Guest Blogger

Dina Clifford

Dina Clifford

Dina Clifford is the mother of two children with life-threatening peanut allergies. She has developed "Beyond A Peanut - Food Allergy Awareness Cards" which teach principles to provide a safe environment for children with food allergies. Specific examples teach children and those who are care for them that staying safe with a peanut or tree nut allergy goes beyond the nut product itself. The flashcards introduce cross-contamination, the importance of label reading and always carrying emergency medication. You can learn more about the cards at http://www.beyondapeanut.com/

Our Story

In March of 2004, our little Ryan "Ry-Guy" who was 14 months old at the time took a bite of a peanut butter sandwich. Four injections later, and hours of observation Ryan was going to be OK. What we learned is that Ryan had a biphasic anaphylactic reaction, and had a life-threatening peanut allergy.

Our lives would be different from that day on. Two large trash cans later our home was free of nuts. We threw away our waffle iron, wok, and anything else that might have been used with peanuts or nut oils.

Ryan’s doctor stressed that to ensure Ryan’s safety we would have to become his advocate. To educate myself I began to read everything that I could on the subject of peanut allergies. I learned that eliminating peanuts was not quite as easy as one might think. Peanuts could appear in a wide variety of products and places that would not be thought of as being unsafe for someone with a peanut allergy, for example enchilada sauces and chili.

The more I read the more I realized I would need to advocate for Ryan in more ways than I had imagined. I couldn’t expect someone who was not living with this allergy to read the educational materials, websites, and discussion boards that I had. I needed to find a quick and easy way to put all of this knowledge that I had gained into a “snap shot” to help people learn about cross-contamination, the importance of reading every label, and the use of epinephrine. Keeping a child with a peanut allergy safe goes far beyond the peanut itself, hence the name for the peanut allergy flashcards “Beyond A Peanut”.

Beyond A Peanut – Food Allergy Awareness Cards were created to help educate children, their families, friends, and other individuals who provide care for children with peanut allergies. Mind Flight LLC was created to provide products that empower children with food allergies and teach those who provide care for them the necessary safety principles.

About Ryan’s Sister

Ryan has an older sister Carlee. Carlee was 2 ½ years old when Ryan took a bite of peanut butter. Carlee had not been introduced to peanut products at the time of Ryan’s incident with peanut butter. Since that time she had been in a peanut free environment both at school and home. When Carlee turned 4 in September of 2005, we decided to have her tested. What was supposed to be a “peace of mind” test unfortunately came out different. Carlee’s blood work to peanuts was off the charts. Her doctor recommended that we take the same safety precautions, and would be as vigilant with Carlee, as we are with Ryan. I now had two children with this life-threatening food allergy; I knew that I had to do something to help educate those around them.

Website:

www.beyondapeanut.com/

Blog Posts by Dina Clifford

  • Great resources for safe eats

    Great resources for safe eats

    It has been five years since my son’s diagnosis of food allergies. During that time I have discovered a number of wonderful resources to make managing food allergies easier. Many of these products have been inspired by families like mine who developed something that worked for them and they wanted to share their product to […]

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  • The “silver lining” of food allergies…?

    The “silver lining” of food allergies…?

    The diagnosis of a food allergy can be life changing. Things that seemed simple like going out to eat, traveling or a play date with friends can feel overwhelming. As with most situations education is power, and in the case of food allergies education means safety.

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  • Tips to Plan a Safe Birthday Party When Inviting Children with Food Allergies

    Tips to Plan a Safe Birthday Party When Inviting Children with Food Allergies

    Worried about inviting a friend with food allergies to your child’s birthday party? Which foods are safe? Which are not? What if the child has a reaction? Food allergies are on the rise among children. This can present a challenge when planning your child’s birthday party.

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  • Desensitization therapy - a cure?

    Desensitization therapy – a cure?

    There has been a recent surge of articles and stories in the news on the possible “cure” for peanut allergies. I am pleased to see media coverage and stories on food allergies as it helps raise awareness. The announcements around the success of a desensitization trial are encouraging.

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  • Why Some Parents May Appear to be Over the Top

    Why some parents may appear to be “over the top”.

    I consider myself as a reasonable individual with realistic expectations from my family and others. Why then when I was asked to speak to incoming Kindergarten parents at my son’s school about the severity of his peanut allergy was I a mess?

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