Food allergies are increasing in the U.S. and now affect more than 15 million children and adults. Potentially lasting a lifetime, food allergies can be very serious conditions. During the week of May 11-17th the nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education group (FARE) will be raising awareness of living with food allergies. This special week will feature numerous community projects and social outreaches to share information about food allergies, as well as different online events where Internet users can get involved and show their support.
This year, FARE announced more exciting news: their official Food Allergy Awareness Week is being expanded to include all of May as Food Allergy Awareness Month.
What’s It like Living with a Food Allergy?
There are many different food allergies, and people may have an allergic reaction to just about any type of food, but there are eight common foods that make up the vast majority of reactions:
- Tree nuts
The intensity of an allergic reaction to food can range from very mild, including stomach discomfort, bloating and rash, to very severe, including anaphylaxis and death. For a person living with a food allergy, constant vigilance and avoidance of the allergen is the only remedy. There is no cure for food allergies, although groundbreaking research and studies are finding innovative ways to treat symptoms and prevent future allergies from developing.
In a society as interwoven as our own, the care and treatment of food allergies must come from the community as a whole. Accomplishing this requires the compassionate understanding of family members, restaurant owners, school administrations and government officials. The Food Allergy Awareness Month aims to help educate not only the people who personally suffer from one or more allergies, but also their support network, friends, family and co-workers, allowing for the greatest chance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
You and your family can get involved to help spread food allergy awareness during this month in a number of fun and easy ways. When it comes to food allergies, knowledge is true power. With social media outlets like Facebook and Pinterest, information can be shared easily and effectively, without added pressure to the recipients of the information to spend extra time or money. There are also pre-designed press releases available online to encourage efficient social media outreach.
If you are a business owner, you can provide a donation jar or pledge to donate a portion of proceeds to non-profits focused on allergy awareness and care. Similarly, schools can organize fundraisers, host events, and put up fliers designed to educate students and teachers about the dangers of allergen exposure at school.
To take part in the first official Food Allergy Awareness Month, you can also check out FARE’s “Food Allergy Action Month Calendar,” which features one small action that individuals can do each day to promote food allergy awareness.
Food Allergy Awareness Events
There are also different events hosted this month in communities across the nation to spread awareness about the dangers of food allergies. One of the largest is the FARE Walk for Food Allergies, an organized walk where both individuals and teams come together to raise funds and awareness by taking to the streets as a unified community. There are 65 different walks planned in the U.S., and there is a wealth of support for those wanting to organize a walk/run in their community where one is not yet organized.
Other Food Allergy Awareness Week events include:
- – CBS morning program’s “Recipe Rehab” is airing a special episode on food allergies.
- – Over the Edge is an exciting event where participants rappel down ropes hanging from tall skyscrapers in their respective cities, with a donation to the FARE cause.
- – #TealTakeover is an event launched by FARE for the first time this year where businesses and communities alike can deck out in the color teal, the official color of food allergy awareness.
There are also many local luncheons, galas, golf tournaments and other events that you may attend featuring guest speakers and informative presentations. Check with your local newspaper, community bulletin or public official to see where and when these events are occurring in your community. Of course, if you or your family feel inclined, you may want to organize a food allergy awareness event of your own. If so, let us know by commenting on our Facebook wall or send us a tweet and we’ll be sure to share!