Sunday, August 15, 2010

Columnist Changes Tune

Pick an adage, "open mouth, insert foot", "eat crow", "change in tune", "what goes around comes around", they all apply to columnist Joel Stein.  Back in January of 2009, he wrote an opinion article for the Los Angeles Times titled "Nut Allergies - A Yuppies Invention."   Here's his opening paragraph.."Some kids really do have food allergies.  But most just have bad reactions to their parents' mass hysteria.  Your kid doesn't have an allergy to nuts.  Your kid has a parent who needs to feel special."  Lovely, huh?  Glad I missed it.

Mr. Stein recently had a follow up article published just last week in Time titled "Aw, Nuts!" in which he describes the experience of having his 1 year old son eat some mixed nuts and then rushing him to the emergency room with symptoms of hives, swelling eyes and vomiting.  Yes, his son has a nut allergy.

There was a lot of backlash from the food allergy community to Mr. Stein's first article.  Having just read it this week, I can understand why.  I'm not going to go into a detailed review of his article, you can read it and see.  It's funny that the part that rubs me wrong references the same study that I did in a past post ( It was a study done in 2003 regarding allergy anxiety.  It showed that kids who were told they were allergic to peanuts had more anxiety and felt more physically restricted than if they had diabetes.  I referenced the study to indicate how hard it is to help children with life-threatening allergies to remain well-adjusted.  Mr. Stein used the study as a follow up to his comment, "Parents may think they are doing their kids a favor by testing them and being hyper-vigilant about monitoring what they eat, but it's not cool to freak kids out."

Cool or not, as parents, we are doing everything in our power to keep our children safe, and if that means that our kids need be taught to monitor everything they eat, then so be it.  Obviously, this statement came from a time when Mr. Stein didn't understand the reality of living with a life threatening allergy.

I wish the best for him and his son.  They've got a long journey ahead.  Having a severe food allergy is no walk in the park for either the person with the allergy or their family.  Having a food allergy and a dad that has nationally "opened mouth and inserted foot" is going to be quite the challenge.