It’s been seven years since Brian Hom lost his son BJ to an anaphylactic reaction in 2008 while on vacation in Mexico to celebrate BJ’s high school graduation. Since then, Brian has been a tireless advocate for the food allergy community.
In memory of BJ Hom, please take a few moments to see this video entitled “Food Allergies Don’t Take Vacations”. Even if you’ve seen it before, this cautionary tale will remind you of the stakes involved when anaphylaxis strikes:
Our thoughts are with the Hom family. May Brian’s work and BJ’s legacy save the lives of many others suffering with severe food allergies.
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We read about the tragedies on a regular basis: yet another person succumbs to anaphylaxis because their auto-injectors were left home on a kitchen counter, in a medicine cabinet, or buried in a drawer somewhere.
Our readers know we border on obsessive when reminding people to Take 2 auto-injectors along everywhere… every time. Why 2? In case one malfunctions or a single dose is not enough to stop the progression of symptoms.
We want to know what you do to remind yourself or your family to Take 2.
Janet Sorrells Hagerman has an innovative solution she recently posted in the Peanut Allergy and Anaphylaxis Awareness Facebook group:
My kiddos self carry and sometimes have had a hard time remembering to grab their epipens before we leave the house. So this was my idea to help them remember their pens every time.
Sticky hooks on the door heading out to the garage. They have remembered them every time since. They can hook these insulated pouches on their belts or whatever they may be carrying. It’s in a great place to help them remember when they are walking out the door. Just thought I’d share if anyone else may have issues of kiddos forgetting their pens.
We are pleased to announce a number of new products from two members of our Manufacturer Partnership, but before we do, here’s a few changes we made to better accommodate them.
First, we added a new category: Health Foods and Supplements. While it’s true that many partner products are organic, non-GMO and might be considered health foods, this category is reserved for specific products the average consumer might consider “nutrition boosters”. (Though many of them are also used as basic cooking and baking ingredients.)
Second, we made a change to the Safe Snack Guide to match how we group products in Allergence, our product screening service: we split Baking Chocolate and Chocolate Chips into a separate category from Baking/Flours/Mixes to make it a bit easier to find the products you’re looking for.
On to the new products:
Red Plate Foods, a family owned business located in Oregon known for their delicious Top-8 free vegan cookies and muffins, has introduced a new line of nut-free (worry-free) granolas. Click here to learn more about Red Plate Foods and their products. [The owner of Red Plate Foods, Becca Williams, recently contributed a wonderful article explaining what you can do to encourage your local market to stock more Free From products entitled: “Editorial: Food Allergy Shoppers, Speak Up!“]
Giddy Yoyo, a company based in Ontario specializing in raw, organic, nutrient dense foods, has extended their line of organic chocolate and cacao products and added a number of health foods and supplements, including frozen organic wheatgrass juice and spirulina powder. Click here to learn more about Giddy Yoyo and their products.
We’re pleased to announce the addition of new products from a long-time member of our Manufacturer Partnership Program.
Click the following links to see details of each variety including how they are manufactured with regard to the 11 allergens we track: All Purpose Flour Mix, Brownie Mix, Muffin Mix, Pancake + Waffle Mix, Pizza Crust Mix.
Our congratulations to Lynda Mitchell, founder of Kids with Food Allergies (KFA), for 10 wonderful years of service to the food allergy community!
KFA is a web-based patient education and support organization serving families raising children with food allergies and anaphylaxis, hosting the nation’s largest online community of such families, currently 45,000 members strong. Its website and social media outreach help more than one million visitors annually.
Lynda was inspired to found KFA by her son’s own health struggles. Through the KFA, she has dedicated herself to educating families and caregivers about how they can keep their children safe and healthy.
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We’re pleased to announce the addition of new products from a long-time member of our Manufacturer Partnership Program. These products now appear in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, our product screening service.
Lucy’s is dedicated to the best practices in allergen safety. They carefully exclude wheat/gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts from their products and plant. And, best of all, their treats taste great! They offer a wide range of flavors and several pack sizes for lunches and travel. (Click to learn more about Lucy’s and their products.)
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Let’s end the constant stream of headlines that bring us news of yet another preventable death!
If your child self-carries, remind them to always Take 2 epinephrine auto-injectors along everywhere, every time! Perform spot checks! Nag them! Don’t let them out of the house without them!
If your child is too young to carry, make sure their caregivers always have access to two epinephrine auto-injectors and are trained when and how to use them!
Whether your child is 4 or 24, your job as protector doesn’t end until there’s a cure!
Click here for a set of flyers like the one above and post them at home to remind everyone to be vigilant!
In an all-too-familiar scenario, the Mirror reports yet another teen in the UK has suffered a fatal bout of anaphylaxis while dining out.
Dylan Hill, an 18 year old apprentice builder, collapsed on a street in Barnsley, South Yorkshire an hour after consuming a curry dish while on a date. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Dylan, who had a severe tree nut allergy and had suffered reactions before, did not have his epinephrine auto-injector on-hand.
Dylan’s father, Anthony Robinson said: “EpiPens aren’t practical for an 18-year-old lad who likes to wear skinny jeans. But it is there for a reason – people are not indestructible.
“He had known for years he had the allergy – I was always telling him to carry his EpiPen and inhalers, because he had asthma as well. He would say, ‘I know, I will’, but as he got older he didn’t really take it out as much. He got a bit lax and often went out without it. He was 18 and thought it wouldn’t happen to him and he would have time to get to a hospital if it did.”
Let’s take a moment to reflect and learn from this senseless tragedy.
In a study to be presented at the ongoing American Thoracic Conference (ATS) 2015, it was determined that many children suffering from asthma have a sensitivity to peanuts but their families are unaware.
“Many of the respiratory symptoms of peanut allergy can mirror those of an asthma attack, and vice versa. Examples of those symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing,” said study lead author Robert Cohn, MD, MBA. “This study aimed to evaluate the proportion of asthmatic children who also demonstrated a sensitivity to peanuts.”
The study researched the charts of 1517 children diagnosed with asthma at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. Of the charts reviewed, 665 (43.8%) had IgE testing for peanuts, and of this group 148 (22.3%) had positive results.
Of the children with positive IgE tests, more than half (53%) of the children and their families did not suspect there was any sensitivity to peanut.
Yes, it’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, a great time to educate others about the causes and dangers of anaphylaxis. But while awareness itself is a wonderful thing, it doesn’t mean a whole lot unless it motivates a change in behavior.
So pause for a moment and answer this one overriding question:
Did you remember to Take 2?
What we’re referring to, of course, is to always take 2 life-saving epinephrine auto-injectors along and having them on-hand wherever you go. Whether you’re relaxing at home, off to school, or just stepping outside to walk the dog, take 2 along everywhere… every time.
Why 2? Because a single dose may not be enough to halt the progression of anaphylaxis when you or your child suffers a severe allergic reaction. And you never want to be caught with too little epinephrine on-hand when a life depends on it.
So while you’re busy spreading awareness, be sure to heed the message. To help remind you and your loved ones, click here to download a collection of flyers from our Take 2 Campaign like the one below and be sure to hang them everywhere.
Because, let’s face it: awareness alone won’t stop anaphylaxis. Only epinephrine will.
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