“Food Allergy Mom” connotes a woman who knows the ins and outs, ups and downs of food allergies. Do you know someone like this? Are YOU her?
|Yep, I'm a food allergy mom...and this is what life usually looks like for us!|
She’s probably done research on food allergies since her child was diagnosed with them as a baby. She’s a member of every food allergy group like KFA, FAACT and FARE. She’s part of all of the food allergy Facebook groups, and she regularly comments and shares information.
You might see her standing in the aisles of grocery stores examining labels, or calling the manufacturer on the spot to ask questions. She may do a little jump of joy when she finds her store is now stocking a food allergy friendly product.
She’s prepared with her Chef card at every restaurant. She knows how to whip up dairy free icing for her child’s dairy-free and egg-free cupcakes at 11pm the night before. She pins new food allergy recipes every week on Pinterest. She is constantly coming up with new creations in the kitchen. Basically, she’s on top of it.
You know her. You may even be her.
Still, there are other Food Allergy Moms who care JUST as much, but they don’t have the information or resources they need about food allergies.
MY Mom (Grandma!) met a woman like this on a trip to the Poconos. Grandma was talking to a waitress in a restaurant and Grandma casually brought up food allergies (Grandma is always thinking of her grandkids!).
The waitress revealed that her school aged daughter has severe food allergies. The waitress mentioned the difficulty they have had in managing them, especially in school.
As she and Grandma kept talking, the waitress revealed something rather shocking….
She didn’t know about EpiPens.
Yes, please read that again. She had never heard of EpiPens.
She said her doctor had never mentioned it to her or her daughter. I imagine a big part of the problem may be related to health insurance. It may also be that she lives in a rural area and her doctor is not well versed in food allergies.
My mom encouraged her to get a set of EpiPens for her daughter. She gave her my blog name and KFA’s website to start. We just hope this woman decided to seek out more info on her own.
I have thought about what else we could have done to inform and educate this food allergy mom about keeping her daughter safe. It just shows that there’s still work to be done to educate others about food allergies.
As Food Allergy Parents (Dads, Grandparents and family members too of course!), we still need to remember that not everyone is living the same food allergy journey.
Even though Food Allergy Awareness Month and the #tealtakeover is almost over, we must remember to continue to:
- Spread food allergy awareness and information, one person at a time. Through daily in person and online interactions. This is even true for those of us who think we know a lot about food allergies. There’s still so much to learn.
- Advocate. Sign those online petitions, call and email your government representatives, and make your support known for new food allergy legislation! I recently did this for PA’s School Bus Epinephrine Legislation. Many times, it only takes 20 minutes or less to do these things.
- Support food allergy groups like FARE, FAACT and Kids with Food Allergies. Volunteer in some way or provide financial support.
- Support food allergy friendly companies like SunButter and Enjoy Life (these are only two of our favorites)! We rely on these brands for easy and accessible food allergy friendly foods. What are your favorites?
- Support food allergy research. For example, make sure to take any surveys that come your way. If you have the opportunity, take part in clinical trials.
- Don’t keep food allergies to yourself. I’ve heard of many parents who are almost embarrassed to tell school officials about their child’s food allergies. This is UNSAFE and it makes it difficult on the rest of us. Food allergies shouldn’t remain hidden. It’s safer when others know about your or your child’s food allergy, and the food allergy action plan.
What have you done this month (or recently) to spread the word about food allergies? However big or small? (Small efforts add up to big ones!)
There are so many unsung heroes in the food allergy community - we want to hear from you!