This week, from May 13 -19, 2012, is Food Allergy Awareness Week. The purpose of this week is to spread awareness of how serious certain types of food allergies can be. Let’s make the world a little bit safer for people who have food allergies that can result in anaphylaxis and death!
Food Allergy Awareness Week was first created in 1998 by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). Now is the time to educate people about food allergies.
There are many children and adults who cannot simply walk into a restaurant, order something off the menu, and reasonably expect to survive their dinner. People have to put effort into making sure that they avoid the foods that they are severely allergic to in order to avoid anaphylaxis. It has nothing to do with being a “picky eater”.
According to MedlinePlus, anaphylaxis is “a severe, whole-body reaction to a chemical that has become an allergen.” Once a person is exposed to a substance that he or she is extremely allergic to it causes different parts of their body to release histamine. This causes their airways to tighten, making it difficult for the person to breathe. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening and it can happen without warning at any time.
It is entirely possible for people to have a severe food allergy that can result in anaphylaxis to other foods, as well. Personally, I can go into anaphylaxis if I eat even the smallest bit of pine nuts, strawberries, and lettuce (except for iceberg- so far).
Are you interested in helping spread awareness about food allergies? FAAN has plenty of resources on their website that can help you to do that. You can download posters (in two different sizes). They have information you can use to give a presentation about Food Allergy Awareness Week to elementary school students, to teenagers, or to adults in a corporate setting. You can also follow FAAN on Facebook, or on Twitter as @FoodAllergy.
Image by Greg Friese on Flickr