If you or your child have a severe food allergy, you know how scary it can be to eat away from home where you have a better chance of knowing if foods are safe. Anaphylaxis is the name of a potentially life-threatening or fatal allergic reaction caused by items including foods, such as nuts, tree nuts and legumes, fish, dairy products, eggs, soy or wheat , or products such as latex—a natural rubber that may cause both reaction upon contact or by consuming “cross-reactive” foods such as bananas, avocados or kiwis (to name a few).
Some people may have more than one food allergy, and those with asthma are more likely to have more severe anaphylactic reactions. Food allergies are on the rise in the United States—one in thirteen children, and a total of fifteen million or nearly five percent of Americans have a food allergy.  Food allergies often develop in childhood, but can onset at any age. In some cases, allergy desensitization treatment, also known as “allergy shots” can help decrease the severity of OR help a person successfully be able to tolerate their allergens (essentially curing their allergy). This is not possible for all individuals with food allergy, but is an option to speak with your doctor about.
For anyone with food allergy, medical ID is important to wear. While people with food allergies must and typically do remain diligent about asking if foods contain their allergens, cross-contamination can occur, causing an unexpected allergic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can be remembered using the acronym FAST: Face (swelling, colour changes from rash or lack of oxygen), Airway (breathing problems, wheezing), Stomach (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache), Total body (rashes/hives, loss of consciousness). Symptoms may vary from person to person. For kids in school—and adults too!—it is important to have an Anaphylaxis Action Plan on hand at school so that it is clear what to do in an emergency: identify symptoms of anaphylaxis, give epinephrine (an auto-injector medicine, like EpiPen, that helps treat anaphylaxis), call 911 immediately, and THEN phone the child’s parents or the adult’s emergency contact. It is important to, if in doubt, give epinephrine and seek treatment—epinephrine may cause minor side effects but is not dangerous if administered in error, but NOT treating a reaction can be fatal. Symptoms usually onset quickly (within a matter of minutes) or hours after exposure to the
Because of the airway component of anaphylaxis, a person experiencing a reaction may not be able to speak to explain what is happening. This is why food allergy medical ID, such as a peanut allergy bracelet or allergy alert medical necklace is so important to ensure that the person gets the right care as quickly as possible. We have a wide variety of medical ID jewelry for food allergy and other medical issues available, and would be honored to keep YOU and your loved ones safe this Food Allergy Awareness Month!