How to Get $0 Co-Pay for Epi-Pen or Auvi-Q

Posted on January 11th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Food Allergies, Saving Money/Sales | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

Did you know that you can get your Epi-Pens or your Auvi-Q (new brand of epinephrine auto-injector) for free? Both companies are offering a $0 Co-Pay program. I wasn’t aware of these programs until a friend told me – before that I was paying over $100 each time I needed to get a refill, which adds up when you need one for school, one for home, and one more to be safe! Plus, they expire every year, so you are forced to get new ones and dump the old.

Here’s how it works:

The Epi-Pen $0 Co-Pay Offer:

What is it?

It’s a savings offer that you can print or store on your smartphone. The EpiPen® $0 Co-Pay Offer helps eligible patients save on out-of-pocket costs for up to $100 per each EpiPen 2-Pak carton. It will cover up to 3 EpiPen 2-Pak cartons per prescription fill. Just present your card at the pharmacy each time you drop off or refill your prescription.

Use it again and again.

Your EpiPen $0 co-pay card is reusable for each prescription through December 31, 2014. It’s good for up to three EpiPen 2-Pak or EpiPen Jr 2-Pak cartons at a time, so you can have several EpiPen 2-Pak cartons available in different locations.

Patient Instructions*: Present your card along with a valid prescription for EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors 2-Pak carton or EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors 2-Pak carton. Maximum benefit of $100 per EpiPen 2-Pak® carton where applicable. This offer may be used on up to three EpiPen 2-Pak cartons per prescription. This offer can be used an unlimited number of times until the offer expires on 12/31/2014.

For more information, visit the Epi-Pen Co-Pay Offer page.

The Auvi-Q $0 Co-Pay Offer:

Eligible Patients: Maximum benefit of $100 per two‑pack of Auvi‑Q, up to a maximum of three two‑packs per prescription. This offer can be used an unlimited number of times until 12/31/2014. Prescriber ID# required on prescription. This offer is not valid for prescriptions covered by or submitted for reimbursement under Medicaid, Medicare, or similar federal or state programs including any state medical pharmaceutical assistance program.

Patient Instructions: If prescription is covered by insurance, you may need to notify the insurance carrier of redemption of this copay card. Patient not eligible if prescriptions are paid in part or full by any state or federally funded programs, including, but not limited to, Medicare or Medicaid. In order to redeem this card you must have a valid prescription for Auvi‑Q.

For more information, visit the Auvi-Q Co-Pay Offer page.


New Summer Camp for Kids with Food Allergies

Posted on January 29th, 2013 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Camp, Food Allergies | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

I am happy to announce that there is a new summer camp in Oregon for kids with food allergies. As far as I know, it is the only one of its kind. When I told my daughter about how she wouldn’t have to worry about the food if she went to a camp like this, she said wide-eyed, “It would be like I didn’t have food allergies!” Yes, my love, it would. I don’t think she’s quite ready for sleep-away camp this year (she’s 8), but I want to support this wonderful camp so that when she’s ready, she has this option.

Here is the email I received about the camp:

I am happy to let you know that Camp Blue Spruce, a worry-free camp for kids with food allergies, is now accepting campers for its 2013 session, August 18-23. Loads of fun activities and Oregon’s great outdoors will make Camp Blue Spruce the highlight of the summer for children with and without food allergies.

We are excited about holding our first session this summer. Camp Blue Spruce will be like any other summer camp EXCEPT the food will be prepared without any of the top 8 food allergens, gluten or sesame. Up to 56 kids will be able to sit down at the table and eat all the foods that are being served — a simple gift for these children, who are rarely able to eat what everyone else is eating.  Kids attending Camp Blue Spruce will have a true camp experience without the worry and anxiety they experience daily with their food allergies. Camp Blue Spruce parents can be worry-free, too!

