Teal Pumpkins Light the Way for Allergy – Friendly Halloween

This Halloween, teal pumpkins will signal safe treats for trick-or-treaters with food allergies as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, an awareness initiative jointly supported this year by leading food allergy organizations.

Over the past five years, households from every state have participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project, which encourages people to place a teal pumpkin in front of their home to show they have non-food treats, such as toys, available for children with food allergies and medically-necessary dietary restrictions.

Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are among the most common allergens. Additionally, many miniature candy items do not have labels, so it is difficult to determine whether these items are safe.

Taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project is simple: paint a pumpkin teal, or buy one at any number of national retailers, and place it on front of your home to show you have non-food treats. Participants can offer treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, as an alternative to candy.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by a local awareness activity by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee.

To learn more and add a participating home to Teal Pumpkin Project map, visit www.tealpumpkinproject.org.

Australia – Allergies and anaphylaxis under the microscope

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport has commenced an inquiry into allergies and anaphylaxis in Australia.

The Chair of the Committee, Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, said that allergies were seeing a rapid rise in Australia affecting more than four million Australians.

‘Some will experience a life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Over the last 20 years hospital admissions for anaphylaxis has increased five-fold and has a major impact for so many families, schools and child care centres,’ Mr Zimmerman said.

‘While the cause of the increase in allergies remains uncertain, what is clear is that this is a phenomenon found primarily in wealthier western nations like Australia.

‘Severe allergies can be life threatening and this will be an important opportunity for the Parliament to shine a light on how we can better support those at risk.

‘The Committee will be taking a broad look into the potential and known causes of allergies and anaphylaxis, food and drug allergy management, access and cost of services, as well as treatment and support services,’ Mr Zimmerman said.

‘We’re looking forward to hearing from the public, health professionals, and other organisations on how allergies and anaphylaxis is being handled in the wider community. The Committee will investigate whether there is anything further the Government could be doing to make life easier for people living with allergies and anaphylaxis.’

The Terms of Reference of the inquiry also investigate developments into research and prevention of allergies and anaphylaxis, unscientific diagnosis and treatments being used by some consumers, and the impact of unnecessary drug avoidance due to unconfirmed drug allergies.

Submissions from interested individuals and organisations are invited by Thursday 24 October 2019. The preferred method of receiving submissions is by electronic format lodged online using a My Parliament account.

Further information about the Committee’s inquiry, including the full terms of reference and details on how to lodge a submission is available here Click here:

Bear Grylls suffers almost deadly allergic reaction from bee sting while filming new series

The survivalist who is allergic to bee stings, was stung and quickly went into anaphylactic shock while filming his new series Treasure Island.

Sometimes, exposure to an allergen can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Allergies to food, insect stings, medications and latex are most frequently associated with anaphylaxis.

Grylls was on a boat taking a new group of contestants to an island in a remote part of the Pacific on the first day of filming when he was stung by a bee.

Despite initially trying to shrug it off, the allergic reaction caused his face to swell up and he lost consciousness.

Medics brought the former SAS servicemen back from the brink after they injected him with an EpiPen.
Mano Shanmuganathan, a brain surgeon appearing on the show says ‘The irony of Bear the survivalist being stung, having the potential of an allergic reaction, and needing to be treated with an EpiPen, was a bizarre moment’.

Students expelled after leaving teacher with deadly allergy in anaphylactic shock

An American teacher with a potentially fatal banana allergy was hospitalised after being attacked with the fruit by her students.

The art teacher, identified only as Mrs Woods, was working at Starling K-8 school in Columbus, Ohio when the cruel incident occurred last November.

The woman’s banana allergy is well known and so severe her classroom door bears a sign which reads “Banana Free Zone”.

It is accompanied by the clear message: “Mrs Woods is allergic to BANANAS! If you had one today, you must wash your hands before going into the art room. Thank you!”

But that didn’t deter a group of 12 and 13-year-olds from targeting her with a practical joke that seriously backfired.

The group of three students, two boys and one girl smeared bits of banana on Mrs Woods’ classroom door and doorknob, and later threw bananas at her once she was inside the room.

Within 15 minutes, the educator had gone into anaphylactic shock and emergency services was called.

Mrs Woods was rushed to hospital and thankfully recovered from her ordeal.

The students were charged with assault in juvenile court, were expelled and have since served probation.

Columbus City Schools spokesman Scott Wortman says the district hopes it was a “teachable moment” for the students involved and others about “the potentially life-threatening consequences of food allergies.”

Sesame allergies may affect 1.5 million Americans – five times more than previously believed

Thirty-two million Americans have food allergies and new research finds more than a million of them are allergic to sesame.

The study by Northwestern University provided the first up-to-date estimates on the current prevalence of sesame allergy among U.S. children and adults in all 50 states. It was published at the JAMA Network Open journal.

Researchers estimate about .49% of the US population reports having a sesame allergy and .23% had what’s called a “convincing,” or true food allergy, with skin, lung, heart or gastrointestinal symptoms.

The study looked at ongoing regulatory rule-making by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which is currently considering whether sesame should be added to the list of key food allergens for which mandatory product labeling is required.

