Food allergies are getting more and more of the public's attention these days. That's good news for those of us who suffer, but it's also bad news because the community of families facing the silent disease has grown immensely over the last few years. According to FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education):
· Approximately 1 in 13 children are living with a food allergy, that's roughly two in every classroom
· As many as 15 million people are living with the daily, life-threatening effects of a food allergy
· The prevalence of peanut allergy among children seems to have tripled between 1997 and 2008
· In the U.S., food allergies send someone to the emergency room every three minutes - every six minutes for anaphylaxis
This week, FARE supports those who deal with food allergies on a daily basis (my two children and I are among them) by celebrating Food Allergy Awareness Week. Our goal is to ensure the safety and inclusion of individuals with food allergies while relentlessly seeking a cure. By educating the world about food allergies, we hope to make it safer for everyone. Here are a few ways you can help:
· Abide by school/venue/parental policies regarding food allergies. It may seem annoying, but the officials and parents involved went through painstaking planning to find the best solution for everyone. I can tell you, not many moms want to be the "peanut mom."
· Educate yourself about food allergies. The more you know, the more understanding you will be when issues arise. This is especially important for people who are around children, such as caregivers, grandparents, etc. Even if someone has not been diagnosed with a severe food allergy, it only takes once for an anaphylactic reaction to turn deadly. Peanuts and the other typical allergens you hear about may constitute most allergies, but any food can trigger an allergy. You can find more information here:http://www.foodallergy.org/about-food-allergies
· Watch out for bullying and explain to your children why food allergies are so dangerous. Food allergy bullying is a real phenomenon. Not only is it deadly, but it has a significant social and emotional impact for food allergic children. See our featured video and press release on the subject here: www.foodallergy.org/its-not-a-joke
· When you can, include us. We know it's impossible sometimes and you are scared that you may accidentally hurt us. But ask us what's safe for us and our children. Let us provide something safe for the group! We understand that we can't always be included, but having someone care enough to ask means the world to us.
· Support families dealing with Food Allergies by joining our FARE Walk. You can find more information about a FARE Walk in your area here: http://www.foodallergy.org/regional-offices
My two who face food allergies, together :)