Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My 2 Year-Old Shows Off His Vocabulary

Setting: Son #2's Room, changing table (potty-training hasn't quite happened yet)

Allergist Mommy: Whoa! You stink, kiddo!
Son #2: I apologize.
Dear Husband: What?!?! You're just copying your brother. Do you even know what that means?
Son #2: I sorry.

We stand corrected, smartypants.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Allergy Education Offered to Illinois State Board of Ed- Will They Accept?

Dear Members of the Illinois State Board of Education,

As a parent of a child attending Illinois Public Schools, a taxpayer, and a Board-Certified Pediatric Allergist & Immunologist, I was distressed to hear of the irresponsible comments made by Illinois State Board of Education Members Catherine Campbell and Lawrence Gregorash regarding the requirement for Illinois schools to have a food allergy policy in place by 2011.

When the parents of children with severe food allergies send their children to school, they place immense trust in our school system - not only to educate their children, but to keep them safe while in its care. 
The safety of our children in the school setting is of tantamount importance, and the assertion by school board members that protecting children with life-threatening food allergies is "the most ridiculous thing" or “This isn’t the dumbest thing I’ve seen in my 64 years…but it sure ranks in the top 10” is worse than offensive - it is dangerous. 

We need only look to the tragic death of 13-year old Katelyn Carlson in December to remind us that food allergies can not, and should not, be taken lightly.  One can only speculate as to whether this tragedy could have been prevented had a comprehensive food allergy plan been in place and been implemented in a timely manner.

As an "Anaphylaxis Community Expert", I work with a Registered Nurse educator to raise awareness about the recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis.  There are 150 such teams throughout the nation, all committed to the concept that raising awareness about the seriousness of anaphylaxis can save precious lives.  This outreach effort is available free of charge to schools and organizations requesting educational assistance.  In the wake of young Katelyn's untimely death, the Chicago School District has proactively requested education for their nurses and counselors. 

I respectfully suggest that the ISBE might also benefit from learning more about the dangers of life threatening allergy, so as to better fulfill its stated goal to "offer a safe and healthy learning environment for all students".

As a physician and a mother, my most important role is that of an educator.  Only by understanding our bodies and disease processes can we move forward to improve health.  I am hopeful that the ISBE will seize this opportunity to educate itself and create a healthier learning environment for all students in our great state. 

Please feel free to contact me at any time to arrange for an educational seminar for the members of the Illinois State Board of Education.  I would be happy to facilitate a program.

Sakina Shikari Bajowala, M.D.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Son the Buckethead

I have been asked recently if there are plans for a Child #3.
This video should help explain why any family expansion should be very thoughtfully considered in advance.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Anaphylaxis Community Experts Bring Vital Education to Your Area!

I am pleased to be a part of what I consider a very important educational initiative- the Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACE) program.  

Co-sponsored by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) and the Allergy & Asthma Network - Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), the ACE program's mission is to prevent anaphylaxis deaths and reduce anxieties through education, advocacy and outreach.  In light of the tragic death of a peanut-allergic girl at a Chicago school in December, our mission is even more timely.

Who are the ACE team members?
ACE Teams consist of one board-certified allergist and one community member who each share this mission.

Goal: To understand and improve the care of people at risk for anaphylaxis by providing an evidence-based approach to the identification, diagnosis, assessment and management of anaphylaxis in order to prevent deaths from severe allergic reactions.

  • To help patients, families, and healthcare professionals identify who is at risk, and improve recognition of the signs and symptoms of life-threatening allergic reactions
  • To recommend that auto-injectable epinephrine, the first line of treatment, be administered immediately once the signs and symptoms have been identified
  • To develop prevention models that:
o   Promote identification and avoidance of allergens
o   Encourage patients with history of anaphylaxis to be seen routinely by an allergy specialist
o   Provide an Anaphylaxis Action Plan to all patients who are at risk of anaphylaxis
o   Refer patients with a diagnosis of anaphylaxis to an allergist, support groups and educational programs

How Will Objectives be Met?
ACE teams will provide educational seminars in a variety of community and healthcare settings- schools, day-care centers, hospitals, police/fire departments, etc.  In addition, ACE teams will provide interviews with print, radio, internet, and television media to raise awareness about recognition and management of anaphylaxis.  All seminars will be free of charge.

How Can I Request a Seminar in My Community?
ACE teams are eager to bring a seminar to your community!  To find an Anaphylaxis Community Expert near you, please see the following site: