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Living With Life Threatening Allergies - Please DON'T Offer Children Sweets and Food

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My baby grandson is highly allergic to mustard, lupin, lentils, cashew nuts and a whole host of other deadly foods. When I say highly allergic, I mean life-threatening.

I've already witnessed an episode during a family holiday in Portugal last summer; one minute we are sitting at a beach cafe enjoying an early afternoon aperitif and the next we are waiting for the ambulance to arrive while he fights for his next breath. The allergic reaction was the result of a previously undetected allergen - mustard seeds. I think this is what scares me the most the medical professionals just don't know what will be next and when it will manifest itself.

So to the purpose of this post and the warning I offer. Please don't give children food/drinks or sweets without checking with the parents/guardians first.

Yesterday, I took the grandchildren to the lake. We packed fruit and water for refreshments and I thought we were all set. Oh, did I mention that my granddaughter is gluten and dairy intolerant? This has been diagnosed in the last couple of months.

Anyways, to cut to the chase, when we arrived at the playground area I was horrified to see children wandering around eating. Sandwich, crisps, cakes or whatever in one hand and bucket and spade in the other. My grandson is three. He doesn't understand not to accept food from other children. I'd never even considered this deadly level of unsupervised contact with food. Think - loaded gun!

I watched him like a hawk ready to swoop.

Then my granddaughter starts whining. A little girl offered her some chocolate cake and because I said no, I was the meanest grandma ever. The little girl did not speak English nor i French, so i could not even offer and explanation.

While this drama was unfolding some kindly mothers decided to offer my grandson some sweets and biscuits. He was just about to put a biscuit in his mouth when I made a world class rugby tackle to grab it. Said mothers looked at me in horror as I tried to explain, using charades and my best pigeon French, he was allergic as in: morte allergeeeec!

Needless to say I was a nervous wreck and the gran kids were angry and sulky by the time we left the lake.

Today we stayed at home and baked some gluten and dairy-free cakes.

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Updated March 1st, 2017 at 10:54 PM by PiP



  1. Ariel's Avatar
    Deathly allergies are terrible to handle in small children. That sounds terrifying. I'm glad everyone came out intact.
  2. PiP's Avatar
    We still have another 5 days to go and my stress-levels are off the scale. the problem is magnified when you don't speak the language...
  3. Ariel's Avatar
    I understand. Add in fundamentally different cultures and things can get bad. My kiddo doesn't have food allergies (that have been diagnosed) but she has skin allergies that we've figured out.
  4. bobo's Avatar
    Sorry to hear that.
    "Allergy" is a pretty international word - it should be enough to say that.

    In French it's "allergique" - just lay the emphasis on the last syllable
    Many English and French substantives are alike, with the emphasis on the last syllable in French as the biggest difference.
    Not necessary with many words, just one: "allergique" !!
  5. Smith's Avatar
    I admire the fact that you make no attempt to bubble them, and still allow them to socialize as best as you can. Keep up the good work, I'm sure it's tough!

    It won't be long until they're old enough to understand how to protect themselves from their allergies. I myself am deathly allergic to tree nuts. But not peanuts, thankfully.

    I don't know about other countries, but I live in the US, and you can see allergist specialists that can test you for all sorts of different allergies, and devise a serum to treat it. Doesn't cure you of your allergies, but the injections really help reduce their severity. You have to get the injections quite often at the start, but after a couple years I was down to once a month visits, and have been going ever since.

    Hopefully your grandchildren are lucky enough to grow out of at least some of their allergies, or build a higher tolerance to them.
  6. sas's Avatar
    I truly empathize, and always ask parent before giving child anything. I stopped giving backyard squirrels peanuts when heard new neighbor child was allergic.

    I am very asthmatic around dogs. Now, it seems, everyone has psychiatric problems in The States, and need their emotional support animals sitting by them on planes and restaurants. For about $50 anyone can get a prescription on-line that they must have this animal. Last year a woman put her dog in the food basket at market. I'm not appreciative of an e-coli butt where I put my food, or emotional "pretenders".
  7. H.Brown's Avatar
    I work in a Childs play area and come across this problem a lot so when I give out sweets for helping pick up the balls and put them away, I always give the sweets the parents not the children. However it must be terrifying for a parent in such situations where children can give each other food, I feel for you Pip and I am sure that I'm time once said grandkids are old enough to understand it will get easier but I bet baking with grandma was fun for them. Hope it gets a little easier.
  8. escorial's Avatar
    the days have long gone since I would do stuff like that....sad times...
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