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Join us at the Atlanta Food Allergy Walk on October 2 at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody, GA

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 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.

Atlanta’s 2010 honorary chairs include:

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.

You can also currently nominate a child to be FAAN’s 2011 National Child Ambassador. Each $10 vote for your child is a donation to FAAN.

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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Peanut free snack ideas for the classroom

My daughter’s birthday is this Friday and I called her daycare and asked about bringing in a treat to celebrate. I was warned that there is a child with a peanut allergy, so no cake or cupcakes were allowed. I was shocked that bakery items even had trace amounts of peanuts but found through research it’s because they are made in a place where other peanut items are also made. This little known fact opened my eyes as I launched an internet search for peanut-free snack ideas for my daughter’s birthday celebration.

Here is a great article for all of us not familiar with peanut allergies and how many foods we don’t even realize have trace amounts of nuts:

If Your Child DOESN’T Have Allergies: Read This!

Food Allergies at School

Here is a list of snack ideas from a school. I can’t imagine what schools are going through now that allergies are at an all-time high.

Peanut free snack suggestions:

My favorite site to check for snacks is Snack Safely, a list of peanut, tree nut and egg free snacks. As always, read the labels and call the company if you have any questions. When in doubt, go without.

I think I have decided on Kroger brand ice cream sandwiches. But I still need to check the label for that specific package as even different factories have different products being made there and could possibly have peanut items.

Wow. I am thankful that so far my kids don’t have a peanut allergy.

So next time you look to buy vanilla ice cream for a party with kids with allergies present, think again. Nuts are found a lot in many ice cream flavors so even the nut free flavors could contain it. Check the label!

UPDATE***3/12/09***Well I have just updated this post and ironically, since this post I have discovered that my now 2 1/2 year old daughter has a peanut and egg allergy.  Be careful out there! Kroger carries Blue Bell chocolate and vanilla ice cream singles that are safe also and a good idea for the classroom. Easy to transport and serve, safe for all the kids. Good luck! My favorite site to check for snacks is Snack Safely, a list of peanut, tree nut and egg free snacks. As always, read the labels and call the company if you have any questions. When in doubt, go without.