As the saying goes, “Teaching is a Work of Heart“. It truly is and today we spotlight how one teacher created a food allergy awareness poster board and what she has done to teach, love, and inspire others about Food Allergy Awareness.
Michelle Haley DeLorenzo and Jennifer Chung collaborated on this post.
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WHY BUILD FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS?
According to FARE, “a food allergy is a life-threatening medical condition that affects 32 million Americans. Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room.” For these reasons, it is important to provide information needed to help keep those with food allergies safe.
Whether in a school or at a restaurant, knowing how to identify and respond to an anaphylactic reaction can save a life.
WHEN IS FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK?
Officially, May is Food Allergy Awareness Month and there is a specific week (usually the 2nd or 3rd week of May) that is officially Food Allergy Awareness Week. But really, anytime is a good time to spread awareness.
In this post, Michelle Haley DeLorenzo, a teacher at a K-8 school, shows us what she did for Food Allergy Awareness Week at her school. Together with her allergy teammates, Michelle made a huge impact. Let’s see what she did.
WHAT WE DID
- Created bulletin board with awareness posters and a hands-on EpiPen Trainer display.
- Sold allergy awareness bracelets to raise money towards allergy friendly snacks for school events.
- Shared food allergy picture books with students.
- The health teacher used information from Be a Pal from FARE with elementary students.
- The nurse always made sure staff members had student EpiPens.
- Sent a PowerPoint presentation to all teachers at the school so they could share with their students.
This display board was created several years ago so some of the posters are no longer available on the FARE site, but don’t worry, we’ve got them here for you below or you can checkout the posters currently available from FARE.
Let’s dive into the details of what’s displayed on the bulletin board.
FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS BULLETIN BOARD
|These posters highlight some food allergy facts as well as the signs/symptoms of a food allergy reaction called anaphylaxis.||Including a physical EpiPen trainer device is a great way to demystify what an EpiPen is, how it feels, and how it works. Sometimes people are so scared of it, they don’t even want to touch it for fear it may just explode in their hands!
In the event of an allergic reaction, it’s important for the person helping you to know what to look for and how to operate the device. Practice makes perfect, so try it out with the trainer. It has no needle and no medicine.
- Be a Pal – Protect a Life from food allergies poster
- I am a child with food allergies poster
- You can SAVE the day poster
A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Top 8 and consists of milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean. These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.
To print the posters below, download the images by placing your cursor over the image and right click. Then select ‘Save Image As…’
WHO CAN HELP
Anyone can help to build food allergy awareness! If you know of any friends or family that are allergic to some foods like peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, soybean, fish, shellfish, sesame, or anything else, they will be positively impacted by your efforts!
Here’s a list of professions which interface with people on a daily basis. You can make a difference by talking about food allergies, teaching a small lesson to your co-workers or subordinates, or putting up a poster.
- Daycare provider
- Healthcare provider
- Cafeteria worker
- Restaurant owner
- Scout troop leader
- Youth group leader
|If you want to raise money by selling food allergy awareness teal bracelets, here’s a cool pop-out one from Oriental Trading. You can use the funds raised to buy allergy friendly snacks for the school or your office or donate it to End Allergies Together to fund research to accelerate treatments and cures.||Show your teal bracelets – the color of food allergy awareness.|
WHERE TO DISPLAY
The bulletin board or any portion of it could be displayed anywhere the public would see it. As a result of just printing even one poster and posting it at your school or office, it will help build awareness!
Here are some ideas:
- School hallway
- School cafeteria
- Community center
- Shopping mall
- Whole Foods
We also started an allergy table in the school cafeteria. Students with all food allergies sit together and are able to invite friends to sit and eat a safe lunch with them. Teachers are always keeping watchful eyes on this table at lunchtime.
In the past, EpiPens were kept in the nurse’s office. Within the last few years, the nurse was adamant that EpiPens be kept in the classroom and travel with students to their specialists (art, gym, music, health, computer, library). Teachers are trained with the Epi at the beginning of each school year and given refreshers before field trips.
There was only one incident of an allergic reaction that resulted in a substitute nurse administering an EpiPen. Our students have been kept pretty safe. So we must be doing something right!
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
So hopefully, these ideas will inspire you to take action in your community. There are many ways you can help. Anyone can make a difference. Even just putting up one poster is beneficial!
Do one thing today!
With increased awareness, we can support, include and empower people with food allergies.
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