The first thing I would like to make everyone aware of is the FAREwell to Food Allergies 5K Run/Walk taking place in Springfield, IL on November 2, 2013 at Washington Park. I have created this event in order to raise awareness and to support my local food allergy community.
To register for the event, please visit http://farewelltofoodallergies.eventbrite.com. Sign up today!
It is widely acknowledged that food allergies are a significant and growing epidemic. Studies show that the number of children living with a peanut allergy has tripled between 1997 and 2008. This awareness and understanding is in large part due to epidemiologists, researchers who focus on the cause and distribution of diseases in human populations. Epidemiologists have concluded that nearly 40 percent of all children diagnosed with food allergies have already experienced a severe or life-threatening reaction. Other studies have disclosed the financial burden and damaging effects of a family’s quality of life due to food allergies. A handful of organizations are advocates for food allergy education, research, diagnoses and treatment, including implementing stricter laws and public policy to create safer environments for individuals with food allergies.
There is not a clear answer as to why the number of individuals who have a food allergy continues to grow. Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. Food allergies are a potentially deadly disease that affect 1 out of 13 children in the United States. That means almost 2 kids in every classroom. Every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the Emergency Room, resulting in more than 200,000 Emergency Room visits a year. Reactions range from mild responses (such as itchy mouth) to potentially fatal anaphylaxis.
Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions in children: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Cross-contamination or trace amounts of the food can cause reactions. The risk factors for children with food allergies vary. Food allergies affect children and adults of all races and ethnicity. Food allergies can begin at any age. The risk of having a food allergy is higher if you have a parent who suffers from any type of allergic disease (asthma, eczema, food allergies, or environmental/seasonal allergies). Kids with food allergies are 3-4 times more likely to have asthma and other allergies compared to those who do not.
Most do not outgrow a peanut, tree nut, fish, or a shellfish allergy. Milk, egg, and soy allergies usually begin in childhood and have the potential to be outgrown. For most children, this happens by the age of 16, according to studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. To date, there is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance as well as early recognition and management of allergic reactions to foods are important safety measures.
All monies raised will be donated to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), one of the biggest advocates for the food allergy community. FARE strives to improve the quality of life for individuals affected by funding research initiatives, clinical trials, new treatments, and education. Many food allergy educators, dieticians, and parental support specialists have made it possible for FARE to provide education and support to individuals dealing with the overwhelming life changes that occur when a child is diagnosed with food allergies. FARE seeks to identify and answer the crucial questions that will enable researchers and doctors to solve the puzzle of food allergies. Without donations and fundraisers, research grants and clinical trials would not be possible.