There are a few things you can do to help make this summer a success:

  1. Register your child for camp. Visit www.campbluespruce.org for the application. Registrations are arriving already, so sign up today!
  2. Encourage your friends with and without food allergies and sensitivities to register. We have reduced the cost for 2013 to make thecamp available to more kids.
  3. Let us know if you can leave postcards at your doctor’s office, naturopath, favorite food store, bakery, library or school. If you have other ways to spread the word, please let us know.
  4. Make a charitable contribution to Camp Blue Spruce. We cannot launch this camp solely with camp fee revenue. Your tax-deductible contribution will do three important things – promote the camp, provide scholarships to campers who are unable to pay the entire camp fee, and help cover essential camp costs. Donations can be mailed to: Camp Blue Spruce, 3519 NE 15th, #225, Portland, OR 97212.

Thank you for your interest and support of Camp Blue Spruce! Please call or email if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Louise Tippens
Camp Blue Spruce Board President
503-726-8886
info@campbluespruce.org

I really hope this camp is a success!


My daughter has a new allergy and you might be surprised at this one

Posted on May 21st, 2012 by Alison | Posted in Food Allergies, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy | Read 43 Comments - Add Your Own »

Lentil Allergy Reaction

About a month ago, I gave my daughter a new soup to try: Amy’s Lentil Soup. It is delicious with quality ingredients and she ate it up one day after school, before gymnastics. I added cooked rice to it and it made a great powerhouse snack! The next week I made it for her dinner, again with rice. I think she ate two bowls, she liked it so much. Then it all went downhill…

Within a minute of finishing the soup, her voice changed and she began to have trouble breathing. She was having an asthmatic reaction. No hives, no redness, but she instantly didn’t feel well and wanted to go to bed (it was still early). I immediately gave her Benadryl and as we headed to her bedroom, she said, “Mom, bring my emergency kit.”

Because I grew up with asthma, I recognized the asthmatic breathing she was experiencing, and got an inhaler that we had been prescribed by our pediatrician but had never used. I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t work, I’ll use the Epi.” And I was racking my brain as to why she was having this reaction, though my instinct told me it was lentils since everything else in the meal was foods she had had many times before. I also knew that lentils are a legume and since she is allergic to peanuts which are also legumes, I thought there could be a connection.

After a few puffs on the inhaler, her breathing began to normalize, but slowly. Eventually her breathing was clear as she fell to sleep, exhausted by what her body had just been through. Now I know that many doctors and knowledgeable food allergy people would have advised using the Epi Pen right away, but there’s still part of me that is scared to use it, and I felt that I should try the other medications first. Luckily they worked.

Once she was asleep, I headed to the computer for answers. Sure enough I found myself in peanut allergy forums where moms were discussing the other legumes that their children were allergic to. It seemed that lentils and chickpeas were the most common legumes that peanut-allergic kids reacted to. Several of the forum members quoted the statistic of 20% of peanut allergic children being allergic to lentils or other legumes (but my allergist thinks this statistic is too high). I had never considered that lentils could be a problem, but here I was now realizing that she was probably allergic to them. I lost it. I mean I really lost it. I cried — hard. My husband was out of town and I felt alone with this knowledge and I couldn’t get a handle on my emotions. Luckily I was able to call another mom with allergic kids who could understand what I was feeling. She talked me down, but mostly just listened and was there for me on the other end of the line.

The next day I made an appointment with the allergist to test for the lentil allergy. We couldn’t get in until weeks later and I was told to avoid lentils until we could do the testing. Last Friday was the day. That morning, I called Amy’s Kitchen. I figured I should know every ingredient in that soup before we went in, and “spices” was listed as the last ingredient. Here is where I give a big plug for Amy’s: I have always loved this company and now I like it even more. The customer service person (key word here: person) understood my needs and immediately escalated my call. Though companies don’t always like to share their ingredients, because it’s like giving away their recipe, she did tell me what the “spices” in the soup were so that I could have that information to best take care of my child.

