Traveling With Children Who Have Food Allergies

Just because children have food allergies doesn’t mean that they should be sheltered at home and away from all of the fun activities that take place in other areas. Even if it’s just a day trip to an amusement park or a lake for a picnic, you can still show children a fun and exciting time so that they feel as though they are included. There are a few things that you should do in order to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

boy eating
Keep a small bag in the car with medications that the child takes as well as an antihistamine for kids. This will help if there are foods that are consumed that the child is allergic to that you are unaware of, such as peanuts that are mixed in with other products or foods that might be prepared in peanut oil. Always read the labels on foods as most of them will give details about some of the common food allergies and whether the foods are made with items that could trigger an allergic reaction.

If you are planning a trip that takes you to another state or out of the country and you are flying, then consider packing your own foods to take on the plane. Keep in mind that you can’t have liquids or gels that are over 3 ounces. Some airlines offer snacks and meals that are allergy-friendly. This idea also works if you are planning a picnic or if you want to go to an attraction where a variety of food will be served, such as an amusement park. Keep the food in a clear container, and find out if you can eat the food inside the venue or if there are picnic areas where you can sit to enjoy the food.

Find out what restaurants are in the area before traveling. This will help you make decisions about the foods that you want to eat and what children should avoid as there are some restaurants that only use certain products when cooking and won’t deviate from those ingredients. If you are staying in a hotel, consider finding one with a refrigerator in the room so that you can prepare your own snacks and small meals with foods you know are safe for your children.

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Hormonal Stages and Menopause: A Primer

Unraveling Life's Stages and Cycles

One of the life experiences women face is a period of their life called menopause — the point where normal menstruation stops and the ovaries decrease their production of hormones. This life change can start anywhere between the ages of 40 and 60.

During the aging process, hormone production begins to fluctuate and slow down. Hormones control how our body regulates its behavior and function. This touches everything from where and how we grow hair, to how and when we get hungry, to how our bodies regulate temperature. The principle hormones affected during this time are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, and when their balance is altered, it can wreak havoc with how your body feels and reacts.

Estrogen is the female sex hormone that is responsible for stimulating the characteristics for the development of female body such as the formation of breasts. Progesterone is the hormone responsible for preparing the womb for pregnancy, and later stopping the placenta from ejecting the developing embryo or fetus. Testosterone in women is associated with libido and sexual function, similarly to how it functions in men, and changes to any of these hormone levels can even throw off the levels of other hormones, causing further issues.

The Four Hormonal Stages

There are four hormonal stages in the life of a woman. The first stage is referred to as premenopause — the period between a woman’s first and last regular menstrual cycle when a woman’s reproductive system functions normally. Towards perimenopause, there may be less noticeable changes or declines in hormone production.

The second stage is called perimenopause (literally, “around the menopause”) and sees a woman’s body begin its transition into menopause. This transition can begin as early as the age of 35, before their menstrual cycle completely ceases, and can last up to ten or more years. It is at this stage that women may have more severe hormone fluctuations. Estrogen, for example, is produced at much higher levels than in premenopause. This is also where the body starts sounding alarms, the most common symptoms being hot flashes and night sweats. But there are more that are not as obvious or easy to associate with anything in particular, such as fatigue, unexplained weight changes, mood swings, urinary tract infections, decreased sex drive, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and noncancerous masses in the breast tissue.

It is the third stage that is commonly referred to as menopause, and it is identified as the point at which a woman’s menstrual cycle stops and their body’s ability to produce estrogen and progesterone decreases substantially. The ovaries will also stop producing eggs, and the window for natural childbirth closes. As menstruation may be erratic or sporadic until it stops completely, the pre, peri, and post stages are identified by their relation to the “menopausal moment,” if you will, since that exact moment is harder to pin down than an individual’s progression towards or away from it.

It must be noted, however, that a woman of any age can experience early menopause if they are required to have a total or partial hysterectomy. When this type of surgery is performed, it causes hormone production to decline, resulting in many of the same imbalances and the symptoms thereof.

