Food Allergy Week is held every year in May. The aim is to raise awareness about food allergy in Australia and therefore help reduce the risk of a reaction for people with food allergies and help manage potentially life-threatening emergencies when they happen.
According to Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the developed world. And while the most common triggers, causing 90 percent of allergic reactions are egg, cow’s milk, peanut, tree nuts (like almonds), sesame, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish, you can actually be allergic to any food.
It’s also really important to know the difference between a true food allergy, food intolerances, or foods that just may not agree with you. For example, I have been medically diagnosed as having a nut allergy*, however I know if I eat too much chilli, my skin breaks out the next day. That skin break out, while uncomfortable and inconvenient, is not an allergic reaction. So, I am not allergic to chilli, but I know it doesn’t agree with me.
So, here is a fantastic infographic from Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia that illustrates the symptoms of a TRUE allergic reaction to food.
The infographic mentions administering an ‘adrenaline autoinjector’. This is also commonly known as an EpiPen. As part of the awareness campaign, there is also a video on how to give someone having an allergic reaction an EpiPen. And no, contrary to popular belief, you don’t jab it straight into the chest Pulp Fiction style! I highly recommend you watch it – even if it is so that you know what an EpiPen looks like.
- Looking for somewhere ‘safe’ to eat? Check out my list of Allergy Friendly Restaurants Melbourne
- What is the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance? This post explains
- I wrote an open letter to Melbourne cafes about making coffee with almond milk
- Want some nutty crunch without the allergic reaction? My recipe for Roasted Chickpeas is perfect (P.S. all of my recipes are nut free!)
Are you food allergy aware?
* Just a word on ‘medical tests’ for food allergies. There are a lot of BS tests out there claiming that they can diagnose foods you are allergic to. Things like testing your poo sample or testing a sample of your hair don’t have any scientific evidence backing them up. So you are best having a read of this article first from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy on unorthodox testing and saving yourself some money!