage the boys to stay active in their lives. Both boys play hockey in the winter, Michael has just joined a gym and Matthew will be joining a swim team for the summer.

Asthma need not be an excuse for an inactive life.

Do your children with food allergies/eczema/asthma have role models to learn from their life experiences?

Are you a role model yourself?

P.S.  Chelsea Vineyard won Miss Teen Ottawa Worldshe is allergic to peanuts. She has chosen anaphylaxis as her platform in the hopes to raise allergy awareness.

“I also want to be a role model for children and show them that they can follow their dreams no matter no matter what life challenge they have.”

Chelsea was interviewed by Why Risk It? Click here for the full interview.

How Do You Control Your Allergy Related Anxiety?

Tip # 7 from Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel. Click here for the entire list.

“Be careful showing allergy related anxiety around us. We pick up on it and may start to become anxious ourselves”

This one really got me to thinking…

How do we balance our own fears of our children’s food allergies…while at the same time, educating those around our children about the seriousness nature of anaphylaxis without being an alarmist?

When I think back to when my boys were younger and very impressionable…I tried to deliver their medical history in a ‘matter-of-fact’ manner. I discovered this to be the most effective way, due to the fact, that as soon as I would mention Michael’s long list of food allergens (dairy, egg, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, mustard and raspberries), along with his eczema and asthma issues…the reaction on the face of the person receiving the information would be one of complete shock…they would seem completely overwhelmed.

My calm delivery was to meant to offset the reaction so my boys did not feel they were being left in the hands of someone who seemed ‘anxious themselves’.

I often found myself reassuring the recipient of the information that with a few simple measures set in place (no sharing of food, my boys were only to eat food from home, washing hands before eating, and at school, my boys kept the same desk all year which the custodian cleaned daily)…the chance of an anaphylactic reaction could be minimized.

Reviewing the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and the administration of an auto-injector and having my boys carry an auto-injector, as well as, having one in the classroom and in the office…relieved some of the anxiety.

Maintaining a sense of calm, assurance and control is not always easy…how do you control your allergy related anxiety around your children with food allergies?