We highly recommend you take the time to watch a Discovery Channel documentary called “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America.” Narrated by Steve Carell, this 53 minute video explores the science of food allergy, what it is like to live with the disease, and food allergy research including the status of various treatments under study.
The documentary, supported through an educational grant from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) and Mylan Specialty L.P., provides an important opportunity to increase awareness of food allergy as a serious and growing public health issue. Here is the link to the video; perhaps you could share it with your local schools or parent-teacher organization:
The statistics are startling. Fifteen million Americans have food allergies, a potentially life-threatening disease. Almost 6 million of them are children. Every 3 minutes, a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room, and every classroom has an average of 2 students with a food allergy. Right now, there is no cure – and the smallest amount of the wrong food can have tragic consequences. In this powerful but heartwarming documentary narrated by actor Steve Carell, Discovery Channel examines the struggles of families and individuals with life-threatening food allergies, their journey to navigate the dangers around them, and the growing hope for a cure. The stories told from a parent’s point of view as well as the child’s, give us a very clear idea of what they go through every day, particularly in school. No one besides a parent can better describe the constant fear they feel, especially when their children are on their own or in someone else’s care.
There are some great visual illustrations to explain what happens to the body during an anaphylaxis attack, and some theories on the causes of food allergies.
The main message from all the parents whose children have food allergies is that it’s still possible to have a normal life. “First go through the grieving process and then educate yourself!” they advise.
One child was having very good results with a new treatment called oral immunotherapy. Carried out in a research setting with explicit instructions on what to do at home, the child is given very small amounts of the foods he is allergic to in order to build up his own immune system.
Feel free to forward the link to this important documentary to anyone who comes in contact with people with food allergies. It could literally save someone’s life.