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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.
Our last blog highlighted the importance for people with certain conditions to wear medical alert jewelry. The potentially fatal consequence of not wearing a medical ID signals a need for personal and community-based awareness campaigns. You, as an individual, can play an important part in spreading this important message.
There are a number of ways to approach a campaign to spread awareness of the importance of wearing medical alert jewelry. The first step to any awareness campaign is research and planning. You will have to decide whether to focus on one particular condition--diabetes or epilepsy, for instance--or to focus on the topic of medical ID jewelry in general. Research the condition(s) to make certain you have the facts straight. Statistics on the issue will help communicate your message more effectively.
Medical alert jewelry can be a literal life-saver in an emergency. But, who should wear them? What should be engraved on them? And what are the benefits, precisely?
There is an extensive range of conditions that necessitate wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace. Among the most common conditions are diabetes, food and drug allergies, and epilepsy. Others conditions that need identification are autism, epilepsy, lymphedema, dementia, and hearing and/or sight impairment. Transplant patients and others with implanted medical devices should also wear medical ID jewelry. There are many other diseases, especially rare conditions, for which wearing medical alert jewelry is prescribed.
The engraving on the medical ID jewelry should list the condition the person has; any allergies he or she has to drugs, foods, and/or insect stings; and the names of the drugs that the individual takes. If there is room, the person’s name and an emergency phone number should be listed along with the number of his or her doctor. Additional information should be kept in a wallet ID and/or on a USB flashdrive.
April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, an opportunity to learn more about the disease, to help raise public awareness, and to seek out ways to help the cause. April 11, Parkinson’s Disease Day, is the birthday of James Parkinson, the English doctor who first described the disease in an 1817 essay. The red tulip was adopted as the symbol for Parkinson’s disease (PD) when a Dutch horticulturalist with PD, J.W.S. Van der Wereld, developed a red and white tulip after Dr. James Parkinson.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system most common in people over 50. The disorder is caused by the death of dopamine-containing cells in the brain, though what causes the cells to die is unknown. Movement related symptoms present themselves early in the onset of the disease. Among the most apparent symptoms are shaking, rigidness, slowed movement, and difficulty walking. Cognitive and behavioural problems usually arise as the disease progresses. Dementia often occurs in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease.
Allergies to peanuts are common, especially in children. Love of Easter candy is also common, especially in children. Unfortunately, many types of Easter candy contain peanuts or traces of peanuts that could prove deadly in a severe allergy attack.
Happily, nut-free chocolate bunnies are available. Hershey’s makes many nut-free chocolate bunnies and other chocolate candies. Yummy gummy options are Sour Patch Bunnies, Swedish Fish Eggs, Starburst jelly beans, and Jolly Rancher jelly beans. Peeps are also nut-free.
An additional source of Easter sweets is your own kitchen. Try melting nut-free Baker’s chocolate into bunny, egg, and chick molds. Molds can also be used to make Easter-themed Jell-O shapes. Here, you get the bonus of a fun activity to do with the kids.
Don’t forget that it’s very important to inspect packaging yourself for allergy warnings. Even if there are no warnings, watch your child or loved one carefully while they eat. Those with peanut allergies should always wear some type of medical alert jewelry in case of anaphylactic shock. A medical ID bracelet or medical id necklace can be a true life saver.Despite the pervasiveness of nuts, children with peanut allergies can hop along happily with the rest of the kids, enjoying an Easter candy sugar rush.