At this time, only the labeling of the top eight allergenic foods/food groups is required: peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, egg, wheat, soy, and finfish (along with proteins derived from them). A change in policy would align with those in Australia, Europe, New Zealand and Canada, which all have sesame labeling requirements.

Parents Of Children With Food Allergies Can Preboard Plane (USA)

A recent Department of Transportation ruling may transform air travel for passengers with life-threatening food allergies by extending to them the protections afforded other individuals with disabilities.

In September 2016, gate agents for American Airlines refused Nicole Mackenzie’s request to preboard a flight from Portland, Ore., to Charlotte, N.C., to clean the area around the seat assigned to her seven-year-old daughter, who has life-threatening nut and seed allergies.

The family filed a formal complaint with the federal Department of Transportation. Regulators determined that American Airlines had violated the Air Carrier Access Act — roughly the equivalent of the Americans With Disabilities Act, but applicable to the airlines.

The D.O.T. considers severe allergies a disability under the act if they impact a passenger’s ability to breathe or substantially impact another major life activity.

Regulators have reiterated that airlines must offer preboarding to passengers with severe allergies to give them extra time to wipe down seating surfaces.

Mother Warns Food Allergies Can Be In Products You’d Least Expect

Seventh-month-old Lofton Hyde of Baton Rourge, LA. was rushed to the hospital for an anaphylactic reaction after daycare workers dipped his foot in paint for a craft project, paint that apparently had dairy-based ingredients.

His mother Christen Hyde says she had no idea dairy ingredients might show up in craft supplies.

Allergist, Dr. Sandhya Mani, says many parents and caretakers don’t realize how common these ingredients are. Many are not listed on the labels of some craft supplies.
“Children with allergies to milk, wheat, oat, corn, sometimes even soy… these are in multiple arts and crafts projects, including paints, clay, chalk,” Mani explained. She suggests looking for products that list ingredients or are marked allergy-friendly. Mani says it’s a problem that needs to have more awareness brought to it as more kids develop allergies.

New cell found in the Human immune system could control life-threatening allergies

A new cell type that could stop allergies before they begin has been discovered by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

The finding gives hope to people who live with a range of allergic conditions including asthma, eczema and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

“By carefully studying the tonsils of children undergoing routine tonsillectomies, we identified a new cell type of the immune system that may help prevent allergies,” said lead researcher and PhD scholar Pablo F Canete.

“In allergic individuals, the immune system thinks that harmless particles like peanuts, dust or common allergens are a threat.

“The immune system then mounts a response which manifests itself from mild localised symptoms like a runny nose during hay fever season, to very aggressive systemic inflammation like anaphylaxis.”

For people with allergies, when the immune system overreacts to allergens – like pollen, dust or peanut butter – it produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E, (IgE).

The IgE antibodies then trigger a chain of events that result in allergic reactions.

“Our study shows this previously unknown cell prevents the formation of IgE, which is the key trigger of allergic conditions,” said Mr Canete, who is based in the ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research.

“The cell stops the very first step in causing an allergic disease.

“If you don’t have excessive IgE levels, you generally do not develop allergies.”

The discovery could create a new approach for future allergy treatments.

U.S. Ruling Backs Airline Passengers With Food Allergies

Airlines must permit passengers to preboard in order to wipe down seats as a precaution against food allergies, the U.S. Department of Transportation says.

The rule includes adults who have food allergies and parents of children with food allergies.

The decision stems after a complaint was filed, the Department of Transportation says severe allergies should be considered a disability and ruled that American Airlines had violated an act similar to the Americans with Disability Act.

Regulators have reiterated that airlines must offer preboarding to passengers with severe allergies to give them extra time to wipe down seating surfaces.

Australia shows it cares about food allergies

Throughout May, many buildings and bridges around the world lit up in teal for Food Allergy Awareness Month.
‘Turn it Teal’ was started by US mother Stephanie Lowe, with the aim to light as many prominent monuments and buildings in teal,
the shade associated with food allergy awareness.

TRIGGER FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS helped turn the initiative into a global movement in 2017 when the iconic Sydney Town Hall became first building outside North America to take part in the ‘Turn It Teal’movement.
This year, in Sydney, the iconic Sydney Town Hall shined for the third time on Mother’s Day.
Brisbane joined ‘Turn It Teal’ in 2018 and once again this year, illuminating both its Story Bridge and Victoria Bridge.
Perth came aboard last year and this year put the spotlight on food allergy awareness by lighting its Trafalgar Bridge in teal.
Melbourne is the latest Australian city to ‘Turn It Teal’ and lit up the grand Melbourne Town Hall in teal for several days.

TRIGGER Food Allergy Awareness founder Grace Farah says: ‘The Turn It Teal initiative is such a great idea; I knew we had to bring it to Australia… we have had amazing support from the Australian community.’
‘When people see a building or a bridge lit up in teal it starts a conversation and raises food allergy awareness. It also shows our children and families dealing with food allergies every day that Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth care … that Australia cares.’

‘We want to express our heartfelt thanks to all the great people on the Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth councils who have helped light up some of their city’s iconic structures in support of the food allergy community.Thank you for seeing the importance of this initiative and paving the way for other cities and other countries to join in making this a global movement.
Other countries to participate this year included the U.K., Ireland, Dubai and Jordan.’

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