Happy New Year!
Each new year brings the hope of getting things right, of bettering ourselves. When we set new year’s resolutions, we often seek self-improvement, time for personal passions, valuable social interaction, travel and adventure.
For those with food allergies, a key component to all of those resolutions is sticking to good food allergy management practices. There’s nothing you can’t do with food allergies, but you need to make sure you’re safe and prepared when you do it!
Setting small achievable goals will help reset your habits and keep you safe as you pursue your dreams. Here are some food allergy resolutions we ALL should keep this year:
1. Always carry 2 epinephrine auto-injectors. There are many varieties on the market today in all shapes and sizes. Find one that fits your lifestyle and carry it with you everywhere (yes, everywhere). This may take some creativity, but it’s critical because early use of epinephrine is shown to save lives and reduce complication at the hospital.
2. Know the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis (ANA-FIL-AXIS) can be VERY SERIOUS and even fatal. That’s why it’s key to know the signs of a reaction and to know what to do in the first few minutes. The Language of a Food Allergic Reaction outlines both the symptoms as well as how a young child might describe them.
3. Know the labeling laws. Food manufacturers are required to label for the Top 8 allergens – these are responsible for 90% of all allergic reactions. But they are not required to label for cross-contamination or any allergen outside of the Top 8. Are your allergens in that list? What else should you know? The Ins and Outs of Reading Food Labels is critical to help you make safe decisions for yourself and your family.
4. Teach ONE person how (and when!) to use an epinephrine auto-injector. Food allergies are a growing problem. Statistically, 2 kids in every classroom have them. So do 1 in 10 adults. We either know someone with a food allergy or we are allergic ourselves. To protect patients and create food allergy allies, let’s teach one friend or family member (who doesn’t yet know) how to use an auto-injector. Let them use a trainer if you have one – this will empower them should they need to use the real thing in an emergency. Even elementary school kids can recognize symptoms of an allergic reaction and be taught to get an adult or nurse and call 911. It’s easy!
Send us your new year’s resolutions! We love to hear what kinds of wonderful and exciting things you have your sights set on!