Back to school help

A couple weeks ago I made a post about FARE, the largest nonprofit organization for life threatening food allergies. I highly recommend that site, as it is helpful for people facing allergies and their families, as well as people who want to learn more about food allergies. Well, I was recently on the FARE website when I discovered this really helpful tool for people going back to school. It’s called FARE’s Back to School Headquarters. It has a bunch of resources for students, parents, and school faculty.


From awareness posters, to emergency care plans, this website has everything that anyone could need.

This is an example of the emergency care plan from the FARE website. Before we discovered this, my father would spend HOURS making one from scratch. It’s super convenient to have a resource like this.

In addition, they also have instructional materials for teachers who have students with allergies, anti allergy bullying materials, webinars and instructional videos, letters to send to school administrators, 504 plans, and more. It’s crazy how convenient it is to have so many things for back to school all in one place. I’ll post the link below.

That’s it for today’s post. I hope you find the website convenient, I sure did!

Until next time!


Needlessly complicated needles

Recently, I was talking about the rise in EpiPen prices, and the media’s response. In my blog post this past Friday, I mentioned Mylan’s patent on their auto injector. This means that no other medication can replicate EpiPen’s easy injection. Instead, one cheaper alternative would rely on syringes to inject the important medication. I mentioned that in a stressful situation, it would be very difficult to use a needle. However, I wasn’t fully aware of how difficult it was.

In this news video, Toni Street, a mother of a child with life threatening allergies who is familiar with the use of an EpiPen tries to inject an orange using the syringe alternative. It doesn’t go well. Looking at the difficulties she had administering it, I am glad I have an EpiPen. I really don’t feel the syringe and vial of Epinephrine is a viable option for someone in distress.  The link to the video is posted below.


It truly does seem like there is no current alternative to EpiPen, which is bad. The only thing that would really make Mylan lower its price for the EpPen would be legitimate competition, which may not be coming until the patent expires.  I have heard recently that Auvi-Q is making a comeback, I would love to see a competitive market with a few options to chose from.

Until next time!


Survey Results

Recently, I asked you, my readers to take a short survey for me, and the response was great! Thank you! I ended up getting one hundred and twenty five responses. To all of you who answered, thank you so much! It will really help me to have some good primary sources for my project.

As you might already know, I took two surveys. One from you my readers, and one from the students, teachers, and parents at my school. People who aren’t as exposed to the allergy situation as my readers probably are.

Without going into too much detail, I can definitely say that the difference in responses between the two surveys are enormous. Not only do the people from a school environment know less about food allergies, but a very large amount of them wouldn’t give up nuts to make a safer environment for a child with an allergy. My hypothesis going into this project was that knowledge of allergies directly corresponds to empathy, and that truly seems to be the case.

I would further describe the trends, but I feel the best way would be just to show you the results of both surveys.









The last question was a written response question, and since I can’t put all the responses here, I will provide a sample of three answers from each. Remember, the answers are completely anonymous. Even I don’t know who wrote them.

Question: If you were told to sacrifice eating anything with peanuts/treenuts in it in order to create a safer environment for a child with a nut allergy, would you? Please elaborate.

Here are five random responses from the general populous.

1. No. I really don’t care about their allergies and they should sit at their own table.

2. No, but I would make sure to clean up in order to not cause cross-contamination.

3. Yes I would in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the other person.

4. No, I wouldn’t because I believe that our society has handled the peanut allergy problem and that it doesn’t pose a big threat anymore. I believe it’s safe to consume peanut products around those with allergies as long as those allergies aren’t airborne. Those with allergies and their parents know to take precautions. I believe time would be better spent on other issues.

5. Depending on to what extent I would. But I wouldn’t if I was in a public place, mainly because at that point it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to make sure that the child isn’t touching everything.

