Each May is designated Food Allergy Action Month, an expansion of Food Allergy Awareness Week, which is observed this year May 12-18 and was created by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 1998.
This week-long occasion was created as a way of bringing attention to food allergies, and is now the anchor of FARE’s month-long awareness activities. The prevalence of food allergies in the U.S. is roughly doubling every 10 years. Food Allergy Awareness Week celebrates the more than 32 million Americans managing food allergies. Food Allergy Action Month encourages people to understand the suffering of those who have some level of food allergy and reduce bullying of food-allergic people. It also educates patients about the indications and symptoms of food allergies and the proper way to deal with them by providing basic training to family and friends of those who suffer from food allergies. That way, first aid can be readily provided. Through increased awareness we can promote respect, safety and inclusion and ensure that communities have the tools they need to spread the word about food allergies.
If you would like to become involved in this awareness campaign there are several ways to become involved. Download the FAACT’s Food Allergy Awareness Week Proclamation Kit (PDF). This toolkit provides the resources needed to have your Mayor/Governor proclaim May 12-18, 2019, as Food Allergy Awareness Week in your city and/or state. Visit FAAW Proclamation page for more details. The state of Ohio has already received this proclamation, but neighboring West Virginia has not yet requested proclamation. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) has several suggestions geared towards awareness through the school systems such as “Dress Down Day”. For any public or private school, ask your school principal if the students can wear “teal” during Food Allergy Awareness Week, and each student can donate $1 to help raise awareness for food allergies and anaphylaxis. Another suggestion is to ask your school principal about organizing a walk for awareness, again with a $1 donation. Get your class or entire school to sponsor a “Change for FAACT” coin drive. Ask local restaurants and businesses to place a jar up front with information regarding food allergy awareness and the importance of it. A final suggestion may be to take the campaign to social media…post a blog, start a support group, and encourage others to share. With such sites as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. it is easier than ever to reach a large number of people.
The Meigs County WIC Office serves individuals with food allergies almost on a daily basis, from an infant that has a milk allergy to a child or pregnant mother to be with a food allergy. We tailor their food packages to the best of our ability to be sure that though they may have allergies they still receive the optimal nutrition during this important time of growth and development. For further information see foodallergy.org or foodallergyawareness.org. To learn more about WIC or to schedule an appointment, call 740-992-0392 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.
Jenna Roush, RN, is a WIC Certifying Health Professional with the Meigs County Health Department.