ACT for Allergies
AAFA and MedicAlert Work Together to Improve Emergency Response for People Managing Food Allergies
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and the MedicAlert Foundation have teamed up. The goal of this partnership is to help you manage your child’s food allergies and prevent severe allergic reactions. (Kids With Food Allergies is a division of AAFA).
This is more important now more than ever in light of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus). With many health care providers stressed, the best thing you can do is to help your child prevent allergic reactions to avoid a trip to the emergency department. Both AAFA and MedicAlert want to give you the resources to manage your child’s food allergies.
Remember to “ACT” to manage your child’s allergies. “A” means have an action plan for anaphylaxis. “C” reminds to carry important medicines and to have your child wear a medical ID to alert others of their condition. “T” calls for having a treatment plan that includes symptoms to watch for and what to do in an emergency. You’ll also want to share this plan with your child’s teachers, babysitters and other caregivers.
A MedicAlert ID and membership can help protect those with allergies and asthma in the event of an emergency. If you can’t speak for yourself, MedicAlert can be your voice.
When you enroll in a new MedicAlert membership through this special link or via phone [1.800.432.5378], use the code AAFA and MedicAlert will donate 20% of your membership fees to support the mission of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to save lives and reduce the burden of disease for people with asthma and allergies through support, advocacy, education and research.
ACT for Allergy
“A” means have an action plan for asthma or anaphylaxis.
Make an anaphylaxis action plan with your child’s doctor. This plan helps you identify severe symptoms and tells you when and how to use epinephrine.
Fill your prescriptions for epinephrine auto-injectors. KFA has resources if you can’t afford your prescription.
Know the causes and triggers of your child’s allergies.
Learn about what is and isn’t a risk for your child’s condition.
“C” reminds you to carry your emergency medicines and with a copy of your action plan everywhere you go.
Carry their emergency medicines and a copy of their action plan everywhere they go. Don’t leave them in a car or separate building.
Have your child wear a medical ID bracelet. With the presence of a MedicAlert medical ID, first responders can connect with medical personnel to get your child’s complete health history.
T” calls for having a treatment plan that includes when to take your medicines and what to do in an emergency.
Talk to your doctor about the best therapies and treatments for your child.
Give your child their medicines as prescribed.
Practice how to use their emergency medicines.
Severe Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis)
A severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis [anna-fih-LACK-sis]. Foods, medicines, insects and latex can cause anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis can cause symptoms that affect more than one system in the body, such as the skin, mouth, eyes, lungs, heart, gut and brain. It is a medical emergency. Symptoms can include:
- Skin rashes, itching and hives
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
- Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, wheezing (whistling sound during breathing)
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea
- Feeling like something awful is about to happen
There is no cure for allergies. You can only manage the condition by helping your child avoid their allergens and carrying emergency medicine. Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis.
If your child is at risk for having a severe allergic reaction, your doctor will prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors. They come in a pack of two. Always make sure both auto-injectors are with you at all times. Don’t leave them in your car or where it gets too hot or too cold. You doctor will also give you an anaphylaxis action plan that will tell you when and how to use the epinephrine auto-injectors.
Americans have food allergies1,2
- 26 million adults have food allergies1
- 5.6 million children have food allergies2
- Food allergies are most common among young children3
- Nearly one in 50 Americans are at risk for anaphylaxis4
- Children with food allergies are two to four times more likely to have asthma or other allergic diseases5
- Top allergens are milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish6
- Sesame is the ninth most common food allergen7
- Each year, severe allergic reactions cause 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations and 150 deaths6
Prepare, Care, and Share
Share these tweets to spread awareness:
In honor of Food Allergy Awareness, I’m making a pact to A.C.T. for Asthma and Allergy. By working together, we can reduce severe asthma attacks and allergic reactions: kidswithfoodallergies.org/act #act4asthma #act4allergy via @kfatweets Tweet This
A is for Action Plan: Make an #anaphylaxis action plan with your doctor. Know how to identify severe symptoms and use your epinephrine auto-injector. kidswithfoodallergies.org/act #act4allergy via @kfatweets Tweet This
C is for Carry: Always carry your epinephrine auto-injectors and consider wearing a medical ID to alert others of your condition. kidswithfoodallergies.org/act #act4allergy via @kfatweets Tweet This
T is for Treatment: Talk with your doctor about #allergy treatments that may work for you. Practice how to use your emergency medicines. kidswithfoodallergies.org/act #act4allergy #foodallergy #foodallergyawareness via @kfatweets Tweet This
Share these images to spread awareness:
1. Gupta, R. S., Warren, C. M., Smith, B. M., Jiang, J., Blumenstock, J. A., Davis, M. M., … Nadeau, K. C. (2019). Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults. JAMA Network Open, 2(1), e185630. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5630
2. Gupta RS, Warren CM, Smith BM, et al. The Public Health Impact of Parent-Reported Childhood Food Allergies in the United States. Pediatrics. 2018:142(6):e20181235. (2019). Pediatrics, 143(3), e20183835. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-3835
3. CDC.gov. (2018). Food Allergies | Healthy Schools | CDC. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/foodallergies/index.htm
4. Wood, R. A., Camargo, C. A., Lieberman, P., Sampson, H. A., Schwartz, L. B., Zitt, M., … Simons, F. E. R. (2014). Anaphylaxis in America: The prevalence and characteristics of anaphylaxis in the United States. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 133(2), 461–467. doi 10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.016
5. CDC.gov. (2018). Food Allergies | Healthy Schools | CDC. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/foodallergies/index.htm
6. FDA.gov. (2018). Food Allergies: What You Need to Know. [online] Available at: https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAllergens/ucm079311.htm
7. Sesame Now the Ninth Most Common Food Allergy: AAAAI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/news-releases/sesame