May is Asthma and Allergies awareness month and because of that ,I am writing to you the media, as a mom of 2 boys who are anaphylactic to dairy and have other food allergies. I am also a food allergy advocate and certified asthma educator.
The topic of food allergies has been well covered in the press. What has not been covered is the bizarre caste system that has emerged within the food allergy world .On the top of the pyramid, we have peanut allergies. By now, every school, camp, etc has been declared peanut free and no responsible parent would dare send their child anywhere with a peanut butter sandwich. Lower down, but still taken seriously, are the tree nut allergies. And then we have all of the other food allergies – Eggs, dairy, soy, shellfish, wheat, fish. Those who suffer from the non-nut allergies face 2 struggles. The first is the same as everyone, getting recognition and accommodation of their food allergy. The second struggle is to have their non-nut allergies taken as serious as nut allergies.
All of this seems to be driven by this completely false belief that nut allergies are more severe than others. How this widespread belief came about is one of the big mysteries I cannot get to the bottom of. Nuts are not even the most common allergen – Dairy is. And the truth is, any allergen can cause anaphylaxis . You can’t imagine the struggle my kids face trying to get their allergy taken as seriously as nut allergies. Essentially, nobody takes other allergens as seriously, from schools to birthday parties, etc. They are the second-class citizens of the food allergy world.
I have so much more to say on this topic. I hope you find it interesting. Given that May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month (http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-and-allergy-awareness-month.aspx), this could be something to explore.
@allallergiesmatter on twitter.
Or @harriet75 on twitter