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Is Your Family Affected By Food Allergies?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 23, 2009

Is Your Family Affected By Food Allergies?

Do you have children that suffer with food allergies?  It seems like food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent.  Why is that?  My personal opinion, is that it has something to do with how germ and bacteria free we’ve become as a society.

Last week was food allergy awareness week, so I thought I would use this post to look at food allergies and how some parents are coping.

What are food allergies?  From The Mayo Clinic

Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Food allergy affects an estimated 6 to 8 percent of children under age 3, and about 4 percent of adults. While there’s no cure, some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older.

Here is an informative video on food allergies

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Announces New Food Initiative Advocacy Committee

WASHINGTON, DC, May 14, 2009 – Today, as we continue to mark Food Allergy Awareness Week, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., member of the Board of Directors of the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI), announced the formation of FAI’s Advocacy Steering Committee. The committee’s objectives are to help build a strong nationwide presence for the food allergy community in the public policy arena; and to actively seek to increase federal funding of food allergy research, as scientists believe that with proper funding, a cure can be found in less than a decade.

The new steering committee comprises 16 leading parent advocates nationwide who confront the daily dangers of raising children with severe food allergies.

There is a lot of discussion about how schools are dealing with food allergies

From No Whey, MamaA Food Allergy is a Food Allergy

I don’t mean to get all Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, and I certainly am not trying to get into a “my child’s allergy is more severe than yours” discussion. It’s inappropriate, and it doesn’t matter. The school system should treat all food allergies as if they equally severe. It’s just safer that way. Besides, you never know which reaction is going to be the anaphylactic one, so it’s best just to avoid reactions altogether.

From Pink Preppy Party Girl:  Child Food Allergy Etiquette

My children go to a “Nut Free” school which has changed to a “Nut Aware” school since the school cannot guarantee that it is “nut free”. So, more or less, no peanut butter sandwiches allowed–no vital protein (that doesn’t spoil) at lunch. There have been stories about lunch ladies taking Skittles away from children because they are made in factory that also makes M&M’s. We call the lunch ladies Peanut Nazis because they embarrassed and humiliate the children who bring in the Skittles too.

How does your school deal with food allergies?  Are they doing enough?  Could they be doing more?

As with everything in life, sometimes bad things can lead to something good…

How A Debilitating Food Allergy Led To Launching A Baking Company

Beth George’s story touched me and I think you will feel inspired too. Beth was unwilling to accept the host of diagnoses and psychotropic drugs doctors recommended to deal with her son’s unpredictable behavior. Instead, she was determined to figure out the cause. After years of struggling, she discovered that her son was allergic to a common wheat and certain artificial food additives. Once she removed these ingredients from her son’s diet, miraculously his symptoms disappeared. This inspired her to start a baking company, Spelt Right® Baking, that only uses organic, all natural materials with no artificial ingredients of any kind in their products.

Research

From The Nut-Free Mom BlogFood Allergy Awareness Week Research News

I just received a press release from FAAN that made me smile! The organization has donated 1.1 million to food allergy research, including peanut allergy therapies and vaccines. I have high hopes for vaccines–more so than I do for immunotherapy studies like the small one just published from Duke University. This study has received a lot of media buzz but is still in its very early and experimental stages and has caused severe allergic reactions in human subjects. In fact, this experimental therapy isn’t currently recommended for those who have high IgE levels (that is, patients whose blood tests indicate they are at high risk of anaphylaxis) or who have ever had a severe reaction to peanut or tree nut. That leaves many of us out! Now, if this therapy has helped you personally, great. I’m just saying that for many it’s not even an option. That doesn’t sound like a “cure” to me.

Also See:

From Food Allergy Buzz:  Food Alergy Grocery Shopping

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis NetworkSee the Food Allergy Quick Reference at

Food Allergy Initiative

What are your experiences with food allergies?  Do you have advice for other parents?  Let us know in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan.com and Women4Hope

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