That afternoon I took my daughter to the allergist. I brought the lentil soup in one container and straight lentils that I had cooked in another container. They literally put the suspected allergens into the skin on the back to see if there is a reaction. The doctor used a commercial lentil solution for testing also. We tested a few other things while we were there too.

The results: she reacted strongly to both the lentil soup and the straight lentils. Those are the two top left wheals on her back in the picture. She did not react to the commercial lentil extract, leading both the allergist and me to believe that fresh lentils are certainly more potent and allergenic than their extract. The third wheal you see in the picture is the positive control — they purposely give histamine to make sure the person will react to something if allergic (if someone has taken antihistamines, it can affect the test). The other pricks were to rule out other ingredients in the soup (celery, for example) and retesting some other allergens.

My daughter was a trooper through the whole thing, but in the car on the way home it hit her that there is yet another food she is not allowed to have and that she has to watch out for. It breaks my heart. I hope they find a cure for food allergies in her lifetime!


If you carry EpiPens, please read this

Posted on February 27th, 2012 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Food Allergies, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

A friend of mine, who is also a mom of a child with food allergies, talked to me recently about how  she has not been diligent about taking the EpiPen with them wherever they go, and about how her husband hasn’t taken responsibility for bringing the emergency medication when he takes the child somewhere. They know they should, but they forget, or they haven’t totally accepted the fact that the EpiPen might be the thing that saves their child’s life someday. I get it — I was in the same boat a while ago.

We had EpiPens, we had Benadryl, but it was hanging around our house in different places. Sometimes it would go in my purse, or be stashed in a compartment in my car, or thrown into whatever bag we were carrying that day. My husband didn’t know where it was, and how scary to think what would have happened if I wasn’t around in an emergency to find it.

After a few close calls of our own, and a few heart-wrenching news stories of kids who died because the medicine was not accessible, I realized that I may not be able to control everything she eats (though I try!), but I can make sure that treatment is available should an accident happen.

When a seven-year old with food allergies died, it hit me hard, and I had a heart-to-heart with my seven-year old daughter, sharing the little girl’s tragic story with her, and talking to her about taking responsibility for her own safety. I told her how sad I would be to lose her and that she needed to keep herself safe by 1) not eating anything that could possibly be unsafe and 2) carrying her medication with her at all times. Since then, she has been much more careful with food and diligent about making sure her emergency kit is with her at all times.

And that brings me to the point of this article. You can’t expect the child (or other family members) to be responsible about the emergency medication without providing some organization first. You need to have consistency.

First, get a carrier of some kind. When I set out to write this article, I meant to highlight the carriers I use but it turns out that they are no longer available. The ones I use were made by AllergyKids. They are flourescent green with a big AllergyKids logo on it, they zip and they are roomy enough for a couple of epi-pens and other medication like Benadryl. I like that they are brightly colored so anyone who knows us knows that the bright green bag has the emergency medication in it. I also wrote my daughter’s name is black Sharpie pen in large letters on the bag. There is no mistaking this bag for anything else. You can spot it from far away and find it easily within my daughter’s backpack or anywhere else we might put it. If you can’t find a brightly colored bag like I did, at least buy a few bags with the same pattern so that everyone knows which bags are the Epi bags.

Then, make sure you have a consistent place to keep it in your house, ideally near the front door so that it is easy to remember and easy to grab. We keep one of the bags in my daughter’s backpack and we have another one in the house in my daughter’s “inbox.” We know to look there for the pack when we are going somewhere. She knows to look there also, and even her little sister is always on the lookout for the emergency pack.

You need to find a system that works for you, but have a system!

I found many companies that sell Epi-Pen bags of all styles and colors. Here are some of them:

Allergy Apparel

OneSpot Allergy

BlueBear Aware

Moxie Pouches

Etsy

Let me know if you have a system that works for your allergic child!


Turning off food allergies – have researchers found a way?

