One of my dearest friend in the playcentre today was so upset. The reason? Well, it was nobody's intention but it happened due to our ignorant and there's no specific policy regarding food allergies. There were twins who turned 2 today and they celebrated their birthdays during the session. The twins mommy didn't actually realized what really happened as most of us normally brought a cake from home that contains some allergen substances. And one of dearest friend's daughters suffers from a severe allergy to eggs and nuts. Some of us had to helped to calm her down. There was no obvious commotion but it really brought up the serious issue that we tend to forgot.
I have to admit that I myself am a bit ignorant too! Before this, I thought that food allergy and food intolerance was the same thing! However when I got home, I searched for more information from Google and I found out that they are some differences between the two!
Now, let's us see what I've found out from one of the sources:
A food allergy involves a reaction of your immune system, whereas a food intolerance does not. If you have a food allergy your immune system makes antibodies against a particular (essentially harmless) food. It's as if your immune system mistakes that type of food for a harmful foreign invader.
This means that when you eat the particular food again, the pre-formed antibodies swing into action and trigger a cascade of reactions in your tissues that result in some or all of the typical symptoms of food allergy:
- mouth itching and swelling
- runny nose
- abdominal pain
- swelling of the throat and tongue
- sometimes difficulty breathing.
What is food intolerance?Food intolerance is an abnormal response to a food (often to a 'food chemical' or additive), resulting in symptoms of illness. It is not an immune system reaction. The suspect food chemical may be naturally occurring in the food or it may be added to foods to enhance the flavour or preserve the food.
A food intolerance can mean you have symptoms to a range of foods because the suspect chemical may be present in many different foods. Compare this to a person with a food allergy, in which case they often only react to just one or two foods.
Food intolerance is a more common condition than food allergy and may cause diarrhoea, nausea, cramping or headache soon after eating the food, hours later, or even days after eating the food. The severity of symptoms can vary because the suspect food chemical can accumulate in the body, depending on how much of the suspect food (or foods that contain the suspect chemical) you have eaten. Eating a small amount of the suspect food may not cause symptoms, but eating a lot of it can.
Sometimes a food intolerance occurs when your body is not able to process a food component. A good example of this is lactose intolerance where the person lacks the enzyme necessary to break down the milk sugar (lactose) for proper digestion.
(these are just the excerpt from this website- http://everybody.co.nz. For more info. you can also check other reliable sources)
Fathini and Hafizah used to have the food allergies too when it comes to eggs. And Hafizah had the lactose intolerance when she was a baby. I didn't really mind with that because I fully breastfed her until she turned 26 months old. Both if them grew out of it when they turned 18 months or earlier. Their allergies were not too severe. Since we came here (to NZ) I read about this food allergy issue being addressed in magazines, newspapers and of course it's a serious issue at schools too. If my daughters had the severe food allergy, I would have act and feel the same way as those parents who have to deal with this every single day.
It was a heart breaking scene today to see when my good friend's daughter begged to try a piece a cake even though she knew that she couldn't eat it. That's why some of us tried our best to support my good friend by saying that we should brought this issues up again in our monthly meeting. And I'm going to bake an eggs-free cake for Fathini's last day at the playcentre this Wednesday.
What say you? Have you ever had to deal with this issue before? If so, I'm certainly happy to hear your own experiences regarding this.