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The Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta 4th Annual Allergy Friendly Halloween Event on Saturday, October 19 from 1PM-4PM!

food allergy kids of atlanta halloween partyBring the family & join the fun during the Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta 4th Annual Halloween Party! We’ll celebrate this year with activities being held both indoors & outdoors at The Summit Autism Center in Roswell, GA!

  • Costume Awards (3 PM)
  • Room to room Trick-or-Treating
  • Dancing
  • Games
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Climbing Fun
  • Trace’s Bounce House
  • Basketball
  • Games
  • Fire & Rescue Trucks

RSVP to confirm@fakidsatl.org with number of adults & children attending!  A members only event – Membership is FREE!

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Food Allergy News for September 2012.

food allergyNow that back to school is in full swing, I am thankful that my daughter’s school worked with me to create an allergy action plan to keep her safe. As a food allergy parent, I find that opportunities to educate and advocate about food allergies come daily (and are very much needed). And I am proud of my five year old daughter for the advocate she has become to protect her health and well-being. One of the ways to educate is to stay on top of industry news.

Here is a roundup of the latest food allergy news.

From Kids with Food Allergies – Mylan Specialty L.P. has partnered with, Julie Bowen, star of ABC’s hit show, “Modern Family,” as well as a mom in real life to a young son with life-threatening allergies, to launch a new educational initiative, Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis. The Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge™ is a competition for students (grades 1-12) to write an essay describing an original idea to help make schools more aware of and better prepared for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. Fifteen students will win a $2,000 scholarship. More info is available at http://www.Anaphylaxis101.com/. Deadline for entries is Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

For Atlanta food allergy families, Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta announced its 3rd Annual Allergy Friendly Halloween at Pirates Cove Adventure Golf in Duluth, GA!  Saturday, October 20, 10AM – 12PM! For more information and to RSVP, visit the website.

My favorite resource is Snack Safely for safe snacks. They announced an update for its list. Remember to always, always read the label and if you are not sure, call the manufacturer or avoid the item altogether.

The FAAN Walk for Food Allergy is lined up – ours is coming up in October. Get involved and raise money for this important cause!

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 13 – 19, 2012.

Food Allergy Kids of AtlantaFood Allergy Awareness Week is the week of May 13 – 19, 2012. My daughter was diagnosed at age two with a peanut and egg allergy. She is now five and will be starting kindergarten in the fall.

I am preparing now for keeping her safe at school and that will require meetings with teachers, lunchroom staff, bus drivers and creating a health care plan. I have concerns such as peanuts brought in to the school for Georgia day where they were eaten outside by the playground (the dust is dangerous and can cause anaphylaxis) as well as other concerns such as candygrams given to children and peanut butter used in projects. This is why it is very important to establish a team based approach with your school and to communicate clearly what it is that you want for your child at school and writing it in a plan.

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)

Food Allergies are a potentially life-threatening medical condition that afflict as many as 15 million Americans including almost 6 million children.

Children with food allergies: 1 in 13. That’s two per classroom.

Emergency room visits caused by food-allergic reactions each year: 203,000. That’s one every three minutes.

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.

It is the second anniversary for Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta. Food Allergy 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. I am thankful for this wonderful group of people and their dedication to educating schools and restaurants to help keep our children safe.

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a food allergy, or you think they have symptoms of one, go to an allergist and then find a local community support group. My daughter and I have learned so much from the wonderful families and doctors and you really feel like you are not alone as your learn to navigate in this food-centric world.

Resources:

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta – local nonprofit in Atlanta

Food Allergy Statistics from FAAN, Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

Food Allergies By The Numbers – FAI

Safe@School flyer – FAAN – Presentation for schools about food allergy management and the seriousness in food allergy reactions (up to 25% of first time reactions in children happen in school.) 

Food Allergy Awareness Week – FAAN

Helpful Information and Documents – FAAN

The Balancing Act (video) – Food Allergy Awareness for Parents

Articles

Is Your School Allergy Ready?

Food allergy symptomsIs your school allergy ready? States are in the process of passing epipen bills to stock schools with epipens in case of food allergy or allergy attack. In fact, 25% of allergic reactions happen at school for the first time.

In Georgia, you can schedule a Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta Safe@School presentation, or share the following online resources to help your school prepare for 2012 – Allergy Ready & Allergy Home both offer online courses for school staff.

