Monthly Archives: August 2011

Food Allergy Walk in Atlanta is Set for October 1, 2011

Join us for the Food Allergy Walk in Atlanta on October 1. Money raised will help research food allergies and anaphylaxis of which there is currently no cure. There is also a blog about the walk. There will be lots of free fun family festivities after the walk in Dunwoody, GA as well.

Check-in for the Atlanta walk is at 9 a.m.; the walk begins at 10 a.m. at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. It’s a two-mile walk, and baby strollers and wagons are welcome. A DJ, moonwalk, games, sponsor exhibits, and more will be onsite.

If you can’t participate, you can support a walker (me), give directly to the walk site, or volunteer on Walk Day. Individuals and teams are encouraged to register online. Please note: All walk participants, including children and infants in strollers/wagons, must be registered.

Also, welcome Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta. FA Kids of Atlanta was created to support families who manage food allergies, educate those who care for our children, and create a safer environment in the local area for food allergic individuals.

We are parents of food allergic children and advocates in our community, raising awareness on the importance of food allergy prevention and the seriousness in food allergy reactions.

Food Allergy is an immune system response. It occurs when the body mistakes an ingredient in food — usually a protein — as harmful and creates a defense system (antibodies) to fight it. Food allergy symptoms develop when the antibodies are battling the “invading” food.

Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe, and the amount of food necessary to trigger a reaction varies from person to person and can even be triggered by just a trace amount of an allergy-causing food. Symptoms of a food allergy may include:

Rash or hives
Nausea
Stomach pain
Diarrhea
Itchy skin
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Swelling of the airways to the lungs
Anaphylaxis (a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction)

Over 12 million Americans have food allergies (that’s 1 in 25), and many experts insist that number is increasing. Just as an example: the incidence of a peanut allergy in children doubled in a five-year period (1997-2002).

Food allergies are most common in kids under three, where the occurrence is now one in 17 children. (My child falls into that category.) Food allergies are life-altering for everyone involved — not just the kids (I know this from experience!).

Only eight foods account for 90% of the food-allergic reactions in the United States: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. And for those who may be unaware, even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction; there are no cures for food allergies.

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Traveling with Food Allergies on a Cruise

Our family is planning our annual trip to Walt Disney World in September. We are also excited to be going on the Disney Dream for a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas as part of the trip. While I am looking forward to it, I am also a little anxious as my youngest daughter has food allergies. We have been to WDW before and they are very accommodating. We also have a kitchen and cook many meals in to stay safe and save money. My worry lies in part two of our trip – the cruise.

In advance preparations, I called the Disney Cruise Line and told them of my daughter’s allergies. They noted our record and said there would be a meeting on the first day of the ship with the chef and the dining team. That made me feel a little better. I am still anxious until I speak with the actual Dream cruise staff. I know that we will have the same staff each night for meals and that we will discuss our meals in full detail each time.

I have since been talking to other families with food allergies to find out how their best cruise travel advice with food allergies. I posted a message on the Allergic Living forums and received wonderful advice from Jennifer. I am linking directly to the post as it is detailed and informative. Allergy Mouse has also been in touch with her and they posted her experience on their blog. I will be sure to blog about my experience after our trip as well.

Please share if you also have any travel tips for those with food allergies!