food allergy awareness

Today is the first day of Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 9-15, 2010. Food Allergy Awareness Week was started in 1997 by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). It is now officially recognized by twenty-seven states, as well by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As someone with a severe food allergy, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. Over 12 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a food allergy and the prevalence continues to increase. Ninety percent of these food allergies are due to eight major allergens: eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.

Food allergies can be life-threatening, but there is currently no way to prevent allergies, nor is there a cure. The only way to manage an allergy is by strict avoidance of the allergen. In acknowledgement of this, the Food Allergy Initiative encourages people to give up a favorite food for Food Allergy Awareness Week.

The theme this year is Respect Every Bite, because even trace amounts of an allergen can elicit a reaction. Food allergies are a daily threat that have to be taken seriously.

For more information on food allergies, please visit: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000817.htm

For more information on this year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, visit: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2010/Pages/FAAW10.aspx

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