Posted on November 7th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Food Allergies, News & Research, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy | ADD A COMMENT »

Can peanut allergies be turned off?Researchers were able to turn off peanut allergy in mice by tricking their immune systems into thinking the nut proteins were not a threat to the body. The researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine attached peanut proteins onto white blood cells and then put them back into the mice. These mice, who were supposed to have an anaphylactic response if they ate peanut, did not have a life-threatening allergic reaction to peanut extract. Essentially, the researchers created tolerance to peanut in the mice. The immune system, which previously treated the peanut protein as a threat, now didn’t. The researchers were able to achieve the same tolerance in other mice using egg protein.

This is exciting new research targeting food allergies specifically and the hope is that these methods could someday be applied to humans. If we could train the immune system not to overreact to food substances, wouldn’t that be wonderful??

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Food Allergy Initiative.

Read full article: Peanut Allergy May Be Turned Off By Tricking Immune System


My TV debut speaking about gluten and food allergies!

Posted on October 10th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Food Allergies, Publicity, Sure Foods Living News | Read 14 Comments - Add Your Own »

I am so lucky — I got to talk about celiac disease and food allergies on TV! It makes me happy that over the past 9 years I have been able to share my story in so many ways — through my blog, in newspaper and magazine, in person, in groups and now on television. Cheryl Jennings of ABC 7 in San Francisco was as nice as can be, as was everyone I met at the studio. I also enjoyed meeting and listening to the others interviewed for this segment. I have already received some emails from those who saw it, so I know it has reached some people out there! :)

I hope you will watch the whole show, but if you are short on time, my interview starts at 18:18 (I’m the last 4 minutes of the show).


Tragic deaths remind us to take food allergies seriously

Posted on August 29th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Emotions, Food Allergies, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

jharelldillardI’m in tears as I watch an interview with the amazingly composed father of Jharell Dillard, a teenage boy who died last week from anaphylactic shock after eating a chocolate chip cookie that he didn’t know contained nuts. The cookie was given to him by his aunt by mistake. I feel such pain for this family and fear of losing my own daughter like this. It can happen so fast, and so easily, which is why it is so important to always – always – carry an Epi-Pen. Unfortunately, this boy didn’t have one with him because he was always so careful. As careful as one is, accidents can happen.

As if one death isn’t enough of a reminder, there are two more in recent news.

A 20 year old college student, also in Georgia, died after eating at the dining hall. The full story is here.

A young Bay Area man died just last month after eating a salad that contained nuts. He made the news because he was a key witness in a crime, but hopefully his legacy will be to raise money for food allergy awareness and research, as his friends and family are walking in his honor at the 2011 Food Allergy Walk in San Jose, CA.

I don’t mean to be morbid, but I am still haunted by the horrible story of a 7th grader who died at school in Chicago last December, and the tragedy of BJ Hom, an 18 year old who lost his life while vacationing with his family in Mexico. There is a memorial fundraising run in his honor.

These are reminders to be vigilant about food and to carry medicine at all times, no matter how mild past reactions have been.

Here are some important facts most people probably don’t know about food allergies, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN):

  • The severity of a person’s allergic reactions to food cannot be predicted from previous reactions. Someone whose reactions have been mild in the past might react more severely during a next episode. A FAAN review of food allergy fatalities found that most of the people had never had a severe allergic reaction until the one that caused their death. Thus, all food allergies must be taken seriously.
  • The incidence of peanut and tree nut allergy among children appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008.
  • Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.
  • Most people who’ve had an allergic reaction to something they ate thought that it was safe.
  • Early administration of epinephrine (adrenaline) is crucial to successfully treating anaphylactic reactions. Epinephrine is available by prescription in a self-injectable device (EpiPen® or Twinject®).
  • A study of fatal reactions in children and adolescents found that most occurred at school, and were associated with significant delays in treating with epinephrine.
  • There are no significant risks to giving epinephrine even if someone isn’t having an allergic reaction, unless one has a serious heart condition.

Awareness and education of those around us is the key to keeping our children safe!


