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Monday, May 16, 2011

When milk, eggs, nuts and fish became off-limits to her kids, a Boise mom vowed to help other parents

BY KATY MOELLER - kmoeller@idahostatesman.com Copyright: © 2011 Idaho Statesman
Published: 05/16/11


Daniella Knell will give a class on “Food Allergies — Resources for Parents” from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, at St. Alphonsus Family Center, 900 N. Liberty St., Suite 100. The class, offered through St. Al’s Baby and Me Support Group, is free and open to the public. Registration is not necessary.


Daniella Knell doesn’t want her kids to be labeled “special,” and it would break her heart if they were forced to sit at a separate table at lunch because of their food allergies.

“It doesn’t have to be like that,” says the Boise mom, who believes children with food allergies can be protected without being treated like the boy in the bubble.

Knell, a longtime flight attendant and instructor with Delta Airlines, doesn’t have food allergies. But both of her children, 5 and 7, do.

The first time her daughter tried yogurt — when she was about 6 months old — she had a severe reaction.

“Her entire face broke out in hives,” Knell said. “I immediately called the pediatrician’s office in a panic.”

The doctor’s advice was to give her some Benadryl. That was the beginning of a lifelong education in dealing with food allergies. Her kids’ allergies include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, avocados, kiwi and bananas.

Knell said she and her husband weren’t completely surprised their kids had allergies because there is a history of allergies on his side of the family. She believes the horrible colic her children had as babies may have been early signs of allergies.

Knell’s son, who has the most severe allergies, had cradle cap as a baby, scratching his head raw. The pediatrician was unable to diagnose it.

“Another parent said, ‘‘Maybe it’s soy,’ ” Knell said. “I switched to rice milk. His entire scalp cleared up.”

Knell said pediatricians and other doctors are helpful, but parents facing the same challenges are an invaluable help. She offers classes in local schools and hospitals through her business Smart Allergy-Friendly Education.

“I want to help people embrace the challenge,” she said.

And it is big challenge. For example, eating out can be a mine field. Knell scouts out restaurants a few weeks before she takes her kids there, making sure she knows what ingredients are used.

She also makes cupcakes that are stored in the freezer at her kids’ school, so they can enjoy a safe treat when the other kids get one.

The curriculum she uses for her classes comes from Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and personal experience. She talks about products available locally and where you can get them; newsletters and online resources; cooking alternatives and cookbooks.

Knell offers families a “tool kit” for family and friends that includes strategies for coping with a child’s food allergies. One example is creating an allergy-free cabinet and using color-coded stickers.

“It helps to give kids control over the allergy,” Knell said.


Katy Moeller: 377-6413
Read more: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/05/16/1650262/taking-on-food-allergies.html?story_link=email_msg#ixzz1MXW1Jb6p

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