If you are looking for a means of explaining the seriousness of food allergies to your child’s school or a caregiver consider showing them, or ask them to watch, the hour long documentary, “An Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America.”
The documentary was produced by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) and The Discovery Channel. Narrated by Steve Carell, it does an excellent job of conveying what it is like to live with a peanut or other food allergy.
The film’s effectiveness comes from traversing the U.S. to profile individuals or families facing the daily challenge of managing food allergies. Filmmakers also interviewed several food allergy experts including Dr. Ruchi Gupta (Northwestern University), Dr. Hugh Sampson (Mount Sinai), Dr. Kari Nadeau (Stanford University), and Dr. Hemant Sharma (Children’s Natl. Medical Center).
A CDC report indicates that since the late 1990s, the incidence of children with food allergies has increased 50 percent. Up to 15 million individuals are currently living with a food allergy in the U.S. The Discovery documentary was created to spread awareness of this growing concern. It also covers therapies being developed to prevent life-threatening allergic reactions.
Three More Resources For Schools and Caregivers
A free online interactive course is available (allergyready.com) to help educators prepare for students with food allergies, and the possibility of anaphylaxis. It was created specifically for teachers, administrators, nurses, and other school staff in the U.S.
A tool kit designed for school nurses was created through cooperation of the CDC, the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the National School Boards Association, and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. It is on the NASN website under Tools and Resources.
To teach kids about food allergies, PBS offers a DVD called “Binky Goes Nuts,” starring the cartoon character Arthur. It shows children how to make their school a safer place for those with an allergy (go to shop.pbskids.org).