Food Allergy Awareness Week

By: Katie Burns Date: 5/15/2013

Food Allergy Awareness Week- Raising Awareness of a Potentially Life-Threatening Health Condition

Did you know that it is Food Allergy Awareness Week?  This year, FAAW takes on a whole new, more personal meaning.  I was recently diagnosed with a food allergy. One evening, as I was eating some mixed nuts, my left eye swelled-I quickly took an anti-histamine to manage the symptoms.   The next day, I spoke with a registered dietitian who urged me to go see an allergist and get tested for food allergies.  Boy-am I glad I did!  After a series of tests, my allergist confirmed my food allergy.  I am now equipped with an Epi-pen, which I carry with me at all times. 

Food Allergy Awareness Week was established in 1998 with the goal of educating others and raising awareness of food allergies, a potentially life-threatening health condition. A food allergy occurs when the body's immune system perceives a food protein as a threat and attacks it, releasing chemicals such as histamine, which trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.  These symptoms can include hives, coughing, sneezing or more severe ones such as swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, shortness of breath, drop in blood pressure or even loss of consciousness. A more complete list of symptoms can be found here: http://www.foodallergy.org/symptoms, and you can find even more information and resources on food allergies on our Food Allergy Resource Page. 

If you think you or a loved one may have an allergy, it's important to visit a certified allergist to get an accurate diagnosis and establish a Food Allergy Action Plan.  Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) provides a great amount of information and a number of tips to help you and your loved ones properly manage food allergies both at and away from home: Managing Food Allergies.... 

Fast Facts about Food Allergies:

  • Food allergies can begin at any age and affect children and adults of all races and ethnicity. Learn more: www.foodallergy.org
  • 1 in every 13 children has a food allergy. That's two in every classroom.
  • Every 3 min, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the ER - that's more than 200,000 visits per year.
  • There was an 18% increase in food allergy from 1997-2007. Learn more about research on new therapies: www.foodallergy.org/research
  • 8 foods account for 90% of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish www.foodallergy.org/allergens 
     

If you're interested in getting involved in, learning more about and raising awareness of food allergies, check out the Food Allergy Awareness Week Activities:

All week long-View and share the PSA "It's Not a Joke" to raise awareness of the seriousness of food allergy bullying.

Wednesday-Post the FAAW poster and Instagram it with the tags #FoodAllergyWk and @FoodAllergy.

Thursday-Join the Twitter chat at 7pm EST.

What will you be doing during Food Allergy Awareness Week?