Dr. Ruchi Gupta of the Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago conducted a survey with parents to ask if they felt their child with food allergies was safe at school. One in five parents surveyed felt they did not. They reported they would like to see epinephrine stocked for use on any child in an emergency, school lunch menus should display allergen information, and ingredient labels on food items are needed. They also wanted to see schools provide more food allergy education for students. Hopefully parents will band together and advocate for improvements.
One in five parents did not feel that their child with food allergy was safe while at school, according to results of a national survey published in BMC Pediatrics. While most of the 289 parents surveyed reported that their child’s school had implemented at least one food allergy policy, they felt that more could be done. Nearly 95 percent of the parents surveyed wanted stock epinephrine to be available in school, so that a life-threatening reaction to food could be treated immediately. Most parents also felt that school lunch menus should display allergen information (65 percent reported that this was not done) and that ingredient labels on food items are needed (87 percent reported that ingredient labels were not available). They also wanted to see schools provide more food allergy education for students (72 percent reported no food allergy education for students).
The peanut patch and peanut powder for all who are allergic might soon be coming to market! DBV Technologies and Aimmune Therapeutics has developed a patch that slowly exposes the wearer to the peanut allergen to build up tolerance, while Aimmune is working on a peanut powder that patients consume gradually, until they reach a maintenance dose. Both therapies are in Phase 3 clinical trials, and the companies expect to file applications for approval with the FDA by the end of this year.
The other good news is DBV is now working on a “milk” patch.
Both therapies are in Phase 3 clinical trials, and the respective companies expect to file applications for approval with the FDA by the end of this year.
With Viaskin, patients are slowly exposed to their allergen through the skin by wearing a patch, building up tolerance. The therapy has been in clinical trials for years, but the company encountered a setback last fall when it announced its Phase 3 trial failed to meet a main statistical goal set out by the FDA. At the time, the company said it believed its product could still help patients, and that the statistical analysis didn’t tell the whole story. It said it would proceed with its plan to get approval.
If necessity is the mother of invention, we can thank the Bloom family for bringing us SnackSafely.com. Their daughter is allergic to both eggs and peanuts, so to help her stay safe at school, Debra Bloom created a list of allergy-friendly snacks to give to the school and other parents. To the family’s surprise, in the first three months the site was downloaded by thousands of people and last year over a million visitors found the frequently updated list to be very helpful. Dave Bloom now provides content for the site full-time, which includes a blog on the latest research discoveries and treatment options. Please read the full article here.
Interview with Dave Bloom, founder of SnackSafely
By Kristen Stewart May 1, 2018
When her daughter, who was allergic to both eggs and peanuts, started school in 2006, Debra Bloom created a list of allergy-friendly snacks to give to the school and other parents in an effort to prevent cross-contact in the classroom. She and her husband Dave thought they were making efforts to keep their daughter safe. Little did they realize they were in the early stages of starting SnackSafely.com, a site that last year had over a million unique visitors.
Initially challenged by the logistics of continuously updating and distributing the list, Dave put it on his business website for district parents to access. To his surprise, within a few months it had been downloaded by thousands of people throughout the country.
"In essence, that's when the Safe Snack Guide was born," says Dave.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a tragedy in order to generate action to prevent anaphylaxis in any child. After the death of three-year-old Elijah Silvera at a daycare center in New York City, The Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) pledged to do more training in preschools, and FARE offered to help conduct food allergy training for workers who care for young children in childcare settings. The training will be conducted both in person and online, and can serve as a model for other cities.
Following the tragic death of Elijah Silvera, a 3-year-old who had an anaphylactic reaction at preschool, a comprehensive training program has begun in New York City in hopes that food allergy education will help to protect kids and prevent tragedies.
In November 2017, after the little boy’s death, the New York City Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) pledged to do more training in preschools and announced a new requirement that all child-care staff had to call 911 when a student has a medical emergency.
The Allergy Advocacy Association and FARE received some nice publicity from AllergicLiving.com after our recent advocacy event in Albany on May 16. Read all about the various bills in front of the New York State legislature that we are hoping to pass in the very near future. Two proposals are in memory of children who have died as a result of food allergies.
Advocates, including parents who have lost children to anaphylaxis, were in Albany, NY on May 16 to raise support to several food allergy related bills that are proposed for the New York Assembly and Senate in relation to food allergies.
The non-profit Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and the New York State group the Allergy Advocacy Association organized the day.