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Clear Up Family Feuds Over Food Allergies And Asthma

Peace-keeping Tips From Leading Patient Education Organization

MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "If it's December, many families are feuding over food allergies and asthma. Count on it," says Nancy Sander, president and founder of the nonprofit patient education organization Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA).

Throughout the year, families with food allergies, asthma and a history of anaphylaxis avoid the things that make them sick. Then, from Thanksgiving to New Year's, happy holidays explode in excesses of allergens, irritants, viruses and germs that overwhelm fragile immune systems and family dynamics.

Unless families know what to do going into the season, Norman Rockwell visions of the holiday are likely to be dashed.

"Feuds start innocently enough," says Sander. "We hear scenarios like this as families gather each year:

One asks, "How can little Johnny be allergic to EVERYTHING?" Another adds, "Poor thing. I bet if we gave him a brownie he'd be just fine." Another laughs, "His mother is the nut case." Ha, ha, ha.

Another: "Watch. When they get here, she'll make him sit alone with food she brought. Then after we eat, we'll all have to get up and wash our hands before we touch him."

A third says, "Listen here, she means the best for Johnny. But when she wanted everyone to eat a milk-, egg- and nut-free dinner, I put my foot down. I offered to cook for Johnny, but she declined."

Then: "We all know that Johnny gets sick when he eats some things and he's got asthma. So there'll be no smoking or poking fun. They are learning their way through all of this so let's just do the best we know and have a good time. Got it?"

"The best medicine is a clear understanding of the facts," says Sander. "Board-certified allergists can test and evaluate children for relevant food and environmental allergens and provide strategic plans for living without family stress, isolation and fear. Parents should expect nothing less."

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics offers families these peace-keeping holiday tips:

  1. Don't share or offer food to babies or children other than your own.
  2. Use one serving spoon per dish to avoid food allergen cross-contamination.
  3. Do not leave food where children can reach and share unless it is okay to be enjoyed by all.
  4. Seat young children with food allergies between family members who can help them learn table manners that include no food sharing, using utensils and napkins rather than fingers. Remember, food allergens must not touch the food allergic child's mucosal membranes such as the mouth, eyes, nose or opening on the skin.
  5. Take a no smoking pledge and make the holiday more breathable for everyone!
  6. Teach young children with a history of anaphylaxis to carry epinephrine auto-injectors wherever they go. Clip AANMA's Epi Everywhere! Every Day!™ bag tags to backpacks where the devices are stored. Bag tags are available free through Anaphylaxis Community Expert (ACE) programs in 250 communities nationwide or for $3.00 from AANMA at 800-878-4403.

Food allergy reactions range from mild-but-uncomfortable to severe-and-life-threatening, such as anaphylaxis. Asthma can also range in severity. Often, symptoms of one are confused for the other. The fact is, many families will witness food allergies, anaphylaxis and asthma attacks this holiday season. Visit to learn the symptoms and treatment and call 800-878-4403 to order a free single copy of Anaphylaxis: A Guide for All of Us to learn more about food allergies, asthma and anaphylaxis.


Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. AANMA specializes in sharing family-friendly, medically accurate information through its award-winning publications Allergy & Asthma Today magazine and The MA Report newsletter, its web site at and numerous community outreach programs. Follow AANMA on Facebook at and on Twitter at

About ACEs

The Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACEs) program is developed by Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), sponsored by Mylan Specialty, LP. The ACEs program goal is to save lives through showing parents, teachers, school nurses, emergency responders, and others how to recognize and respond immediately to anaphylaxis symptoms.

Contact: Gary Fitzgerald
Allergy & Asthma Network
Mothers of Asthmatics
[email protected]

SOURCE Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics

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