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.
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.
Your Allergy Advocacy Association continues to recommend that “when in doubt, take it out.” This article discusses a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield that found the number of severe allergic reactions in children reported by hospitals have more than doubled between 2010 and 2016. The article includes signs and symptoms to look for in an impending anaphylaxis attack and suggests “If you think about using an EpiPen, go ahead and use it if you notice any of these signs and symptoms.” Most importantly, Dr. Anna Volerman of the University of Chicago Medicine says to make sure that your child has “a really strong understanding of the allergy, and feels comfortable speaking up and saying, ‘I’m allergic to X, is there any X in this food item?’”
Anaphylaxis is the scary end of allergy, the kind of reaction that can kill. It can happen almost immediately after the exposure — being stung by the bee, eating the peanut — and it can move fast. In anaphylaxis, your immune system turns against you with a vengeance, revs up and releases histamines and other chemicals that set off a range of dangerous physiological changes.
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.
The good news is that a recent survey found 81% of school nurses stock epinephrine to use in an emergency for any child. The bad news is epinephrine was much less likely to be available for after-school activities or for travel with student groups outside of school. This is especially concerning since up to 19 percent of anaphylactic reactions during the school day may occur outside of the school building or on field trips. Whenever your child is scheduled for outside activities, make sure they have their own EpiPen with them and speak with chaperones and coaches so they know what to do in an emergency. An EpiPen should be available for use on anyone, as many are not even aware they have an allergy, such as to bee stings. School nurses also reported that allergen labeling could be improved for school lunches.