Monday, February 13, 2012

A Close Call With Food Allergies

Cooper has grown up with Name Bubbles Allergy Alert Labels.
His medical information stays with him, from his cubby at daycare
to his backpack and ski gear, keeping caregivers informed.
In the winter of 2008, my husband and I began to understand the extent of our son’s (Cooper) food allergies. We had seen several indicators that he might be allergic to peanuts, but the symptoms were somewhat mild so we decided to keep him away from peanuts and tree nuts as a precaution.  I look back and cringe at how naive we were. 

The severity of his food allergy became crystal clear during a weekend morning play date at a friend’s house. Cooper had found a Reese’s Pieces on the floor and, thinking it was an M & M, he popped it in his mouth. Several of the moms were talking and sipping coffee when he came over to me holding his tongue, scratching it. It all happened so fast, he was gagging and tears were running down his cheeks. I couldn’t quite figure out what he was trying to scrape off his tongue until the hostess said he must have discovered a piece of candy her kids had been eating earlier that day. I had never seen him have an acute reaction like this before, and I didn’t have any medication with me. As I share this, I realize how incredibly lucky we were that day. My mom friend had Benadryl handy and we were able to stop the reaction.  With the incident fresh on my mind and heavy on my heart, I made an appointment with an Allergy Specialist as soon their office opened that following Monday. Life for the Brandriss Family would never be the same again.
The doctor made it painfully clear how lucky we are to have our son alive today. She didn’t pull any punches and the more I learn about allergies, the more I appreciate why she was so tough on us. After the first reaction, we should have immediately had him tested with an allergist. Cooper’s allergies now have the potential to send him into anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, the primary treatment being an injection of epinephrine or the Epi-Pen Jr.
My husband and I do our best to teach our son to be independent, outgoing and try new things. Because we’re unable to have a watchful eye over him at all times, we use the Allergy Alert Labels for his school backpack, weekend ski gear, and Epi-Pen; which is with him at all times. Having his medical information front-and-center reminds his teachers, caregivers, and fellow parents that my little guy might need their help in an emergency. It puts me at ease to know Cooper has a constant reminder not only letting others know of his allergies, but reminding him to always ask an adult to read the ingredient label if he is going to have a snack that was not packed by Mom or Dad.
As the CEO and Founder of Name Bubbles, I hear from moms all over the world who order NameBubbles Allergy Labels, and know that so many families are coping with food allergies; many with multiple allergies and reaction variables beyond what our family has to deal with. Some kids can’t come into contact with their allergens; while our son can be in the same room with his and will only have a reaction if he ingests them.
To our allergy families: we would love to hear any ideas that you might have in modifying our Allergy Alert Bubbles to better suite your needs. We understand how important it is to inform our children, their friends, and caregivers. If you feel there are changes or improvements that could be made, we encourage you to send an e-mail to or call 866-797-Name (6263).

Michelle Brandriss

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