Friday, December 13, 2013

5 Minutes for Food Allergies

Disclaimer:  Individuals with food allergies, or any other suspected medical condition(s), should be under the care and advisement of a medical professional.  Always consult a physician before making any changes to your current health care regimen.

A week ago, I was reading about the heartbreaking passing of Shimmer James, age 6, due to an anaphylactic reaction to peanut.  I was overcome with a feeling of urgency and the feeling that I'm just not doing enough to get information out to the masses.  I immediately started writing a Facebook status update, pouring out all of the things I wanted to tell people, off the top of my head, about food allergies and anaphylaxis.  I initially paid to promote the post, in the hopes of reaching as many people as possible, but Facebook stopped "promoting it" after 130 views, because my graphic had "too much text".  Despite this, the information made its rounds thanks to the power of all of the other food allergy parents and kind souls out in the vastness of Facebook!  Thanks to all of you who have shared the post, it is up to 1,000 shares, with a reach of around 50,000 people!  You all are AMAZING!

Surely there are points that could be added, so if you would like to provide other important points, please comment on this post.  I am unable to edit my post, so perhaps people can refer back here for additional information/discussion.  My profuse thanks, again, for getting this information in front of the eyes of so many.

Here are some points I wanted to add:
  • Epinephrine is prescribed and delivered in 2-packs, which should be viewed as a set, not to be split up between locations.    
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) expenses can add up, especially when multiple sets are needed, but there are often discounts available, especially for cash-paying customers.  There are also patient assistance programs for those in need.  Never let cost get in the way of maintaining a supply of epinephrine.  Saving money by not buying at least one set of epinephrine is not something allergic people can afford.  People raise money for sports equipment, uniforms, band trips...Why not life-saving medication?      
  • Epinephrine auto-injectors should be kept within their stated temperature ranges (see each manufacturer for specifics.)  They should not be left in glove compartments, or other places where they might get too hot/too cold.
  • If at all possible, those at risk for anaphylaxis should carry their EAIs on their person. 
  • Check your state's self-carry laws and learn more about your rights.
  • Also familiarize yourself with the varied epinephrine policies for EMS workers: 
  • Those with serious medical conditions, including food allergies and anaphylaxis risks of any kind, should wear medical alert jewelry to alert medical professionals.  The symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may be confused for other conditions.

Please continue to share!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Giving Tuesday

They have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc., but the day that has perked me up and has me really excited is Giving Tuesday, which is tomorrow, December 3rd!

From the Giving Tuesday FAQ site:
Question: What is #GivingTuesday™?  Answer: #GivingTuesday™ (#GT) is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The second annual GivingTuesday is on December 3, 2013. In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, we want the giving community to come together for #GivingTuesday. We ask that partners create and commit to a project for/on #GivingTuesday and then help spread the word to their networks.
Question: What is #GivingTuesday’s mission?  Answer: #GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations.
I think this is an excellent opportunity to think about ways we can give back to our communities and the organizations we value and support.  Think your local food bank could use some allergy-friendly foods? Want to do a clothing drive for a shelter?  How about earmarking a little of your holiday spending budget to help fund the various organizations that do so much for us?  Can you volunteer your time with any of these organizations, if your finances have seen better days?  (Even if times are really tight, though, remember that small donations do add up!)  Everyone has some talent, skill or resource that can benefit the community!

Happy Season of Giving!

Looking for ideas? Here are some that were inspired by various people who give so much of themselves: