How to live safely with food allergies from Onespot Allergy Founder, Elizabeth Goldenberg. This video explains how to avoid accidental exposure to food allergens.
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I'm Elizabeth Goldenberg the founder of Onespot Allergy. I have two sons and my younger son Jacob has severe food allergies. I'm going to describe to you three products I've put in my food allergy safety kits that I find essential for avoiding accidental exposure to food allergens. These were inspired actually not by Jacob’s food allergy but by the fact that one winter my family was swapping strep throat. We just seem to keep infecting each other and I wanted to locate the source of the infection. It turned out that this was happening in the bathroom and the first source of contamination I found was our toothbrush holder. When I had a good look at it I realized that there was foam from each person’s toothbrush pooled at the bottom of the holder that people weren’t necessarily putting the toothbrushes in the same slot every time, that sometimes the toothbrushes were angled and were even touching each other. The moment I separated out our toothbrushes we stopped making each other sick. So what I've put into my food allergy safety kits are single toothbrush holders. I think they're very useful for general hygiene. In my family we each now have our own toothbrush holder. But at a minimum I’d suggest using this for the food allergic person’s toothbrush so it doesn’t come in contact with the other brushes. When my older son goes out to a birthday party and eats foods that aren’t safe for his brother to eat the first thing he does when he gets home is wash his hands, brush his teeth and wash his face. And his food allergen is then on the toothbrush. The last thing I want is for Jacob’s toothbrush to come and contact with it. This way it can’t. The second thing I pulled together for better hygiene is these labels. I had realized that we had reusable cups in the bathroom but people couldn’t distinguish which one was theirs. So I wanted to label each person’s cup so it was obvious at a glance that they were using the right thing. The reason I didn’t want to use stickers I could get for a dollar in a store there’s a lot of waste on those pages first of all and those sorts of labels contain chromium, mercury, lead and ink that’s full of solvents. These are printed on safe plastic with solvent for the ink and they're actually food grade. I like these labels because they are sold in color coded packs so you get only what you need. They are very discreet. They don’t fade. They stay well on the dishwasher but they are removable without leaving a residue. And the way that I apply this to food allergy is I want Jacob using his own things. I don’t want him putting his mouth on something someone else has used in case that contains his allergen. And I use them to label his water bottle and his lunch kit at school. Someone else’s snack might not be safe for him. I need him to eat his own things only and for that to be obvious to him. And if he accidently sips from the wrong water bottle that happens to have his allergen on it he could get exposed to enough allergen to cause a severe reaction. The final thing I have pulled together for better hygiene in general was towel clips. I realized my children were having trouble identifying which towel was theirs. They were wiping their faces on our towels or on each other’s towels and that was one of the sources of our illness. I don’t want this to happen with Jacob’s allergy. Again, because when his brother cleans up that food allergen could potentially be on his brother’s towel. We need to use our own things. It’s better hygiene in general and it’s better for food allergy. So what I do is I take these color coded clips and I slide them onto the edge of our towel. In our house Jacob is green and the other is blue. Our towels are easily identified when it’s time to do laundry we just slide these clips off and we clip it to the next one and I can be sure that everyone is using their own things. I recommend these cross-contamination products as a great way to improve your hygiene at home generally, but as a