As a mother of a child with severe peanut and tree nut allergy, I know the importance of reading every label and researching & calling a food manufacturer if there is no “may contain” statement. This statement is not mandatory in the US, so if it does not say “may contain” on the label, the food item could still have a danger of cross contamination.
I ask every restaurant about what is in the food and cross contamination dangers in the kitchen for every meal.
I show friends, family and caregivers how to use epinephrine in case of a food allergy reaction and leave it with them every time.
The only prevention is total avoidance of the allergen and there is no room for error when it comes to protecting those that we love.
Many families do not carry epinephrine even though their family members have known food and/or insect allergies.
Many people do not know that they need to carry two epinephrine pens in case of a reaction that lasts longer than the time it takes to get to an ER at the hospital.
Here are some valuable resources from FAACT.
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team Supports Food Allergy Awareness Week
Life-threatening food allergies affect more than 15 million Americans, including 6 million children
West Chester, OH – The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) encourages citizens across the nation to get involved with Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 11- 17. Simply learning a few “FAACTs” about food allergies and sharing them with family, friends, and caregivers could save a life.
Food allergies affect as many as 15 million Americans, including almost 6 million children. Food allergies can be life threatening – and are on the rise. The prevalence of food allergies appears to be increasing among children under the age of 18. A May 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that “between 1997 and 1999, food allergies affected about 3.4 percent of American children. By 2009 to 2011, that number rose to 5.1 percent – an increase of 50 percent in just over a decade.” That is two students in every classroom across America – and there is no cure for food allergies. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid trigger foods.
That’s why it is so important for every member of the community to know what food allergies are and recognize a potentially life-threating reaction called anaphylaxis. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team is committed to raising awareness about food allergies and anaphylaxis in schools, restaurants, hotels, catering venues, amusement parks, and local communities across the country. To assist educators and advocates during this year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, FAACT has shipped free resources to families and schools across the country, including:
Over 65,000 free educational bookmarks
25,000 FAACT brochures
FAACT flyers, magnets, and food allergy booklets
In addition, a food allergy Education Resource Center for schools and families is available on the FAACT Web site.
“Our goal for Food Allergy Awareness Week is to encourage all citizens to recognize the value and importance of food allergy management, anaphylaxis prevention, and awareness,” stated Eleanor Garrow-Holding, President and CEO of FAACT. “Families and schools are important partners in this effort. We urge everyone to get involved and work together in their communities to create safer environments for individuals with food allergies.”
This starts with a visit to FAACT’s Web site and free education resource center. Ways to get involved include:
Downloading free educational materials and sharing them with school staff and family members
Contacting FAACT to learn more on how to obtain stock epinephrine for your school
Becoming a better advocate by educating yourself about food allergies and anaphylaxis
Sharing FAACT’s information in local communities
About The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT)
FAACT’s mission is to educate, advocate, and raise awareness for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis. FAACT is also your voice for food allergy awareness, from keeping children safe at school to dealing with workplace issues or simply taking the family out for a bite to eat. Managing a food allergy on a daily basis involves constant vigilance. FAACT is here to support you in managing your food allergies – today, tomorrow, and into the future. For more information, please visit us at www.FoodAllergyAwareness.org or call (513) 342-1293, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team
Food allergy statistics from FAACT
The American Academy of Pediatrics, “Management of Food Allergy in the School Setting”
The American Academy of Pediatrics, “The Prevalence, Severity, and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States”
Eleanor Garrow-Holding, FAACT’s President and CEO
(815) 276-3015 or Eleanor.Garrow @ FoodAllergyAwareness.org
FAACT is able to consult on news stories and provide medical experts, spokespersons, and subjects while supplying up-to-date information on food allergies and anaphylaxis for your future media needs.
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I spoke with my sister in Charlotte, NC and was surprised to hear that her school system has been strict with food allergies and labeling with what gets brought to school for almost six years. They serve Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches and if you bring in any snacks, it has to have the store label on it. No big deal but it can save a life.
In GA, however, it is an entirely different story. My daughter has an egg and peanut allergy and I was voicing my concerns to my sister over our schools in GA still serving peanut butter and allowing any snack foods (homemade or store bought) to be brought in to classroom parties and for the daily class snack.
And then it hit me. Tonight I saw a peanut commercial for the peanut industry in Georgia. I connected the political and economical connections between the state and the peanut industry and my heart sank. We will never have the same understanding in our schools as long as the peanut industry and lobbyists have a say in this state.
How heartbreaking is it to realize that I have an uphill battle? It’s more than having a peanut free table in the cafeteria. I mean, you still serve peanut butter on the menu so how will you protect a food allergic child from being exposed when kids can wipe it on a chair or table? Who checks to see that their hands are clean? And what about all the classroom parties and daily snacks where parents bring in anything?
I have more regulations with my daughter’s daycare at Primrose School (thankfully) and now I am considering keeping her there for private kindergarten. It is a battle that I hope most parents do not face. It has implications that go far beyond “just keep your kid away from the peanut butter.”
My kindergartener found a handwritten note on the floor of her school bus and put it in her school bag. I found it and opened it up and started reading it. At first, it read like any other note from a girl to another in high school. The bus is shared between HS, middle and elementary school so that made sense.
But as I read it, every parent’s nightmare was listed in the note. Jail time, teen pregnancy, you name it. The question is, now what do we do with it? We are going to turn it into the Principal. Thank goodness my daughter can’t read it, but what if a 3rd or 5th grader read it? Oh the horror. I typed it out into a word document as a reminder as well and I vow to be sure we are active in our child’s life so that this isn’t the path that she takes. I feel that the parents need to know what is going on with these kids and that is the least we can do. I will have nightmares tonight!
What would you do?