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Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 11 – 19, 2014

food allergy awareness weekFood Allergy Awareness Week is designed to inform and educate families, schools, businesses, restaurants and our community about food allergies, safety and training.

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.

Resources:

 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”

Media Contact:

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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Food Allergy Awareness Week – Respect Every Bite

As a mom of a peanut and egg-allergic three year old daughter, I have learned so much about food allergies and the challenges it creates. Through my daughter’s grace, I have learned to accept the things I cannot control and to deal with things one day at a time. She is my sweet little girl and I worry about keeping her protected every day. We are learning together to read the labels, ask questions and be vigilant with food. We carry around an epi-pen and benedryl and it is an accepted accessory now, just like my purse. We talk to her teachers, friends’ parents, caregivers, and anyone else that we cross paths with and make sure they know about her allergies. We ask questions and research restaurants and places before we travel. Every meal is a concern, which is why we must respect every bite..

The most surprising thing I learned was how little the general public was aware of the implications of cross-contamination. A food product might not have peanuts in it but may have been processed in a plant that handles peanuts. That is a big deal for those of us with food allergies. The scary thing is that food manufacturers do not have to have the “may contain” statement so if it is not on the package, you have to call and find out.

My sweet daughter before she was diagnosed with food allergies.

In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, I am including some links to local Atlanta groups, the Atlanta Food Allergy Walk this Fall as well as peanut free snack ideas for the classroom and food allergy associations. Kids with Food Allergies has also announced a Faces of Food Allergies campaign that encourages kids to get involved. Add your picture to the photo gallery and spread the word to educate our schools and the entire community to respect every bite.

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network – sign up for email allergy alerts

Atlanta FAAN Food Allergy Walk 10/2/10

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta – new nonprofit! Yeah!

Yahoo Group Atlanta Families with Food Allergies

Ask About My Peanut Allergy – Bo’s Food List (always read the labels as it may change) Safe snack ideas

Respect Every Bite, Because Every Bite Matters – great post by Smiling Green Mom about Food Allergy Awareness Week, resources

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