I don't have personal experience with food allergies - the most I've been affected by the rising numbers of pediatric cases is that I've never been able to send my daughters peanut-butter sandwiches to school - but I was nonetheless moved by a MomsRising blog entry on the topic today. In it, a mom shares her anxiety about her young son, who has a life-threatening peanut allergy, starting elementary school. She writes:
I always remind myself (and others) to consider likelihood. What is the likelihood of [insert horrible, devastating thing here] actually happening? There is about a zero percent chance of my child being killed in a school shooting incident. I cannot possibly fathom the anguish that those Sandy Hook families experienced and I certainly don’t want to tempt fate, but I have a limited amount of energy for worry, so I choose not to expend it on the minuscule chance that my child will be shot at school.
What is MUCH more likely, though, and is as life-threatening as if someone pointed a gun at my child’s head, is the chance that my son will eat something with peanuts in it while he’s away from me at school. That’s the fear that keeps me up at night. That’s the stress that eats away at my nerves and at the lining of my stomach.
My son is still eighteen months away from starting school. For now, all I can do is read. And worry. And read. And worry. I’m a do-er. I’m black and white. I want to take action. Fix it. Call the school. Ask questions. Demand answers. But we’re still eighteen months away. So I read.
Previously: Ask Stanford Med: Pediatric immunologist answers your questions about food allergy research, A mom’s perspective on a food allergy trial, Searching for a cure for pediatric food allergies, Helping kids cope with allergies, Peanut bans: An overreaction to food allergies? and What’s causing all those food allergies?