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The holiday season is a joyful time of year, especially for children eagerly anticipating special treats like sweets and toys. For parents of children with food allergies, however, it can also be an anxious time. Those same treats that kids look forward to can be life-threatening dangers to children with food allergies. The threat may seem obscure to some who don’t have kids with food allergies. In fact, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), food allergies affect 6 million children in the U.S., a full 8 percent of the population. This means that food allergies should be on everyone’s mind when preparing food for holiday gatherings. With proper preparation and raised awareness, the holidays can be less worrisome for parents and safer for children.
Birthday parties can often be tough for children with diabetes because they usually mean saying no to treats that everyone else is enjoying. However, parties don’t have to be a drag for these kids. Organizing a party that is diabetic-friendly and allergy-safe is simple.
Begin by organizing your successful party with the invitations. Make a note on the card to parents to please let you know if their child has any allergies or is diabetic. This removes any stress a parent might feel about asking for special attention for their child. Being aware of allergies and diabetes requirements ahead of time also makes your planning easier.
If you or your child has food allergies, you know how difficult it is avoiding allergens while eating out. In recent years, awareness in restaurants and employee training has been improving, but dining out will always remain nerve-wracking for those with food allergies. With careful planning, however, it is possible to truly enjoy a meal at a restaurant.
Increasing your safety while dining out begins at home. The first step is to know what menu items to avoid. Do research to find out where hidden ingredients lurk. It isn’t obvious, for example, that Caesar dressing includes anchovies or that licorice candy contains wheat. A restaurant employee with the best intentions may inadvertently serve a food containing an allergen. This is why it is important for you to be well informed about foods that may cause an allergy for you or your child.
With the summer comes wonderful outdoor treats: picnics, barbecues, camping, bike rides, trips to the beach, and more. Unfortunately, the summer also brings with it some not so wonderful things: stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants to name the most common. For most people, an insect sting means only an annoying stinging sensation accompanied by mild swelling. For some, however, insect venom can cause potentially fatal anaphylaxis. Severe symptoms include nausea, facial swelling, breathing difficulty, abdominal pain, and a drop in blood pressure and circulation.
Mild symptoms can be taken care of relatively easily. The following steps are usually sufficient treatment for mild reactions: move to a insect-free area; remove the stinger; apply a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel; apply hydro-cortisone cream, calamine lotion, or a baking soda paste; and take an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine.
Food Allergy Awareness Week is observed from May 8 to May 14. This annual observance was initiated in 1997 by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), an organization that advocates on behalf of patients and families. The goal for the week is to educate the public on this potentially life-threatening condition.
A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to eating a particular food. The symptoms of a food allergy range from hives to digestive problems to potentially life-threatening swelling of airways and a drop in blood pressure. The medical term for this condition is anaphylaxis.
Milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish are the most common foods that cause allergic reactions in the American population. According to the Mayo Clinic, 6 to 8 percent of children under 5, and 3 to 4 percent of adults live with food allergies.