Family Food Allergy Foundation Memorializes Elijah-Alavi

Elijah-Alavi

The parents of three-year-old Elijah-Alavi were devasted by the loss of their son. While at preschool, Elijah, who had food allergies including dairy, was mistakenly given a grilled cheese sandwich. He suffered a fatal attack of anaphylaxis. From that tragedy Elijah’s parents embarked on a path of advocacy and education, so that other parents wouldn’t have to experience the same heartbreak. They founded the Elijah-Alavi Foundation, which includes “Elijah's Echo,” an initiative raising awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis.    Read the article here.

Struggling with Life Threatening Food Allergies

An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America Video

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:


Our Review

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.

Back To School With Asthma And Allergies: Is Perfect Attendance Possible?

Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of AsthmaticsMissing even a day at school can quickly put a child behind. The Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) offers some great tips on how to maintain good attendance at school while living with a serious food allergy.

 

 

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH ASTHMA AND ALLERGIES:IS PERFECT ATTENDANCE POSSIBLE? 

Friday, September 6th - Rochester, NY.  

Perfect attendance is a real challenge for schoolchildren with asthma and allergies. Even so, many doctors, school nurses and parents believe it's well within reach for the millions of children heading back to school with these conditions.

"Perfect attendance is all about preparation and prevention," says Nancy Sander, president and founder of Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), the leading patient education non-profit organization. "Before the first bell rings, work together with your doctor to identify what causes flare-ups and craft a personalized asthma and/or anaphylaxis action plan."

Interviewed in the fall issue of Allergy & Asthma Today, AANMA's quarterly magazine, Stanley Fineman, MD, MBA, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, says perfect attendance is "absolutely achievable" for kids with asthma and allergies although it doesn't happen without individualized planning and effort.

"It depends on the severity of the child's asthma and the type of medication needed," Dr. Fineman says. "The goal is to find out what is causing symptoms, reduce exposures, minimize the impact of symptoms on a child's normal activities and ensure a good quality of life."

Studies show that regular school attendance leads to better academic performance by students. Chronic absenteeism interrupts the learning process and interferes with peer acceptance.

"Children with asthma and allergies can strive for perfect attendance, but it's important to keep the emphasis on making healthy choices," says Sally Schoessler, MEd, BSN, RN, director of nursing education at National Association of School Nurses. "We want the child to feel well, be successful, and fully participate in their educational experience."

Adds Sander: "Certainly you don't want to send a child who is ill to school. Knowing when to keep them home is oftentimes a judgment call and something you should discuss with a doctor."

AANMA offers these five back-to-school tips:

  • Submit copies of all completed school health forms, including the asthma and/or anaphylaxis action plan, to the school nurse.
  • Schedule meetings with the school nurse, teachers, coaches and administrators to develop partners in your child's healthcare at school.
  • Renew medications and make sure your child knows to use them at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Get a flu shot and wash hands frequently to avoid catching a cold or flu virus.
  • Teach kids how to correctly and safely use the inhaler and/or epinephrine auto-injector they carry in their backpack and keep as a backup at school.

All 50 states protect students' rights to carry and self-administer asthma inhalers at school and 49 do the same for epinephrine auto-injectors. Twenty-eight states have passed legislation requiring schools to have anaphylaxis emergency preparedness plans that include maintaining supplies of epinephrine auto-injectors.

Follow the status of anaphylaxis emergency preparedness laws in your state with AANMA's USAnaphylaxis™ Map, an interactive web tracking tool. It also includes links to AANMA's Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACE) Teams who provide free training programs for educators, parents and policymakers.

About AANMA

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. AANMA specializes in sharing family-friendly, medically accurate information through its award-winning publications Allergy & Asthma Today magazine and The MA Report newsletter, its web site and numerous community outreach programs.

Follow AANMA on Facebook  and on Twitter.

About Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACE)

ACE is a national, award-winning education, advocacy and outreach partnership program developed and hosted by Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, sponsored by Mylan Specialty L.P. 

 

Interested in Scheduling an ACE Presentation?  


For more information, please contact:
Jon Terry
Allergy Advocacy Association
585-319-6848
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