Are you familiar with the Rainbow Loom? It is very popular with the grade school kids where we live. I even overheard the school front office staff plotting to outlaw the loom and its rubber bands earlier today (some kid was trying to sell them at school), so you know it’s big. I think it will have more staying power than that last craze of Silly Bandz because you can use it to create useful things. I used the rubber bands to make a new Medic-Alert bracelet for Samantha (she made the others in the photo), and I didn’t even need the loom to do it. You can fold the bands in half and link them together with your hands for the simplest kind of design. You will also need a “c-clip” (sold with the bands) to join your bands together at the mid-point of the bracelet. It’s funny, but shown with the Medic-Alert bracelet, the rubber band loom actually looks like some kind of medical device.
This material and construction works well for a medical alert type of bracelet for a kid. You can slip it on and off and there’s not much that can break. Samantha’s had a number of bracelets that did break and unfortunately, I let her get out of the habit of wearing one. She’s not wild about wearing this one, but I thought the fact that it was a Rainbow Loom bracelet would make it at least sort of cool?
It’s so important for people with food, insect sting, medication and latex allergies to stack the odds in their favor in any way they can. These are the kinds of allergies that can result in the most severe reactions (anaphylaxis). The thing is, you cannot predict the severity of an allergic reaction. Many people know they have allergies (or that their children do), but previous reactions may have been mild and they are not prepared with the proper medication to handle a more serious reaction.
We heard from two such families last Saturday at the Bay Area FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) Walk/Run in Lake Cunningham Park. BJ Hom was 18 years old when he died after eating peanut in his dessert during a vacation his family took to Mexico to celebrate his high school graduation. Matt Lee was 26 years old when he died after eating almond in a salad. Natalie Giorgi’s family also spoke at the event. Natalie died just last July at the age of 13 after eating peanut butter in a dessert. Her story is both tragic and particularly frightening because the reports indicate that she did receive the proper medication. You can’t hear these stories and not take food allergies seriously. That’s why these families bother to come to events like this and are willing to share their stories over and over again.
Do you know someone who should be carrying an epinephrine auto-injector? This is the medication those at risk of anaphylaxis should carry with them at all times. The Auvi-Q is a new product you could tell them about. My friend Janice (who also has a peanut allergic child) introduced me to this new auto-injector last summer. It’s really cool. It actually talks to you and guides you through the injection process. The size and shape is so unexpected, isn’t it? You can read about the two brothers who created it here. I’ve been telling lots of people at Samantha’s school about it. People who know they probably should be carrying epinephrine (those with bee sting allergies, fish allergies, etc.), but don’t. The company that makes the Auvi-Q is giving them away until the end of 2013. Epinephrine is expensive, so this is a huge plus. You’ll need a doctor’s prescription and the coupon that you can find here.
For more information about food allergy and epinephrine, visit the FARE website. You can also watch the recent Discovery Channel documentary, An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America, narrated by Steve Carell, on the channel’s website.