Monday, May 16, 2011

Emily's Story: A Food Allergy Angel

Last week was Food Allergy Awareness Week, and I saw a lot of great stories, recipes and discussions. I was feeling pretty confident, because I try to stay up to date on the latest information and we have a pretty good safe-food routine established at home.

Today I read Emily's Story - and it just breaks my heart. Emily died 5 years ago, and it was caused by an allergic reaction. This happened here in Cincinnati. Today would have been her 19th birthday.

I have to admit, I absolutely hate reading stories like this, because it makes me feel anxious and sad, and it makes me worry about my girls even more than I already do.

I'm sharing this because I think other parents need to see how serious food allergies can be. And it reminds me that I cannot let down my guard. I also need to stop worrying about what other people think of me. There will always be people out there that think food allergies are exaggerated, or that I'm just a parent trying to get attention. I've overheard parents of older kids talking about 'The Food Allergy Nazi Mom' in their kids classroom, and it makes me feel awful. I know what that mom is dealing with, and she is just trying to keep her child safe. It can be hard to get other parents to understand that there isn't any room for error. An Epi-pen does not typically reverse a reaction - it can give some relief for about 15 minutes, until an ambulance arrives. (This is why you should always carry two - in case you need to buy more time)

Please take the time to read Emily's Story. It's a good reminder that food allergies are very serious. If your kids don't have food allergies, be thankful, and try to be more understanding of families that deal with this every day. If your kids do have food allergies, ALWAYS have your Epi-pens with you and be prepared to use them.

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