Allergy Ready – Free, Interactive Online Course on Managing Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis in Schools http://allergyready.com/

Allergy Home – Managing Food Allergies in Schools: What School Staff Needs to Know http://www.allergyhome.org/schools/management-of-food-allergies-in-school-what-school-staff-need-to-know/

Image from Canada Safety Council.

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!

Allergy-Friendly Halloween Carnival on Oct. 23 in Sandy Springs, GA

Halloween, like many holidays, can be a parent’s worst nightmare when it comes to protecting their children with food allergies. The Atlanta nonprofit Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta has teamed up with Sandy Springs Fire Rescue to provide a safe and fun atmosphere for food allergic kids to celebrate Halloween. What a great idea!

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta and the department will offer children games, prizes and crafts, as well as a chance to meet firefighters and see the fire trucks.

The party runs from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 23 at Fire Station #2, 135 Johnson Ferry Road. Organizers ask that no food be brought to the party, noting all children will receive a non-food treat bag.

To register, email with the number of children attending to confirm@fakidsatl.org or by calling 404-512-7983. There are a limited number of spaces, so be sure to get your reservation – the deadline is October 15.

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Food Allergies in Atlanta? You Are No Longer Alone!

My 3 yr old daughter has an egg and peanut allergy. It has been an educational and tough experience in dealing with my daughter’s allergies, keeping her safe, and working with her caretakers and friends and family to make sure she is protected.

I have found some hardships in sharing how to protect her from her allergies with our close friends and family. Most of the time they think I am overreacting or being too paranoid about checking the food to keep her safe.

But they don’t realize the extraneous dangers. They don’t live our days. Birthday parties, Christmas stockings, Easter egg hunts, Halloween parties are all just events that they attend without a thought of danger for their kids. I see danger in every class party, in every holiday event, in every bite of food. Which is why we need to respect every bite.

They don’t see my daughter’s sad face when she is left out of a “food art” project at school or when she can’t eat a birthday cupcake in her class from another student. They don’t see their child’s pain from being left out or perceived as different due to her food allergy.

They don’t panic when traveling and planning meals. They don’t have to locate the hospitals before going places. They don’t overhear their daughter about baking peanut free cookies so they are safe for her and her stuffed animal to eat. And her asking at every meal “does this have nuts or eggs in it?” which is a wise question for someone so young.

There is so much education that we have to share and give to our community. It’s so more than just “not giving our child a peanut butter sandwich” and that is why I am so glad that Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is here.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a food allergy, you are not alone.

Food Allergy 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)

There is no cure for food allergies.”

Food allergies are increasing.

“To successfully manage a food allergy, ones diet and lifestyle must change.”

About 12 million (1 in 25) Americans have a food allergy…children are the largest group affected.”

Peanut allergy in children doubled in a 5-year period from 1997-2002″

Teens account for almost half of food allergy fatalities.  Ages 10 thru 29 account for three quarters.”

Impact is broad:  family, friends, classmates, etc..”

Fear and anxiety are common among parents of children with food allergies. Parents live each day knowing that just one bite of the wrong food could cause a potentially fatal reaction

Together we can…….

Educate, Advocate, and Support

The above information was gathered from the following resources:
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/foods-allergy-intolerance
http://www.foodallergy.org/files/welcomingguests_2010.pdf
http://www.todayinot.com/ce/OT04/CoursePage/

Also, join us for the Food Allergy Walk in Atlanta on October 2. 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 fun festivities after the walk in Dunwoody, GA as well.

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Food Allergies and Back to School

It is almost time for back to school which means shopping for school supplies, backpacks and…epi-pens? What? For those of you with food-allergic children, it is a reminder to review your school food allergy management plan and be sure you are up to date with medicine as well stock up on safe snacks for your child at school.

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is a new non-profit 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.

Kids with Food Allergies is a great resource. There is a back to school checklist and lots of other guides to help you plan for your child’s start of school. Here is a great article on Education.com “Advocating for your Child with Food Allergies at School.”

Another resource: “Back to School: Tips for your Food Allergic Child” from Living Without Magazine. Here is a back to school toolkit from FAAN.

I printed out 8.5 x11 posters and my daycare laminated them and put them in the classrooms.

Nut and peanut allergies – printables: food list to avoid, posters. Egg allergy – printables: foods to avoid

Allergic Reactions Instructions Sheet

Arm yourself with information and help your school or daycare better understand food allergies.

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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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Thoughts from a Food Allergic Child’s Mom in the Peanut State.

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.”