5 Things You May Not Know About Food Allergies

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5 Things You May Not Know About Food Allergies

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month and May 14 – 20 is Food Allergy Awareness Week.

Food allergies are on the rise. One in 13 children has a diagnosed food allergy in the U.S., which averages to about two per classroom. While you may not have direct experience with food allergies, it’s likely you know someone who does. This is why awareness and education are so important. 

In honor of this month, and as a food allergy parent to three children with multiple food allergies, I wanted to share some things you may not know about food allergies. Not only to gain a better understanding of what food allergies are but also to give a glimpse into life living with food allergies.

#1: Food Allergies Aren’t the Same as a Sensitivity or Intolerance

Oftentimes, these two conditions get interchanged or mixed up. They are completely different conditions, and it can be dangerous to interchange or assume these are the same if someone has a food allergy.

Food intolerances or sensitivities affect only the GI system. While it can be uncomfortable, it is not life-threatening.

Food allergies on the other hand can affect multiple bodily systems and the allergens cause an immune response. While the GI system can be involved, so can the lungs, throat, skin, brain, heart, and more. Even a trace amount could cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. 

#2: Reactions Are Isolated Events

Oftentimes, people assume that because one reaction was mild, the next one will be as well. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each reaction is an isolated event, meaning what’s happened before cannot and will not predict how another reaction will end up.

We’ve experienced this firsthand, from having a mild reaction once and then anaphylaxis the next time. This is why it’s so important to always have epinephrine on hand with any diagnosed food allergy!

#3: It’s Not Just About Food

One of the most challenging aspects of managing food allergies is that allergens can be found in more than just our food. From personal care products and soaps to art supplies and pet food, these hidden allergens can pose additional threats to those living with food allergies. 

It’s even more difficult because the allergens don’t have to be declared the same as on food labels. 

#4: It’s Not Just Nuts

We often hear a lot about peanuts and tree nuts. While these are in the top nine common allergens which account for most reactions, ANY food can cause an allergic reaction. 

Milk and egg have both caused anaphylaxis reactions in our household. 

It is completely dependent on the individual and their allergens. In addition, many people have allergens outside of the top nine, which can prove even more challenging.

#5: Food Allergies Aren’t a Choice

Food allergies are not a dietary choice or preference. 

No one wishes they could eliminate food allergies more than a food allergy parent and an individual with food allergies. There still isn’t any solid reason for who gets a food allergy and who doesn’t. They can also come and go at any time, even to foods you’ve already eaten safely.

In addition, FARE states, “Approximately 20-25 percent of epinephrine administrations in schools involve individuals whose allergy was unknown at the time of the reaction.”

It can happen to anyone, which is why education and awareness is vital.

How to Support Those with Food Allergies

If you don’t have experience with food allergies, it can be difficult to know how to support someone who does. 

As a food allergy parent, I don’t expect others to be as vigilant as we are but having a better understanding of them and the potential risks can be incredibly supportive to food allergy families. In addition, there are small, easy changes that can mean the world to a person with food allergies.

That’s why I wrote a children’s book about food allergies. To educate and inform those without food allergies and to empower those with food allergies. Not only does this book explain what food allergies are and what lifestyle changes families must make, it also shares tips for including those with food allergies! It’s the perfect addition to any classroom or home or school library to encourage education and awareness. 

About the Author

Hello! I’m Katie. 

I’m the wife to an amazing husband who lets me dream big and the mother to three energetic and creative children who keep us on our toes. 

My love for reading, writing, and creating has allowed me to become a freelance copywriter and marketing support for businesses. More recently my love for storytelling and creating led me to become a children’s author, inspired by my own children and advocating about food allergies.

When not writing, I enjoy baking and adventures with our family.

Connect with me online at www.katiehollcreative.com or on social media at the following links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katiehollcreative/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatieHollCreative


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