It is Food Allergy Week. This week (26th May – 1st June) aims to raise awareness about food allergy in Australia, to help reduce the risk of a reaction for those living with food allergy and to help manage potentially life-threatening emergencies when they happen.
What constitutes a food allergy?
It is an immune system response to a food protein that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. When the individual eats food containing that protein, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals, triggering symptoms that can affect a person’s breathing, gastrointestinal tract, skin and/or heart.
Signs and symptoms of food allergy can be mild, moderate or severe. An allergic reaction can include; hives, swelling of the lips, face and eyes, abdominal pain, vomiting, swelling of the tongue, swelling of the throat, breathing difficulty, persistent dizziness and/collapse. If left untreated, signs and symptoms related to breathing and heart/blood pressure can be fatal.
What is Anaphylaxis?
Food allergies can be severe, causing potentially life-threatening reactions known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis must be treated as a medical emergency, requiring immediate treatment and urgent medical attention.
Anaphylaxis is a generalised allergic reaction, which often involves more than one body system (e.g. skin, respiratory, gastro-intestinal and cardiovascular). A severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis always involves the respiratory and/or the cardiovascular system. An allergic reaction usually occurs within 20 minutes to two hours of eating even a small amount of the food, and can rapidly become life threatening.
This is a call for all of us at Woodend to be aware and show care for our students, staff and parents/carers who have a food allergy and to take the necessary precautions to prevent a reaction. We thank all the families who have been accommodating of supplying correct foods for their children in classes where there are children with a food allergy.