JANUARY 4, 2017, VIENNA, VIRGINIA – For many, January is a time to review the past year and set goals for what to accomplish in the coming months. For families with life-threatening allergies, this review may also include strategies to better prepare for an anaphylactic emergency.
“After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to circle back with family and review the year – celebrate what worked, and modify what didn’t,” says Tonya Winders, president and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network, the leading patient education and advocacy organization for people with asthma and allergies. “Use this opportunity to recharge the family’s understanding about allergies and how best to manage them.”
The Network suggests the following New Year’s resolutions for managing life-threatening allergies:
Replace fear with facts
Schedule an appointment with your allergist to review your food or latex allergy diagnosis: Do you know exactly what you are allergic to? Is it time for new testing? What is working or not working in your prevention program? Make a list of questions in advance and be sure to include food-allergic children in the conversation. Help them understand how to prevent exposure and respond to symptoms.
Practice prevention and build confidence
Educate your children by reading food labels with them, both at home and the grocery store. Focus on words related to their specific allergies. In addition, talk with them about situations they may find difficult to handle, such as being offered snacks that may contain allergens at school or parties; role play to help them build confidence.
With life-threatening food, latex or other allergies, it’s important to carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with you everywhere, every day. Devise convenient and creative ways to keep them close at hand. Check expiration dates on your devices and put renewal reminders on your calendar.
Build a safety net of family and caregivers who understand
Allergy & Asthma Network offers free resources to share with family and friends. Visit AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org for a wide range of information. Download or call 800-878-4403 for Understanding Anaphylaxis, Living Confidently with Food Allergy or Living with Latex Allergy, free guides to help you manage your condition.
Increase community awareness: Become an advocate
States and towns across the country are passing laws and implementing new strategies for food and latex allergy safety in schools, healthcare facilities, restaurants, and other places.
“One of our 2016 advocacy successes was the passage of Hawaii SB 911 Act 180 (effective January 1, 2017), which protects the public by prohibiting the use of latex gloves, with limited exceptions, by personnel working in healthcare or dental facilities, ambulance or emergency medical services, and food establishments,” notes Anne Marie Jacintho, LPN, Anaphylaxis Community Expert (ACE) volunteer from Kula, Hawaii. “This law will save lives and significantly increase the quality of life for those with latex allergy.”
With some creative thinking, patients and families with life-threatening food and latex allergies can be more aware and prepared in 2017.
About Allergy & Asthma Network
Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. Allergy & Asthma Network specializes in sharing family-friendly, medically accurate information through its award-winning publication Allergy & Asthma Today magazine, E-newsletter, AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org and numerous community outreach programs. Follow Allergy & Asthma Network on Facebook at facebook.com/AllergyAsthmaHQ and Twitter at twitter.com/AllergyAsthmaHQ. Join Allergy & Asthma Network at AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org/join.
The Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACE) program is developed by Allergy & Asthma Network in partnership with the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), National Association of School Nurses and American School Health Association and sponsored by Mylan Specialty L.P. The program goal is to save lives through showing parents, school staff, emergency responders, and others how to recognize and respond immediately to anaphylaxis symptoms.
To learn more about the ACE program or request an ACE team presentation, email Brenda Silvia-Torma, ACE Program Manager at ace@AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find an allergist, visit ACAAI.org/locate-an-allergist.