Here are five random responses from my blog readers

1. I wouldn’t think twice about it. I would do it instantly.

2. Yes. Having a child with these food allergies, and knowing how serious it is, makes me willing to make such a sacrifice

3. Of course, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for hurting a child because of something that I ate

4. No I don’t think this is the right way to build a safe environment for a child. The child needs to be taught what he/she can and cannot eat. By taking nuts out of a situation entirely, I believe kids can become lazy by default and not be vigilant about their food intake. It gives a false sense of security that they can eat anything and it’ll be safe. That said, I think banning it in pre-schools is a good idea since kids are too young to make that choice. Beyond pre-school seems to be a great learning opportunity for the child and their parents.

5. Yes. I wouldn’t hesitate to help create a safer environment for someone with allergies … food or other types.


The difference between each group’s responses was quite drastic. This has really opened my eyes, and I hope it opens everyone else’s eyes as well. There is a deeply rooted correlation between education and empathy when it comes to food allergies, and these survey responses motivate me even more to spread knowledge about allergies to all who will listen. I hope you, my readers, do the same.

Until next time!



Unprecedented operation

I’ve always wanted to be a doctor so that I can help people. I’m not sure what specialty I want to go into yet, but I know that I want to be some kind of doctor. With that said, it’s things like this that give me goosebumps and make me want to study medicine even more.

According to CBS-8 in a recent report, a man named Conrad Soriano, 28, was a patient in Sharp Memorial Hospital for his allergic reaction to peanuts after eating at a restaurant. According to the doctors that operated on him, Dr. Shaw and Dr. Eads, his lungs were so inflamed that he could hardly breathe. They said he probably wouldn’t have made it another twenty minutes.

In a last ditch effort to save the man’s life, the doctors performed on operation in the emergency room that was typically done in operating rooms for cardiac surgery patients.

The doctors placed a large catheter in his neck, and then used an ECMO machine to filter the dying man’s blood and bypass it around his lungs, and it worked! It was such an unprecedented surgery, that someone actually recorded the whole thing on their iPhone


Now Conrad is up and running, and you would never even guess that he was so close to death only a week ago.Doctors at the hospital are going to teach doctors flying in from around the world their procedure in a month’s time.

If you want to read the article and watch the video yourself, here is the link.  Check it out.  It is seriously awesome.

It’s stuff like this that gives me amazing hope for the future, both as a person with life threatening allergies and as a future doctor that could someday make such a difference in someone’s life.  Goosebumps.

Until next time!


Pricey pens

EpiPens are literally my lifeline, as well as the lifeline of everyone else with an allergy. Without them, so many people would die from fatal allergic reactions. I revere my EpiPens with a great love. I don’t go anywhere without them. Bottom line is, EpiPens are really important.

EpiPen® (epinephrine injection) Auto-Injector not impacted by Auvi-Q® recall

They’re also really expensive!  Whenever my family buys a two pack of EpiPens from CVS, it costs about 600 dollars and since we need 3 packs it runs almost $1800. That’s a lot of money! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it. My mom says she shells out the money without question if it means keeping me safe. I wouldn’t even question it myself, if the epinephrine inside of them was a super expensive miracle liquid that Mylan spent a couple hundred dollars on for each EpiPen.

However, that just isn’t the case at all! According to Bloomberg, each EpiPen costs  about a dollar for Mylan to produce! Now that allergies are getting more and more common and EpiPens are getting more and more needed by the second, it seems like Mylan can charge whatever they want for their life saving medicine. EpiPens used to be sold for about 100 dollars when they were being made in 2007. The sheer increase in price is just jaw-dropping.

Its just hard, because a lot  of people don’t know what to do. When your back to school EpiPen script costs more than your parents’ mortgage payment, do you keep paying? My parents do.  They put money aside all summer knowing it was coming. Some people literally can’t though. They just don’t have the money to pay the ridiculous prices. Then they have to worry about their loved  ones dying of an anaphylactic reaction, and there is nothing they can do.

This issue has gotten a lot of response from the media, with a lot of important political figures chiming in with their opinions.


Hillary Clinton recently weighed in, according to the New York Post, saying that its “the latest example of a company taking advantage of its consumers.” I would have to agree. She went on to talk about how she doesn’t support the price hike and called for Mylan to lower the prices immediately.

