Category Archives: Food allergies

Food allergies, an emerging epidemic to be featured in Discovery Channel documentary

Avoiding certain foods to stay alive may sound extreme to some, but it has become a way of life for us.When my daughter was first diagnosed with food allergies and anaphylaxis near the age of two, she became a grown up.  Learning to tell others what she can’t eat, the foods to avoid, reading labels and understanding the importance of a lifesaving epipen, all seem way too much for a child to have to handle.  But we’ve handled managing food allergies for six years. This way of life is growing to become the norm for many families and individuals.

Set your DVR or watch The Discovery Channel’s new documentary: “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America” on Saturday, September 7 or September 21 at 8 a.m. ET/PT and learn how a growing rate of individuals, especially children, are managing food allergies and research advances underway.

Here is a sneak peek: 

An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America preview from Discovery Channel CME on Vimeo.

Food Allergy and Research Education (FARE) worked with the Discovery Channel to produce the hour-long documentary, which is narrated by actor Steve Carell and features individuals managing food allergies, leading food allergy experts and highlights research progress for treatments.

Food allergies affect everyone

Without a known reason for cause or a cure, food allergies have changed the way we all live.  It has spurned research and changes in regulation, policy and operations across industries and settings. Among the many include the food, restaurant, and hospitality industries; and school settings to keep food allergic individuals protected and safe.

Every one of 13 children, about two kids in every classroom, is allergic to any of the common eight allergens: nuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, eggs, and soy, according to FARE. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in May 2013 citing a rise with food and skin allergies among children. Between 1997 and 1999, food allergies affected about 3.4 percent of American children. By 2009 to 2011, that number rose to 5.1 percent.

Chances are you know someone who has a food allergy and that social circle of food allergic friends continues to grow through childhood, and even adulthood. Now it seems more of my friends are facing adult onset food allergies. But, it’s still a journey to get others to understand managing food allergies and taking food avoidance practices seriously. Tune in and join me on this journey to better understand how food allergies affect all of us. Stop an #EmergingEpidemic.

A tribute to Allergy Mamas this Mother’s Day

“Mama, why do I have allergies?” That’s a question most of us allergy mamas will hear at some point as little ones grow and learn how to manage multiple types of allergies, especially food allergies. It is not an easy question to answer, particularly when the question is posed during events with nut-threatening cupcakes or crab claw cracking summer cookouts.  As an allergy mama, you are given special gifts to help ease anxiety, carry special treats and create a sense of connection during times when your child could feel isolated. Many could argue that is the gift of any mama. But being an allergy mama is the dairy-free icing on a nut-free cake.
On this Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of the gift of motherhood and want to take a moment to give special thanks to all of the allergy mamas and supporters who seek understanding the complex answers to one simple question, “Why do I have allergies?” Many of you are on a mission to find answers on how to best protect those you love, just like me – with an epi-pen in one hand and a phone in the other hand with doctors, caregivers and schools on speed dial.
As I reflect on a food allergy conference hosted by FAAN I recently attended a few weeks ago, it was clear that mothers are the conduit to create change and understanding. Now, there were many papas there too who are doing great work, but more on them around Father’s Day or future posts. I met many mothers, including a few Twitter followers, who shared personal experiences and have gone through great steps to get schools, caregivers, friends and relatives to understand and manage their children’s food allergies and other related conditions. One mother even paid for her child’s preschool teachers to attend the conference.  Allergy mamas have to truly go the extra mile to protect their children and educate others.
While I’ve been fortunate to work closely in partnership with my daughter’s school in managing her nasal allergies, food allergies and asthma, I know it’s not that easy as we unfortunately witnessed at Edgewater Elementary School in Volusia County, Florida. There are many other hurdles I understand you face while managing allergies in your children, including those that are life threatening.  It’s only appropriate that Food Allergy Awareness Week starts on Mother’s Day, May 8, through May 14. I’ll be on a mission to help increase understanding this week, but I hope you’ll join me on this lifelong journey by following The Allergy Mamas blog.
Through my experience and the shared experiences of others, I hope you’ll gain further insight and support our work to help businesses, communities and schools understand multiple allergies and related conditions.  There are many mamas on this journey, but I hope all mamas and mother figures take a moment to rest today and celebrate the impact you make in the lives of others.   
Happy Mother’s Day!
-Tia Howard,