Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) brings attention to food allergies, a growing epidemic worldwide that affects up to 250 million people. But for those of us already living with this condition, FAAW is an excellent time to review important food allergy information, make changes to your food allergy routine and educate yourself on new information to improve your quality of life.
As the melodious Julie Andrews sings in The Sounds of Music, let’s start at the very beginning:
Food allergies are an immune system response to food. The immune system mistakes food for foreign substance and begins mounting an internal attack on it. For someone with a food allergy this results in a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe, to life-threatening.
To review symptoms of a reaction and anaphylaxis as well as how a young child might describe those symptoms, please see below.The Language of a Food Allergic Reaction
There is no cure for food allergies. The most recommended treatment is food avoidance – that is strictly avoiding your allergens. While this sounds simple, food avoidance can be difficult to manage, time consuming, and costly.
For more information on US labeling laws and how to read food labels for allergies, please see below.The Ins and Outs of Reading Food Labels
Some people with food allergies are pursuing a treatment called oral immunotherapy (or OIT). This is one of several treatments that offer “bite protection” for those with food allergies. This means, it would lessen or eliminate a reaction if someone with food allergies accidentally ingested their allergen. OIT and other similar therapies (like sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), epicutaneous immunotherapy (EPIT), etc) offer protection but not a cure.
To learn all about OIT, please read the article below.Food Allergy Treatment: OIT 101
Food allergies are more common among adults than children. Studies show that 1 in 12 children have a food allergy whereas 1 in 10 adults do. Not only do food allergic kids grow to be adults, but adults are acquiring new food allergies in adulthood. These adults suddenly find themselves allergic to food they may have safely eaten their whole lives and navigating that change can be difficult.
To learn more about the impact of adults with food allergies, please see below.The Impact of Adult On-Set Food Allergies
As we move through this week, we’ll explore several ways to make life a little better for you and the 32 million other Americans living with this chronic condition.