Mylan responded, but not how some might have wanted. Instead of lowering the price, they made coupons. According to the Washington Post, the coupons, which provide about 300 dollars savings for a 600 dollar EpiPen two pack, are designed less to help existing customers and more to bring in new customers in the long run.

They also seem to be more of a Band-Aid solution to a problem that requires surgery. With the coupons expiring at the end of December, my guess is that Mylan is just doing this to avoid controversy during the presidential election season and reduce the risk of a legislated permanent price reduction, with discounts slowly reduced after the coupons expire in December.


Meanwhile, Heather Bresch, senator’s daughter and Mylan CEO, is living a pretty cushy life with her 19 million dollar salary made off of the hard earned savings of many struggling middle and lower class families.

I just don’t know what the solution is. On the one hand, Mylan has been charging millions of dollars for medicine that costs a dollar per injection. On the other hand, what other choice does everyone have? With a patent on their auto-injector design for years to come, an alternative to EpiPen would leave people having to inject themselves with a syringe, which is kind of hard to do when you’re having an anaphylactic reaction.

Before I close just to lighten the mood, I can’t resist adding a couple of the better political cartoons I found this week.





That’s it for today’s post. I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. My homework load has been a little heavy lately. But don’t worry, I am still very dedicated to this blog. Stay tuned for more posts in the very near future!

Until next time!


Baking happiness

First off, I’d like to apologize for not having updated my blog in a couple days. I have one word for that. Homework. Gosh, IB schools give so much homework.

I went on a little field trip today! My parents surprised me by taking me to a bakery! Now, if someone had told me that I was going to a bakery before today, I would have laughed and complimented them on their funny joke. Let’s face it, bakeries are usually not safe for people with food allergies. However, this was a special bakery! It was called the Bake Station Bakery, and it was entirely nut free! It was also dairy free.  If you happen to live in Michigan it is definitely worth the trip.

IMG_4803 FullSizeRender (003)

I was in absolute heaven! Rows upon rows of treats that I could eat! Mind blown! Of course I took lots of pictures! Here readers, gaze in wonder at the delicious treats of deliciousness that were all mine!  We took home three boxes full and so far my favorite is a layered chocolate ganache pastry.



It felt really weird to be in a bakery, and be able to eat everything! Weird but wonderful!

If you’re interested, feel free to go to their website

They have three locations.  We visited the Southfield store.

Until next time!



A love letter to Chipotle

Well, now that school is back in full swing again, the schedule is pretty hectic. It’s becoming hard to make homemade meals every night due to all the places we have to go, which means we are getting takeout more often. I’m pretty apathetic about whatever meal I get. I love food in general, so I eat everything (except nuts of course). However, there is one takeout restaurant that stands out. One that beats all the others. One both completely nut free while also being the most delicious place I have eaten at.

If you looked at the title and guessed that I’m talking about Chipotle, you would be right! (You would also be cheating.)

Gosh I love Chipotle. It’s absolutely amazing. It reminds me of Disney in how the food is completely delicious and completely safe. In fact, I’m getting Chipotle tonight, which is kind of what inspired me to write this in the first place.

The place is like an allergy kid’s dream. All fresh ingredients. No nuts anywhere. Very clean. Everything is made in house. And if that isn’t enough, you can see them make it right in front of you! On top of all that, I can’t even begin to describe how delicious it is.

Delicious. Just so delicious.

Well, that was my restaurant rant. I would love to hear yours! If you have a special restaurant that you love because it is delicious AND safe, feel free to share in a comment! I might even mention it in a later post.

(While I mentioned that Chipotle is safe, remember that nothing is ever certain for someone with an allergy. Feel free to investigate more and ask your allergist if you wish to try any new restaurant.)

Until next time!


