Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yes, There Should Still be Epinephrine in Our Schools

I will get right to the point. I am worried that the recent discussions on Epi-pen and Mylan Pharmaceuticals could set us back a decade on access to epinephrine.

Four years ago I wrote a piece that appeared here and on Forbes.com, titled, “Of Course There Should Be Epinephrine in Our Schools.” During those four years hundreds of advocates, medical professionals, and legislators have come together to ensure that there is epinephrine in our schools – a place where food is served every day and, unfortunately, where some children will have their first anaphylactic reaction.

This is progress.

And yet, I worry. Yesterday I watched a portion of the Congressional Hearings on Epi-pen pricing. What bothered me most were the questions about epinephrine in schools.

Nearly every state now has a law that allows undesignated (meaning not labeled for a specific child) epinephrine in schools, and many states require it in schools. Mylan has helped with their Epi-pen for Schools program that gives schools free Epi-pens and sells them additional pens at a discount. I assert that without this program, many of the 65000+ schools that stock undesignated epinephrine would not have it.

This is progress.

And yet, many of the senators questioning Heather Bresch at the hearings wanted to focus on how she went about getting the Epi-pens into the schools, the role her mother (who happens to be the head of the National Association of State Boards of Education) played in getting the legislation passed, and whether she was ensuring a monopoly while getting this legislation passed.

This is where it gets scary.


Heather Bresch was berated for walking down the halls of Congress to help pass legislation for undesignated epinephrine. Of all the things we can be angry about, passing this legislation should not be one of them. Yes, Mylan had a great a marketing plan to expand the market. But it was a win-win. The company expanded the market while increasing access to a life-saving drug.

Every food-allergy advocate, parent, and health care professional that I know supported these laws. Many of them worked to ensure that the wording stated “epinephrine,” to allow all types of auto-injectors (including the Auvi-Q, then on the market, and any to come in the future) to be covered under the law. Any of us would have drawn on our network (personal or otherwise) to help pass this legislation. Because it was the right thing to do.

But we’re not finished.

Yes, epinephrine still needs to be in our schools. But it also needs to be on airplanes, in ambulances, and in restaurants. Epinephrine needs to be everywhere there is a defibrillator or where food is served. Let’s not take a giant step backwards by focusing on the wrong issues.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Skinny and Company Coconut Oil Beauty - Product Review

If you have been following here for a while you know that I am on a constant quest for the best allergen-free skin care. For me, that means products that don't contain wheat or soy proteins, or chemical sunscreens. If I use them I may break out in a rash, and I will be itchy, for sure. Preservatives and fragrances also sometimes cause problems. So I was very excited when Skinny and Company asked if I wanted to try their coconut oil beauty products. Yes, yes, yes! They sent me a complimentary samples of the facial oil and body butter, along with some good oil coconut oil (for baking, cooking, eating).


Skinny and Co's coconut oil products are 100% raw, cold-pressed, and never heated above 97 degrees.

I have been using the beauty products for about a week, and I am thrilled with them. I must point out that they are expensive (as beauty products go) but a little goes a long way. You will need far less facial oil (just a few drops a day) than the dollop of traditional cream products you might use.


You will also notice that the products truly are oils. Even though they start solid (but on a warm day they might melt) they will liquefy quickly as soon as you touch them. No worries though, just rub them in and go.

I know what you're thinking... they must be greasy, right? Nope, not at all. Within minutes your skin absorbs the oil, leaving it soft and smooth.

I must point out that the body butter combines coconut oil with almond oil, therefore inappropriate for those with tree nut allergies. But for me, these products are winners!

To get 15% off your Skinny & Co. order, use code: SKINNYCO15. I plan to try the shampoo bar and the lip balm next!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels Now Made in a Peanut-Free Facility – And a Giveaway

A box full of pretzels arrived the other day, from Snyder’s of Hanover. “Ooooh, pretzels, can I have some?” asked DH. “Not until I take pictures and do my review,” I replied. That’s a standard response in my house.


Disclosure: Snyder’s of Hanover sent me pretzels for review, and is sponsoring this giveaway and blog post.

My husband didn’t even notice that the packaging said “gluten-free,” and he definitely missed the big news. Yup, there’s news! Take a look at the labels:


In addition to the certified gluten-free labeling on the front of the package, check out the “no peanuts” label near the ingredients label. That’s right, these pretzels are now made in a completely peanut-free facility. Woo-hoo! And kudos to Snyder’s!

Note that I received only gluten-free pretzels in my package but Snyder’s also makes traditional wheat pretzels,  also produced in a peanut-free facility.

It’s important to note that Snyder’s pretzels never “contained” peanuts; i.e., the ingredients list never listed peanuts. But making the production facility completely peanut-free means the risk of cross-contamination has been minimized and makes these snacks safe for just about anyone or anywhere. Send them to school with your child in a peanut-free classroom or take them on an airplane without worries about your own child or the person sitting next to you.


And the best news is that they taste great! The formula hasn’t changed – you will still be eating the best pretzels around.

Now you can try the new pretzels too! Snyder’s of Hanover is giving away a product prize pack and a $25 VISA gift card to one lucky winner. Enter here:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share, share, share (use hashtag #PretzelsBaby) and spread the #PeanutFree news!