With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

23 October 2009

Edible Flowers, Allergies and Asthma

Recently, a nearby friend told me that individuals with allergies and asthma should not eat eat edible flowers. I had never really given it any thought; opportunities to eat flowers just don't arise on a frequent basis. During a class visit to the school garden, however, her peanut allergic 5 year old was offered an edible flower and promptly, obediently ate it. Hives. Fast. Fortunately, nothing else occurred, all of the appropriate adults immediately noticed the allergic reaction and benadryl was administered. The parents were notified. Subsequent discussions have taken place with the hope of avoiding future reactions. Scary.

It is difficult to anticipate every scenario that will come up in school. Before we sent our kindergartener off to elementary school, I asked many questions--as this mother did--and expressed concerns about potential reactions. The school's response was to try to assuage fears, citing the high number of allergic students, years without incidents, etc, and after a while, I began to relax. This recent incident, however, is a reminder that despite best intentions, it is impossible to anticipate every allergy risk. It is difficult for the school to inform parents of the details of every class activity. Therefore, we must somehow constantly remind the children and the teachers of food allergy risks. The challenge is how to do to this--how to have a presence and protect your child, without making yourself unwelcome. We have to walk a fine line. Maybe all those years working in diplomacy and international affairs in Washington do have application outside DC. I'm about to find out.


Unknown said...

I found that teachers were usually looking for moms to be computer lab volunteers. It put me in front of the teacher once a week without a food allergy agenda. Yet, it turned out to be a great venue for communication regarding classroom activiites. Many food allergy mishaps were avoided as a result.

Jenny said...

Oddly enough, this came up for my daughter because her best friend's mom has an extensive flower and herb garden, including edible flowers that she puts in salads.

My daughter has eaten a few edible flowers without incident but I'm always telling her to ask me before she eats any herb or edible flower growing in someone's garden. The other thing about flowers is that some are poisonous for everyone and not edible.

Thanks for this important alert!

Unknown said...

Ann, I agree--getting in the classroom, having a presence is a great way to find out what's going on.

Jenny, that's funny (odd funny) that you and your daughter encountered the edible flowers thing. It never occurred to me, but I am glad to know about it. The parent volunteer and teachers at school were quite caught off guard by it.

Flowers said...

I was unaware of the fact that individuals with allergies and asthma should not eat eat edible flowers. I am suffering from it and this information is quite helpful. You are an angel.