Letter to parents about food allergies

Posted on August 23rd, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Food Allergies | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

If your child has food allergies, it is a good idea to let the other parents in your class know. In my case, I wrote a letter to all the parents in my daughter’s grade because they all eat lunch together and last year we had an incident due to another child and her parents not knowing about my daughter’s peanut allergy.

I thought I would share the letter here in case anyone out there needs a little help. Feel free to copy and paste it to make your own letter. I have already had one parent let me know that after reading my letter she bought Sunbutter for her son’s lunches (even though I didn’t ask her to).

This letter is to let you know that I have a child in the 2nd grade with severe food allergies. Her name is ____________ in Ms. ______’s class. Even if your child is not in class with my daughter, they share lunch tables. Therefore, I want to make sure that all the parents and kids in the 2nd grade are aware of her severe allergies.

________ is severely allergic to peanuts, nuts, eggs and avocado. If she comes into contact with or eats these foods, she can become very ill, with hives, rash, itchy eyes, stomach ache, vomiting, breathing problems, and swelling throat. The allergic reaction could be life-threatening (anaphylaxis) if not stopped in time with proper medication and emergency care.

The best way for my child to be safe is for her to avoid the foods to which she is allergic. I am aware and sympathetic to your needs as parents when packing food for your children to eat at school. Peanut butter and other nut butters are of the highest concern with children as they are sticky and the oils are easily transferred to shared surfaces. If you do pack peanuts or nuts for your child, please talk about it with your child and encourage him/her to be careful about spilling or spreading it around, to keep the food away from _________, and to wash his/her hands after eating. Kids are usually very thoughtful about it and don’t want their friends to get sick.

I know from the last two years that you are a wonderful and supportive group of parents and I thank you for looking out for my child! Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions.

Sincerely,

Alison St. Sure


Sensitive Sweets Bakery caters to food allergies

Posted on July 26th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Bakeries, Food Allergies, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

Walking into a bakery and choosing anything from the case is no big deal for most people, but for the first time ever in my soon-to-be 7 year old daughter’s life, she was able to do just that last Saturday. Sensitive Sweets, located in Orange County, California, is a dedicated gluten-free and nut-free bakery that specializes in baked goods and custom cakes for people with food sensitivities or dietary restrictions.

Sensitive SweetsWhile there are gluten-free bakeries popping up here and there, most gluten-free baked goods contain dairy, nuts, eggs, soy or any combination of these most common allergens. Sensitive Sweets, which had its grand opening July 13, offers cookies, muffins, cupcakes, breads and cakes that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, and nuts.

You should see the cakes! Because we were there on a Saturday, we got to see a few of them being picked up. Those lucky kids! To get a fancy, bakery-made allergen-free cake is really a treat for kids that have never had one!

We treated ourselves to sugar cookies (my daughter’s favorite), chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, cinnamon bread (great, soft texture), and a lemon Sensitive and happy!blackberry cupcake (my favorite). I asked my daughter what she liked about the bakery, and she said, “that it was gluten-free, and e-free and n-free and d-free.”

I would like to thank Melanie, the owner and head baker, who started the bakery because of her own experience with her two sons. The bakery is located in Fountain Valley, which is nowhere near where I live, but luckily close to relatives who we visit!

For more information about Sensitive Sweets, go their website or Facebook page.


My ‘a-ha’ moment about food allergies

Posted on March 15th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Emotions, Food Allergies | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

attunefoodsbrandam_buttonThe Attune Foods theme this month, “Your a-ha moment,” inspired me to write about when I realized my daughter’s food allergies were real and how I became an allergy mom.

I didn’t know how serious food allergies could be until my daughter’s lips swelled after contact with someone who had been eating cashews. She was two and a half at the time and I didn’t know anyone with food allergies. Looking back, I feel lucky that the worst didn’t happen since we were in Mexico without proper medication. It was after that incident that I began to take food allergies seriously. It was an ‘a-ha’ moment: food allergies are real. And scary.

To read the rest of this article, please visit me over at Attune Foods. Don’t forget to leave me a comment!