|Annual Food Allergy Awareness Week Observed May 11-17
McLean, Va. (May 12, 2014) – Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to food allergy, is encouraging Americans to recognize food allergy as a serious public health issue and to take action during Food Allergy Awareness Week that will make an impact for those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Earlier this month, FARE announced the expansion of Food Allergy Awareness Week by declaring the entire month of May as Food Allergy Action Month, publishing a calendar with suggestions on how anyone can take an action each day in a meaningful way. Today, in honor of the 15 million Americans affected by food allergies, FARE is publishing “15 Essential Food Allergy Facts.”
Food Allergy Awareness Week, observed this year May 11-17, was created by FARE in 1998 as a way of bringing widespread attention to a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease. So far this year, elected officials in 28 states and the District of Columbia have issued proclamations in honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, and a resolution has been introduced in Congress. FARE is also spreading the word about its #TealTakeover – a coordinated community and social media campaign that encourages individuals, organizations, schools, and businesses to paint their community teal, the official color of food allergy awareness, in order to spark conversation and inspire action.
“Taking action to raise awareness and garner support for a cure is critically important each and every day,” said John L. Lehr, chief executive officer of FARE. “Taking the time to educate yourself about food allergies – even if they don’t personally affect you – can save a life. That is why we want to spread the word this month with our 15 essential facts that will help improve understanding of food allergies.”
Today at 3:30 p.m. ET, FARE will be hosting an “Ask the Experts” Twitter chat featuring Ruchi Gupta, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine's Center for Healthcare Studies, and Wayne Shreffler, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and chief of pediatric allergy and immunology and director of the Food Allergy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. Drs. Gupta and Shreffler will answer questions about food allergies during the chat moderated by FARE staff. Twitter users can participate using #FAREChat.
On Wednesday, FARE will host a webinar featuring Mike Spigler, vice president of education at FARE, who will discuss FARE’s educational programs as well as provide a sneak preview of FARE’s upcoming National Food Allergy Conference on June 21-22 in Chicago. This past weekend, FARE sponsored an episode of the competition cooking show Recipe Rehab, featuring a San Diego family managing food allergies.
Throughout the country, food allergy education efforts have intensified this month. FARE is providing a variety of resources to families, individuals and businesses to participate in Food Allergy Action Month in a meaningful way, including an infographic, free posters, shareable graphics, bookmarks and more – all designed to educate others and help demonstrate the broad impact that have food allergies have across the nation.
Visit FARE’s comprehensive online headquarters at www.foodallergyweek.org for more information on how to get involved.
Here are FARE’s 15 Essential Food Allergy Facts:
- About 15 million Americans have a food allergy.
- A food allergy results when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein as a threat and attacks it.
- The top eight food allergens in the United States are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.
- Even the tiniest amount of an allergen can cause a reaction.
- One in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom, has a food allergy.
- Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of fatal food-induced anaphylaxis.
- The number of children with food allergies is on the rise – the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported a 50 percent increase from 1997 to 2011.
- Scientists have not yet uncovered the cause for the rise in food allergy.
- Food allergy reactions can range from mild to severe. Anaphylaxis, the most severe allergic reaction, is potentially fatal.
- Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room in the United States.
- Epinephrine is the only medication that can reverse the symptoms of anaphylaxis.
- A food allergy is different from a food intolerance. A food allergy involves the immune system and can cause serious reactions, while an intolerance means having trouble digesting a food.
- Food allergies can develop at any age. While many food allergies are outgrown, certain food allergies, such as peanut and tree nut allergy, are typically considered lifelong.
- Caring for children with food allergies costs U.S. families more than $24 billion annually.
- There is no cure for food allergy.