Allergy education food for thought

Posted on: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 5:17am
2BusyBoys's picture
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[url="http://www.gtherald.com/herald/2006/jan/04allerg.htm"]http://www.gtherald.com/herald/2006/jan/04allerg.htm[/url]

January 4, 2006
Allergy education food for thought
House bill would establish policy to manage the risk of food allergy in schools
By Kristen Hains
Special to the Herald

When Kim Rysztak rushed her three-year old daughter, Madeline, to the emergency room in anaphylactic shock from an allergic reaction to nuts, the doctor's words sent her into a shock of her own: "Two more minutes and she might not have made it." The time Rysztak might have spent at a red light was literally the difference between life and death for her young daughter.
With such a severe reaction, life would never be the same for Rysztak and her Traverse City family. However, rather than place her daughter in a bubble, she became an advocate for the safety of her children, two of whom have been diagnosed with severe allergies to nuts
Keeping your children safe may seem an easy task when they are under your constant 24 hour care, but what about once they start school? According to The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) peanut allergies in children have doubled in the past five years. The number of Americans with food allergy has increased from 6 million to approximately 11 million.
Parents aiming to keep their food allergic children safe at school may soon get a bit of help from Washington lawmakers. In October, H.R. 4063 was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill aims to establish a policy to be used on a voluntary basis to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and to make such policy available to local educational agencies and other individuals.
More immediate assistance for parents of children with food allergies comes by way of The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). According to FAAN, the legislation, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2006 requires the presence of a major food allergen be declared in the ingredient list. This must be accomplished via the word "contains" followed by the name of the major food allergen (such as milk, wheat or eggs) or a parenthetical statement in the list of ingredients. For example, albumin must have (egg) following it in a list of ingredients.
FALCPA defines "major food allergens" as milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans.
Kim Rysztak is a perfect example of how, with proper steps, even a child with the most severe allergies can lead a very normal life. Each year, just before school starts, Rysztak holds an in-service with all the members on staff at her children's school. Her tools: EpiPens and oranges. The oranges act as the child and the teachers learn, hands on, how to administer the EpiPen. As Rysztak knows, the precious minutes school personnel might spend reading the EpiPen directions during a reaction could literally mean the difference between life and death.
"I talk to them about peanut allergy and honestly I try to scare them," she explained. "I tell them 'you're going to be the one who has to save their life.'

Posted on: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:04am
SpudBerry's picture
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Joined: 07/23/2002 - 09:00

Who is this Kim Rysztak? Can we elect her for our country's president? We're in need of a good one!
------------------
Sherlyn
Mom to 6 year old twins Ben & Mike - one PA & the other not.
Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

Posted on: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:04am
SpudBerry's picture
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Joined: 07/23/2002 - 09:00

Who is this Kim Rysztak? Can we elect her for our country's president? We're in need of a good one!
------------------
Sherlyn
Mom to 6 year old twins Ben & Mike - one PA & the other not.
Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

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