walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

schools and anaphylaxis


This is great stuff.

Of course, back in the day, they didn't diagnose asthma as aggressively as they do now. Since no one had heard me wheeze (and I didn't know wheezing was a range, and only knew about the worst of it which had never happened to me), I wasn't diagnosed with asthma. Nor, for that matter, were either of my parents, who both got adult diagnoses and everyone agrees that R., T. and I all have exercise and cold induced asthma. Similarly, back in the day, instead of eliminating allergy triggers, the idea was to find a survivable threshhold and then push on it, in hopes the kid would "outgrow" it. It wasn't until I was a teenager and got sick of being sick (har de har har) that I completely eliminated dairy from my diet. At that point, I actually started getting healthy and, bonus, my asthma got better. As more years have passed, I've gotten steadily better and more able to tolerate occasional inadvertent exposure.

While I would never, ever, ever advocate what my parents and pediatrician did to me, I also think we've swung the pendulum a little too far the other way. It makes sense to me that it is the combination of severe allergy and asthma which causes death. It _really_ makes sense to me that a teenager who'd had a single episode at 3 and no later exposure to peanuts would not really believe that it was as bad a problem as their parents thought it was. After all, parents aren't regarded by teenagers as trustworthy on things like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, God, drugs, alcohol or driving over the speed limit, either.

The combination of avoid exposure, but don't create a bubble, sounds ideal to me. I got so used to being sick that I really pushed it when I ran into Steve's Ice Cream in Boston in the mid 1980s. Also, real fudge. I would never do now what I did then, because I have baseline expectation of feeling pretty good, which is very different from feeling kind of awful and then feeling a lot worse.

I know this is a hot topic, and I don't entirely buy the risk calculations in the article, but I think it provides an interesting perspective.
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