What are Food Allergies?
The latest epidemiologic surveys indicate that the percentage of Americans suffering from food allergies has gone up to four percent. This number indicates that food allergies have much greater prevalence than previously believed. The studies also showed an increase of 100% in the number of children under the age of 5 who were diagnosed with peanut allergy.
Allergic food hypersensitivity is the adverse immunological reaction triggered when the body mistakenly identifies a food component as a hazardous substance and therefore attacks it. The food constituents that incite such adverse immunological reactions from the body are termed as allergens.
The effects of food allergies may appear on the skin, in the respiratory passage, or in the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms of food allergies may vary from mild to severe.
A Few Of The Minor Symptoms Are Listed Below:
Serious Symptoms Include, But Are Not Limited To:
- Obstructive inflammation of the tongue and respiratory tract
- Panting and wheezing
- Lack of oxygen, leading to blue lips
- Drop in pulse rate
In extreme cases allergies can even lead to Anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.
What Causes Food Allergies?
Food allergies are caused by the excessive production of immunoglobulin E, abbreviated as IgE. IgE is an antibody, produced by white blood cells, which attacks the allergens by discharging histamine from mast cells, thus eliciting allergic symptoms.
Genes play a very important role when it comes to food allergies. The tendency of an individual to exhibit an allergic reaction towards food is hereditary. Most people with food allergies belong to families with allergy problems.
The most prevalent food allergic reactions can be attributed to the following food items:
There are many methods to treat or to control food allergies. Hence, it is very important to create awareness about the condition in general and the techniques to control it in particular. In order to create that awareness, the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) has organized the Food Allergy Action Month.
What is Food Allergy Action Month?
The Food Allergy Awareness Week has been celebrated annually since 1998. However, in 2015the month of May has been declared as the Food Allergy Action Month by FARE as an effort to raise awareness about food allergies at a global level. The aim is to educate the community about food allergies and to motivate people to take action in support of those who suffer from food allergies.
The Role of FARE During the Event is:
- Promotion and organization of the activities for Food Allergy Action Month
- Provision of requisite resources so as to make the event successful
- Selection of a theme and a corresponding motto for the event. The motto of the event this year is “You can S.A.V.E. the Day.” (Support, Ask, Vow, Earn)
Purpose of Food Allergy Action Month
Food Allergy Action Month is celebrated in order to achieve the following goals:
- To aid those who suffer from food allergies
- To create awareness among the general public about food allergies
- To reduce the number of deaths caused by food allergies
- To encourage people to understand the suffering of the 15 million US nationals who have some level of food allergy
- To raise awareness among the population in order to reduce the bullying of food-allergic people
- To educate patients about the indications and symptoms of food allergies and the proper way to deal with them
- To provide basic training to the families and friends of those who suffer from food allergies so that first aid can readily be provided
- To raise donations for the funding of Food Allergy Action Month activities as well as research on food allergies
What can you do During This Month?
There are various ways to celebrate Food Allergy Action Month. FARE has come up with a wonderful calendar of events which lists related activities that you can do every day for the month of May as you celebrate Food Allergy Action Month. Here are some of the activities you can be involved in:
- Effective utilization of social media by prompting your friends and other acquaintances to become an active part of Food Allergy Action Month
- Raising awareness regarding Food Allergy Action Month by conducting a FARE Walk in your neighborhood
- Collaborating with local sports teams, youth groups, clubs, etc. to publicize the be a Pal program. This initiative is intended to educate children about being good friends with their classmates or playmates who are suffering from food allergies.
- Using the local media channels effectively to spread the word about Food Allergy Action Month
- Conducting an activity at the school level in which children traverse through the FARE Activity calendar for the month of May and chart their progress
- Involving school children in the Be Pal activity program
- Setting up a school fund raising event
- Using class and school bulletin boards to highlight key issues associated with food allergies
- Holding a FARE fair to raise funds at your school or workplace
- Office workers may choose to donate their pay for 1 day to the cause
- Having a bake sale, allowing people to enjoy delicious food while raising awareness and securing funds for Food Allergy Action Month
Food allergies have adverse effects on those who suffer from it. Despite 15 million foods allergic Americans, people in general are not familiar with the proper course of action to take when someone has as allergic attack. The basic purpose of celebrating this month is to educate the people and to train them in order to deal with food allergy emergencies.