May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. May 10-16, 2020, is Food Allergy Awareness Week. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and MedicAlert have teamed up to help you manage your child’s food allergies and prevent severe allergic reactions. (Kids With Food Allergies is a division of AAFA).
We’re asking you to “ACT” to manage your child’s allergies:
- “A” means have an action plan for anaphylaxis.
- “C” reminds you to carry important medicines and 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.
Use code AAFA on the phone [1.800.432.5378 – MedicAlert Foundation] or use this special link and 20% of all new MedicAlert memberships purchased will go toward supporting the mission of AAFA and Kids With Food Allergies: saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma and allergies through support, advocacy, education and research.
Epinephrine Is the First-Line Treatment for Anaphylaxis
Epinephrine is the only medicine that will stop anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction. It comes in a device you can carry with you. The most common type of device is called an auto-injector. You can also get it in a small pre-filled syringe.
When you fill your epinephrine prescription, it comes in a two-pack. This is because you should keep two epinephrine devices near your child at all times. You need two in case your child's symptoms return after the first dose or if the first device doesn't function properly.
Almost all epinephrine auto-injectors come with a training device. Practice using it, and teach your child how to use it as soon as you feel they are old enough. Have other people who watch your child practice with the trainer too.
“C” Is for Carry
If your child shows symptoms of anaphylaxis, give them epinephrine right away. The sooner they get epinephrine, the better chance the symptoms have of going away. Be ready to give them a second dose in case symptoms don't go away or return.
Have your child also wear a medical ID bracelet to let people know about their allergy.
Teach your child the importance of carrying their epinephrine with them. Have them start carrying their medicine as soon as you feel they are ready. Talk to your child's teachers and school nurse about where your child's epinephrine will be during class times, lunches, recess and field trips. Make sure they understand why your child's medicine needs to be in reach all the time. Remember, your child has a right to carry their epinephrine with them.
What to Do If You Can't Afford Epinephrine
There are many types of epinephrine devices on the market. Most epinephrine device makers have discount and copay programs to help you with the cost. KFA has a resource with a list of epinephrine devices available and links to their patient assistance programs.
Prepare, Care and Share
Share this image and tweets to spread awareness:
- In honor of Food Allergy Awareness, I'm making a pact to A.C.T. for Allergy. By working together, we can reduce severe allergic reactions: 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