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Look out for those allergenic foods in May

When: May 13 – 19, 2012

What: Peanut butter and jelly is the quintessential children’s sandwich. The kid’s classic has graced lunchboxes for years, nestled right next to a carton of milk. Since peanut allergy is one of the most common causes of food-related death, that sandwich can pose hidden dangers to those unaware of food allergies. Increase your awareness of food allergies during Food Allergy Awareness Week, observed May 13-19.

Background: In 1998, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) introduced the first Food Allergy Awareness Week as a way to educate people about food allergies. According to FAAN, as many as 15 million people have food allergies. For those who are unaware, food allergies can prove deadly. During this week, education and awareness takes center stage.

Story Pitch: A wide variety of organizations and groups can take advantage of Food Allergy Awareness Week. Pediatricians will want to take time to educate their patients on the dangers of food allergies. Schools and childcare facilities may also use this week to alert parents of possible allergies in schools and centers.  Nontraditional food manufacturers can also encourage awareness and highlight products that can be used instead of those that typically harbor allergies. Meanwhile, retailers of antihistamine drugs can also promote around this event.

Story Hook: Food allergies are a serious problem that often go overlooked.  FAAN reports that allergies and anaphylaxis reactions among young people appear to be on the rise with an 18 percent increase seen between 1997 and 2007. Consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • How can doctors offer education regarding food allergies?
  • What foods are associated with the highest risk?
  • What foods can be substituted for those typically associated with allergies, such as peanut butter?
  • How can parents and guardians take precautions to protect their children from possible reactions?
  • What can people do to raise food allergy awareness in adults?

Tips: An allergist who deals specifically with food allergies can offer great insight into the dangers of food allergies. In addition, parents with children who suffer from food allergies can discuss awareness and precautions.

Resources:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
(414) 272-6071
info(at)aaaai.org
www.aaaai.org

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
(800) 727-8462
info(at)aafa.org
www.aafa.org

Centers for Disease Control
(800) 232-4636
cdcinfo(at)cdc.gov
www.cdc.gov

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network
(800) 929-4040
www.foodallergy.org

–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events

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