The fourth stage is referred to as postmenopause. The phase is defined as being 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle. Reproductive hormone production will continue to decrease or fluctuate during this time, and hormonal effects like the hot flash can continue for several years. At this point, a woman is typically considered infertile, although it is important to note that a small possibility of natural pregnancy still exists for some years until a woman reaches postmenopause. This is also where osteoporosis becomes a larger concern, as decreases in estrogen lead to increases in bone resorption, and therefore decreases in bone mass. Muscle mass and strength can also decrease during this period, especially in the bladder — a common culprit behind frequent urination.

Finding Balance

With hormones playing such a crucial part in how our bodies regulate themselves, it’s easy to see how any change or imbalance could bring about anything from high blood pressure to low bone mass, changes in hair growth, and even an acceleration of the aging process. It’s not even uncommon for these changes to have psychological expressions, such as depression. Thankfully, there are treatments available, generally focusing on the restoration of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels, that can alleviate or eliminate these effects. Advances in bio-identical hormone therapies have made it even easier, as your body will respond to these treatments as though they were natural hormones.

If you think hormone therapy might improve your quality of life, talk to your doctor and see if the services of a clinic like Body Concepts and Wellness is right for you. Your physicians and clinical care team will work together to develop and administer a treatment plan specific to your needs so you can continue to have a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Hidden Household Hazards

Children and HazardsFor most people, the major dangers they or their kids could face are outside. Unfortunately, this means that while they take extra precautions outside of the home, their attention to things at home is less than satisfactory.

This is why we sometimes say that the hazards are actually inside the house more than they are outside. This is why as parents, you must take all the necessary steps to protect your children from those things. To do this, however, you must be able to identify these hazards first. The following are some of those hidden dangers.

Cloth Hampers

Kids are always looking for ways to have some fun in the house. Their standard go-to is often building a fort. While there are many materials that they can use to build their nice little “fort”, cloth hampers tend to attract their attention.

Most parents typically do not consider these hampers as harmful. Yet, many children have been rushed to the hospital because the wires from these hampers cut them in the eye. Children who are injured by these hampers typically need surgeries, particularly when it’s in a place like their eyes.

Fridge Magnets

Yes, these things are important. But they are also incredibly risky when kids are around. Even riskier now are the small stress relieving balls which can be swallowed by children and fully capable of choking them.

Here’s why magnets are dangerous: opposite ends of magnets naturally attract regardless of wherever they are located. All they need is close proximity. So, when children ingest these magnets, they attract each other, causing incredible pain to the children.

Colorful Detergent Pods

The thing about these pods is that they are designed in attractive colors and produced to look like small sweets. And you know kids love sweets. If you leave any of these concentrated detergents lying around, your child might just think that they stumbled on a tasty treat and try to eat them.

Because these are concentrated detergents, once they bite into them and swallow, they are essentially poisoning themselves the results can be significantly uncomfortable at best or devastating at worst.

Small Wristwatch Batteries

These are also referred to as “button” batteries. This is because they are shaped like buttons. If you or a relative use wristwatches or any gadgets that use these small sized batteries, you would do well to ensure that they are either kept out of the children’s reach or ensure that they are actually intact.

These batteries are capable of choking children. And if successfully swallowed, the batteries could open while in the stomach. The fluid from inside the battery can cause significant burns to the child’s alimentary canal.

Candies and Sweets

Who doesn’t like them? We all do. However, candies are considered the number choking hazard among children. Now, we won’t say that you shouldn’t give your children candy.

Just make sure they are soft and small enough to be swallowed. You should also learn appropriate choking rescue techniques like the Heimlich as it could be helpful in providing the much-needed relief necessary for the child.

Medications 

For the fortunate among us, we only need our meds occasionally. But for those with severe medical conditions, taking the meds on a frequent basis is necessary. Whatever the case, because more adults are popping more pills than ever -whether it’s supplements or prescription drugs- children are inadvertently at risk of ingesting one of these pills.

Depending on the contents of the pills and the child’s allergies –children allergic to penicillin could go into anaphylactic shock- the resultant effects could be mild or fatal. And because you may not be around when this happens, the child could die from the poison. So, whatever you do, always make sure that medicine cabinet is secured and never leave medications around the house carelessly.

If you do happen to find your child has taken some form of medication that you did not administer, immediately call 911 or a local pediatric urgent care, like Night Lite Pediatrics, to assist you.

Oscar King is a freelance writer and family man who contributes advice and insights into the blessings and challenges of family living.