Allergy-Proofing Your HomePosted: July 30, 2010
If your entire family does not avoid allergenic foods, it’s important to keep the un-safe foods away from the one who is allergic. This is especially important if the allergic person in question is a toddler or small child that has not yet learned the difference between safe and un-safe foods, nor the consequences of indulging in the un-safe food. If the allergic person can experience a reaction even from airborne particles of the food in question, then it’s best, of course, to eliminate the food from the house entirely. Most families, however, can afford to allow at least some of the allergens into the house, if nothing else on occasion, as long as precautions are taken to keep them away from the allergic child or children.
In our case, we have a curious little toddler who is allergic to multiple things: beef, sesame, peanut, wheat, dairy, eggs and soy. We only eat beef occasionally and take great precautions to avoid cross-contamination or contact when we do. We avoid sesame completely, and I am really the only one in the house who will occasionally enjoy a peanut butter sandwich of some kind. Otherwise, we don’t have peanut products around. Soy is not one of his more severe allergies, so we don’t worry about things like soy lecithin or soybean oil in packaged goods, but we do pretty much avoid soy sauce or any other straight soy product. We do, however, consume wheat, dairy and eggs on a daily basis and those are the 3 things we have to work the hardest to keep away from our Certain Little Someone.
To be honest, we haven’t been able to 100% keep him from those allergens, despite our best efforts. For the most part, he manages to go throughout the day without either touching or ingesting any un-safe foods, but there are days when accidents happen. Lately, it seems like they’ve been a lot more often than they should be, so we’ve stepped up our efforts. As he grows in stature and mobility, we have to grow in our awareness and watchfulness!
Naturally, our end goal is to teach him to keep himself safe from his allergens, but until he understands, it’s our job to protect him. We do many things, most of them very basic common-sense sort of things, to protect him from the allergens, but one thing that stumps us is the trash. Being a curious little toddler, he’s very intrigued by the whole concept of the trash can. Unfortunately, at the moment, our kitchen trash can has a lid that pops up quite easily and he’s now at the perfect height to get at what is inside it. We are teaching him only to throw things in the trash, and not to take things out, but it’s a slow process.
In the meantime, while he’s learning that very important life lesson, we have started making the trash safer just in case. I have started to save all the newspaper and produce bags that come into the house, and whenever we throw away allergenic foods or containers (yogurt cups, beef trays, cheese wrappers, etc.), we first put them into one of those small bags, tie a knot in it, and then throw it in the trash. Even if he picks up the bag, he won’t be exposed to the allergens, and hopefully, he will learn to keep his hands out of the trash by the time he is old enough to untie the knot!
This is a simple and inexpensive solution while we are teaching him about the dangers of his allergies. We would love to buy one of those stainless steel trash cans with the pop-up lids like doctors have, because he’s probably not strong enough to get them open, but this is a cheaper solution until we are able to do that.
What do you do to keep your house allergy-proof? I would love to hear any and all tips you might have!