Friday, September 18, 2009

Do I Have Extreme Precautions?

I am  the mother of a child with severe food allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, mustard and sesame. Unless you have a child with life-threatening food allergies, it is really hard to understand the fear that can develop trying to avoid anything that might contain these ingredients. 

My daughter, Carlese, who is now 8 years old was born with severe food allergies. 

Many people ask me how we found out about her allergies. I don't know if they are just being polite or do they really want to know. I guess most people want to know. But there are those skeptics who think that you are going overboard in the extreme caution of your child. 

Reading every ingredient and washing their hands and yours constantly before touching any foods they might eat, as well as having anyone who comes in contact with my child wash their hands. Yes, this could appear a bit extreme to some.

But, those people have never witnessed an anaphylactic episode. When you have seen your child react to an allergen with your own eyes it becomes very clear how serious food allergies are. When you witness swelling of the lips, or wheezing and gasping for air as their throat is closing you begin to understand what the term "life-threatening" really means. 

As a mother of a child with food allergies and asthma, I have stopped worrying about what other people think. The only thing that matters to me, is that I do everything I can do in my power to keep my child safe. Safe from any foods that may harm her.  At times that may mean offending some people. But I don't really care. My goal is not to be liked as much as it is to protect my daughter's life to the best of my ability.

Debra Denhart 


  1. Debra,
    I'm so glad to see you blogging about what you are passionate about. I'm sure you will minister to many a parent's heart that shares in your life story.
    Can one of your entries enlighten those of us who may not understand the severity? How do you find out your child has life-threatening allergies? What should those of us who may be unaware of a child's allergies do if we see him/her reacting?

  2. Dawn,
    Thank you so much for your comments.

    What happens in a child with food allergies, is the body reacts to that food like it is a foreign object and starts to treat it like it is. And the reaction is the throat can start to close and the entire immune system is affected.

    If you are not sure a child has food allergies. It is very important to have them see a specialist in order to get tested. They will do bloodwork and skin tests to determine if indeed they have allergies.

    Also, the reactions to allergies can vary. Some children just get hives, or have some gastrointenstinal problems that may occur. In severe food allergies their reaction is more anaphylactic.

    If you suspect an anaphylactic reaction you should give them an epi-pen if you have one and or call 911. Because by doing this, you may save their life!