1 In 25 people in this country have food allergies, not to mention, the epidemic this country is facing due to peanut allergies. Although, the latter has been in the headlines in the last couple of years there are others who face daily challenges because of allergies to other foods. May 10-16th is Food Allergy Awareness Week and we met a 5th grader who's food allergies make her skin crawl.
For 10 year old Maddie Hoffman, banging out her spelling homework before she even gets home is a piece of cake. Eating cake, however, presents a whole different challenge. Maddie is allergic to wheat, soy, milk and eggs. Wheat and eggs are the worse for her.
Maddie Hoffman says, "When I eat stuff like wheat I get really itchy and my eczema gets really bad."
Maddie's eczema is a direct result from her food allergies and you can see when she's been itching.
Maddie says, "Yeah, it's really hard not too. My mom says don't itch but I don't really listen.
Dr. R. Maclean Smith at the Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Sioux Falls says, "Usually choosing the wrong parents is the number one risk factor. It's typically hereditary and families that have allergic rhinitis will have a child who becomes allergic to food."
Dr. Smith says kids tend to outgrow food allergies to milk, eggs, wheat, and soy (the most common food allergies) by the time they are ready for school, but if they don't, he says the only real treatment is total avoidance of the trigger.
To make matters worse Maddie has asthma and the allergies, well, go beyond food.
Maddie's Mom Shauna Hoffman says, "She tested positive for every mold, every tree, every grass and dog is anaphylactic to her. We have two wonderful dogs who have to stay outside and Maddie knows she can't go around them."
Shauna and allergists will tell you there are a lot of shots you can get to treat the hay fever and spring allergies, but because of her eczema and extremely sensitive skin she can't get them.
Shauna says, "It's tough. You have to look at your life style and accommodate allergies on a daily basis and that's how you deal with it. And some days it's all about getting through that day.
For Maddie having a runny nose, watery eyes and itchy skin every day is a fact of life. What her mom wants you to know is how grateful she is for the team approach and support she gets at Explorer Elementary. Administrators, her teachers and the school nurse (Nurse Betty) know Maddie's triggers and avoid them. There's enough to worry about when you send your little ones out the door, anaphylactic seizure shouldn't be one of them.