Food Allergy Sufferers often Served a Side of Skepticism Alongside their Struggle

There is a big difference between a food “intolerance” and a food allergy, and overuse of the word allergy can cause many to not take the threat seriously. Here’s a story of one teenager who had to stand up in front of her entire middle school and explain the dangers of her peanut allergy. She has learned to advocate for her own safety, and encourages all skeptics to take people living with severe allergies very seriously. Even today there are those in the medical community and the media who believe that the fear around allergies is alarmist and can be driven by profit-seeking and other motives. They should “walk in another man’s moccasins” for a day and then see what it is like to live with a life-threatening allergy.

Fresh veggies, meats, crackers and dip

Food Allergy Sufferers often Served a Side of Skepticism Alongside their Struggle

By Lavanya Ramanathan The Washington Post
Apr 23, 2019

Patricia “Trece” Hopp rose and took a deep breath at the start of middle school with something to say. She’d need her classmates’ understanding, she nervously explained, and perhaps their help.

Being near a peanut-butter sandwich might pock her skin with hives. A whiff of dust from nuts could hinder her breathing. Touching a peanut could send her into anaphylactic shock. And if she ate one, she could die.

Thereafter, “I was the girl with the peanut allergy,” says Trece, now 17. “It’s my identity. It’s part of me.” A part she has to not only remind people about but also repeatedly explain.

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Editorial: The Coming Healthcare Apocalypse for the Food Allergy Community

Editorial: The Coming Healthcare Apocalypse for the Food Allergy Community

Dave Bloom, CEO of SnackSafely.com, is very concerned about the Trump Administration’s recent efforts to once again try to strike down the Affordable Care Act without any concrete proposals to replace it. While Republicans wisely decided to hold off until after the November elections, many people are worried because food allergies would be considered a preexisting condition.

DoctorsNote: I'm Sorry

By Dave Bloom
March 27, 2019

Earlier this week, the Trump Administration told a federal appeals court that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — commonly known as “Obamacare” — should be struck down in its entirety. This contrasts its previous assertion that “only” the provisions protecting those with preexisting conditions should be struck down while preserving the rest of the law including the expansion of Medicare.

Some 20 million Americans receive their health insurance under provisions of the ACA and another 100+ million are protected by the ACA’s provisions covering those with preexisting conditions.

It doesn’t much matter if you are a red-state Republican or a blue-state Democrat, if you suffer from food allergies, you have a preexisting condition. Your healthcare coverage could be discontinued in its entirety, your policy could be amended to exclude expenses arising from your preexisting conditions, or your premiums could skyrocket, making your insurance too expensive to afford.

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Your Environment Is Cleaner Your Immune System Has Never Been So Unprepared

Should kids pick their nose? Eat dirt? Avoid antibacterial soap? A dermatologist in Denver who treats people with allergies and autoimmune disorders says definitely “yes!” Believing our world is becoming much too sanitized, Dr. Meg Lemon advises that our immune system is not getting a good workout, and we are therefore more susceptible to allergens. Research going back as far as 1872 agrees with the hypothesis that when the immune system is not properly trained it overreacts and develops allergies, or in other words, chronic immune system attacks.

Your Environment Is Cleaner
Your Immune System Has Never Been So Unprepared

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A century ago, British scientists suggested a link between increased hygiene and allergic conditions — the first hint that our immune systems are becoming improperly “trained.”
Credit Mike McQuade

By Matt Richtel, March 12, 2019
Excerpted from “An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System,” published on Tuesday by William Morrow.

Should you pick your nose?

Don’t laugh. Scientifically, it’s an interesting question.

Should your children pick their noses? Should your children eat dirt? Maybe: Your body needs to know what immune challenges lurk in the immediate environment.

Should you use antibacterial soap or hand sanitizers? No. Are we taking too many antibiotics? Yes.

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Urge Your Elected Officials to Co-Sponsor the FASTER Act!

Recognizing the growing number of Americans with severe food allergies, Congresswoman Doris Matsui introduced the FASTER Act to make federal policy changes that will improve the health, safety and inclusion of the 32 million people living with them. The act would fund the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to collect information on the prevalence of food allergies and allergens, update package labeling to include sesame, and study the economic costs of living with food allergies. Congresswoman Matsui believes more research and evidence-based solutions are needed to help understand, treat, and maybe one day prevent food allergies.

Urge Your Elected Officials to Co-Sponsor the FASTER Act!

Jared, kid with allergies
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Food Allergy Research & Education 

Nearly 32 million Americans—including kids like Jared (pictured above)—live with food allergies and related disorders. These diseases affect their health and quality of life.

That’s why Congresswoman Doris Matsui introduced the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act to improve the health and safety of those living with food allergies and related disorders.

The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research (FASTER) Act, a package of federal policy changes that will improve the health, safety and inclusion of the 32 million Americans living with food allergies, was introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA).

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Could Your Mindset Affect How Well A Treatment Works?

Now that more and more parents are willing to try peanut patches and powders in order to build up an immunity to life-threatening allergies in their children, there are fears about possible side effects. Researchers are finding that when they frame the message that unpleasant side effects are a positive signal that the treatment is working, patients are less likely to drop out of studies and will continue on with the daily regimens.

Could Your Mindset Affect How Well A Treatment Works?

Mindset for Allergy Treatment drawing
Chris Madde/Getty Images

By Esther Landhuis
March 1, 2019

Anxiety about side effects can keep people from starting or sticking to drug regimens or medical procedures. A group of researchers at Stanford University wanted to find out whether a simple mindset shift could help patients tolerate an uncomfortable treatment. They learned that when physicians make the effort to reframe potentially unpleasant symptoms in a positive light, it helped patients to stay calm and persevere.

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