Going the extra mile

Yesterday I was in the lunch room, hanging out with my friends, when something happened that absolutely made my day. My friend walked up to the table after buying lunch with a peanut butter sandwich. Having seen this many times, there is usually a routine I go with. I just told him to make sure he doesn’t touch me and it should be fine.  Then he smiled at me and said that it wasn’t peanut butter. He showed me the label of the wrapped sandwich and it said it was a Wowbutter sandwich!

WOWBUTTER - It's just like Peanut Butter, but BETTER!

I couldn’t believe it. My school had gone the extra mile to provide peanut butter alternatives, and my friend had gone the extra mile to get that instead of bringing a regular PB&J sandwich. My friend even told me that he seriously couldn’t even taste the difference between the Wowbutter and regular peanut butter.

That event literally made my day. I know it’s kind of strange, but whenever anyone goes out of their way to make a safer environment for me, it makes me really happy.

Speaking of which, he’s right, there isn’t even a noticeable difference between Wowbutter and real peanut butter. For those of you who have allergies or are related  to those who have allergies, Wowbutter is a great alternative to peanut butter. Here is the link to their website.

You can order free samples of Wowbutter via the website.

(I am not affiliated or sponsored by the Wowbutter corporation in any way. I just have a great respect for the product.)

Whenever you are willing to do the extra work to make life safer for someone with an allergy, it really makes their day. Trust me, I know firsthand.

Until next time!


School Surprises

Before I tell you about my first day back to school, I just wanted to thank all of you who responded and answered my survey. It may only take a couple minutes, but every entry means a lot to me. I will leave the survey open for a couple more days just in case you haven’t had a chance to respond and still want to.

Have you ever been super stressed about something?  So stressed that you worry about it for so long that it becomes a lot bigger deal than it actually is? It’s just a part of human nature I guess. However, that is exactly how I would describe my dread about going back to school today. As you may know, today was my first day of my sophomore year of high school. I had been bullied quite a bit last year and I was really worried about it over the Summer, blowing it up in my head to be a bigger and bigger deal each day. However, when I got there, it was okay.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would much rather be swimming or at the movies, or just blissfully doing nothing for another week or two of summer vacation, but it wasn’t the nightmare I was making it out in my head to be. I was reflecting over this, and then I realized that this also describes my worry over allergies.

I worry about my allergies a lot. It’s natural, and I would even say it’s good to have a healthy amount of worry about it so I can stay safe. However, I am trying to focus on the “healthy” in healthy amount of worry. I used to worry an absurd amount. I was afraid to do anything, touch anything, even go outside. However, I realized that I was just letting my life go to waste.

It is good to be careful when it comes to your allergies, but if you worry too much, then you can’t enjoy yourself. It got to the point where I was developing OCD due to the crazy high amounts of stress I was putting on myself. My point is listen to your allergist, carry your rescue medication, always check the food you eat, but try not to spend all your time worrying like I used to. Don’t let your allergies win. Your allergies don’t keep you from doing anything. You do.

Until next time!


Survey time!


School is tomorrow! I sort of have a combination of emotions right now. Excited, nervous, anxious, more nervous. I’m literally just a bundle of emotions and school supplies right now. Luckily, I seem to be decently prepared. Safety Sack filled with epi-pens and Benadryl for the office? Check. Kozygo and Spibelt ready to bring to school? Check. Giant stack of allergy paperwork? Check.  Weekend trips to Costco, Sam’s Club, and Target for safe lunch and snack supplies. Check.

It also makes me think of my blog. As many of you may know, this blog started as a school project, and as part of the project I created a survey to measure knowledge of food allergies and empathy towards people with food allergies.  It is a quick nine question survey that should take less than five minutes to complete. Most of the questions are multiple choice.

It will be interesting to see the results, because I already conducted the same survey a couple months ago in my school, before I created this blog. It will be interesting to compare the answers of a population mostly free of food allergies with a population living with food allergies. In fact, next week, I will post the results of both surveys.

If you, my readers, could complete this survey for me, I would be incredibly grateful.

The link to the survey is posted below.

Thank you so much for helping me out with this!

Until next time!