As part of their “Viewfinder” series, PBS aired a documentary last Wednesday called “Food for Thought – Food Allergies” . If you haven’t seen it, invest 27 minutes now and watch it below.
The episode begins with the story of Natalie Giorgi, the 13 year old girl with a severe peanut allergy who suffered anaphylaxis after biting into a Rice Krispies treat at a campsite in California in 2013. Despite multiple administrations of epinephrine, she died after suffering cardiac arrest as a result of her exposure. Interviews with Natalie’s parents and siblings appear throughout the documentary.
The episode goes on to provide a primer covering a wide range of topics including the growing epidemic of food allergy and possible causes; current and emerging immunotherapy treatments including oral immunotherapy (OIT) as well as skin patch therapy (EPIT or epicutaneous immunotherapy); the relationship of eczema, food allergies, and asthma; omalizumab (Xolair) as an off-label drug that can help attenuate reactions; celiac disease; early introduction of allergens; the differences between food allergies and intolerances; and how allergies are being addressed at school.
This documentary should be required viewing for everyone as the food allergy epidemic has affected so many in the community. Of special note, please share this video with those that care for or come in contact with those suffering from food allergies, including family, friends, teachers, school nurses, pediatricians, employees of the food and dining industries and first responders.
Here is the documentary in its entirety: