Schools and Food Allergies

By Naomi Dillon

They couldn’t put their finger on it, but Dennis and Gina Ganahl knew something wasn’t right with their infant son, Denny. Angry, red rashes marred his baby cheeks, and he frequently suffered from stomachaches.

“He would scream and cry, and we could never figure it out,” Gina Ganahl recalls.

The couple got their answer soon enough, after feeding their underweight 1-year-old peanut butter. Denny immediately threw up, rubbed his eyes, turned red, and screamed.

On the way to the hospital, Denny became unconscious; and remained so as they carried him through the emergency room. “It’s something that always stays with you,” Ganahl says.

An injection of epinephrine revived the infant. Doctors diagnosed Denny with peanut and tree nut allergies, as well as with several others. It would take another week before Denny’s swollen and red body returned to normal -- but his parents now had a new “normal.” Every morsel that went into Denny’s mouth henceforth was researched, inspected, and more than likely prepared at home.

Denny, fortunately, has not suffered from another severe reaction. But the Ganahls grew uneasy as their attempts to find a suitable day care, preschool, and then elementary school for their son proved to be difficult.

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