At a recent Board of Commissioners’ meeting, Cobb County, GA proclaimed Food Allergy Awareness Week during the week of May 11 – May 17, 2104.
The purpose of Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) is to build awareness about food allergies and the dangers of anaphylaxis. FAAW is designed to teach families and citizens about food allergy management and the importance of carrying two auto-injector epinephrine devices at all times.
Food allergies, which can be life threatening and are increasing in prevalence, affect approximately 15 million Americans including six million children. Recent research shows 1 in every 13 children in the United States has a food allergy – approximately 2 children in every classroom.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can be caused by insect bites/stings, foods, latex and medications. Onset of anaphylaxis is rapid and may cause death. Anaphylaxis includes a wide range of signs and symptoms that can occur alone, or in combination, after exposure to an allergen. Symptoms can include throat and mouth swelling, sneezing, rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, coughing, anxiety and low blood pressure. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can result in death within minutes.
Anaphylaxis requires immediate medical treatment, including an injection of epinephrine and treatment in an emergency room. However, not all individuals know of the need to have an epinephrine injector or know how to use one in an emergency – particularly in schools.
“We encourage school administration to schedule a free in-service presentation for their staff and for all citizens who have been diagnosed with a food allergy to always carry their life-saving medication with them at all times,” states Karen Harris, Founder of Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta and VP for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team, in a news release. “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Cobb County School Nurses for their dedication and continued support in keeping students with food allergies safe while at school.”
Cobb County Chairman, Tim Lee, announced during the presentation that he also has a child with food allergies and asthma and encourages all citizens in Cobb County to become more educated about food allergies and anaphylaxis.
Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta supports families who manage food allergies, educates those who care for our children, and helps to create a safe environment in the local area for food allergic individuals. Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta offers local meetings, trainings and events for Atlanta and Georgia communities.