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A Day in the Life of Managing a Severe Food Allergy

In May 2015, our family was changed forever. While on an elementary school field trip, our youngest son (age 6) had a severe, anaphylactic reaction after eating a bite of a protein bar. After an anxiety-filled ambulance ride, several doses of epinephrine, and a 5 hour ER stay, his reaction subsided. We took him to see a local allergist to determine the cause of his reaction, and testing revealed he has a severe allergy to all tree nuts. We thought avoiding foods with tree nut ingredients would be sufficient, but as we did more research, we discovered that a reaction can be triggered by eating foods that are merely processed in a facility that also handles tree nut products. As a result, we carry Epipens and Benadryl wherever we go.

Since our society revolves around food, we struggle every day with managing his food allergy - whether it is checking with the chefs at restaurants to ensure there is no tree nut contamination or planning ahead to bring nut-free food items he can eat at birthday parties and other events that have food of unknown sources. His condition has brought much stress and anxiety to keep him safe, to ensure we minimize the number of reactions and trips to the ER and to make him feel included in activities (such as a swim team pizza party or a school holiday celebration) that others take for granted. Out of the need to help improve the quality of life for our family and everyone who lives with a food allergies, we have started a company called Faedadal LLC (Food Allergen Education, Advocacy & Alignment to provide a common ground to give everyone an opportunity to live life to the fullest while staying safe and healthy.

In addition to providing educational resources through Faedadal, our goal with this blog is to help our communities better understand a day in the life of someone who has a food allergy to build understanding & compassion, to offer a sounding board for those struggling and frustrated with food allergies and to provide a forum to share best practices when managing food allergies.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it so well "to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch ... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!"

Join us in this endeavor.

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