FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK
May is Food Allergy Action Month and specifically Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 13-19, 2018. Are you ready for it? There is a LOT we can do to raise awareness.
But first, let’s start with a definition.
FOOD ALLERGY DEFINED
A food allergy is an immune system reaction triggered by eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount may cause a reaction. The body mistakenly identifies the offending food as a hazardous substance and starts to attack. Allergic reactions can be made up of many symptoms including itchy mouth, runny nose, coughing, hives, stomach discomfort, difficulty breathing, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and more. A reaction can be life-threatening, also known as anaphylaxis.
FOOD ALLERGY FACT
- 15 million Americans have food allergies. This includes 5.9 million children (1 in 13). –FARE
- About 2.5 million Canadians suffer from food allergies, or about 7.5 percent of the population. –The Globe and Mail
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the daily survival with food allergies. There’s safe meals and snacks to prepare (most likely from scratch or while scratching your head at the grocery store trying to figure out what is allergen safe!) and there’s events to prepare for.
But there’s more we can do to help those with food allergies when we look at the bigger picture. We can spread awareness amongst our friends and community. When non-allergy folks understand that food allergies play a role in everything you do, you get empathy. And with that you get support.
SUPPORT AND EDUCATE
Sometimes we think others don’t care (and some don’t), but often times, people just can’t remember all the nuances that come along with being allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, gluten, soy, seafood, etc. It’s our job as food allergy families to teach them. We need to help raise awareness.
During this month of May and Food Allergy Awareness Week, there is a lot we can do to raise awareness.
Let’s empower and educate our community on what food allergies are, the symptoms of an allergic reaction, and the seriousness of life threatening potential allergic reactions.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
During Food Allergy Action Week, make an effort to do some of the following.
- Print out some Food Allergy Awareness Posters and put them up in libraries, cafes, schools, etc.
- Join a support group online on Facebook or locally in your community. It helps parents to know other like-minded individuals and it helps kids know that they are not the only one with a food allergy.
- Wear food allergy awareness shirts to support your allergic child or self.
- Give a school presentation to educate children on what food allergies are and how to keep their food allergic classmates safe.
- Give your school teacher alternative ways to make class events allergy safe yet still fun.
- Read a Food Allergy Book for story time at school, the library, or at home.
- Ask your school if they have undesignated stock epinephrine in the school toolkit. If not, advocate for it.
- Join a food allergy walk or support one with a donation.
- Request a state proclamation from your state governor to formally recognize Food Allergy Awareness Week.
- Make a donation to Food Allergy Research and Education.
Support your child.
Empower the food allergy community to spread food allergy awareness and help put a spot light on anaphylaxis.
What will you do for Food Allergy Awareness Week? Share in the comments!
Read more on How to support our allergic kids.
VIDEO – FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS
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