Caleb gave a speech in front of his school in preparation for Food Allergy Awareness Week.
Hello. My name is Caleb Cole. I am a 1st grader in Ms. Rubio’s class. Next week is Food Allergy Awareness Week and I wanted to talk to you about food allergies.
I am allergic to peanuts. There are many different foods you can be allergic to. The most common besides peanuts are tree nuts, milk, fish, wheat, shellfish, soy and eggs. My little sister is allergic to eggs.
Question: Raise your hand if you have a food allergy? What are you allergic to?
Being allergic to a food means your body thinks that food is bad and so when you eat, your body doesn’t like it and it makes you sick.
Over 12 million Americans have food allergies and about 3 million of them are kids.
Right now there is no cure for food allergies. The only way to stay safe is to avoid them. That means to not eat what you are allergic to.
My mom and dad always have to check every label before I eat a food to make sure it is safe. Sometimes foods that you wouldn’t think would have what you are allergic to do.
You also can’t eat food that is made in the same place that has what you are allergic to. I can never eat ice cream from an ice cream shop or ice cream truck because they are not safe. When I go to a birthday party my mom has to make me cupcakes to take because I can’t eat food from a bakery. I can’t have these things because there are usually peanuts around and they may have touched the food and will make me sick if I eat them.
Food allergies can be life threatening. Just one bite can cause a reaction. Some people have a reaction by touching or inhaling a food.
The most common reactions are hives, itchy rash, stomach pains, vomiting, tingling, itching, and swelling of the lips, tongue or mouth. It can cause coughing, trouble breathing, wheezing, drop in blood pressure or passing out. That is called Anaphylaxis. That is what the doctors think will happen to me if I eat a peanut. That is why I have to carry an epi-pen. My epi-pen has epinephrine in it. That is a medicine that will help make the reaction not as bad.
This is what an epi-pen looks like. If I have a reaction they will give me a shot and then I have to go to the hospital.
Just like my parents try to keep me safe by watching what foods I eat, everyone at school can help keep us kids with food allergies safe too.
How can you help a friend who has a food allergy? You can be a PAL. That means Protect a Life from Food allergies.
1st. Food Allergies are serious. Don’t make jokes about them.
2nd. Don’t share food with friends who have food allergies.
3rd. Wash your hands after eating.
4th. Ask your friends what they are allergic to and help them avoid it.
And most important…If a friend who has food allergies becomes ill, get help very fast.
Last year on March 9th, a 14 year old girl from here in AZ named Anna Aguirre accidently ate a breakfast cereal that had peanuts in it. She went into Anaphylactic Shock. She was taken to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and spent a long time in ICU. She is still in the hospital a year later. Her friends gave her the cereal and didn’t realize it had peanuts in it. That is why it is important to know your friend’s allergy and try to help them eat foods that are safe. It really can save their life.
Let’s see if you remember some facts I told you. If you get the question right, you can have a PAL book mark.
1. What is a food allergy?
2. What foods are people allergic to?
3. What are some of the reactions it can cause?
4. What is the name of the medicine you have to take if you have a reaction?
5. What can you do to help a friend who has an allergy?
Don’t forget to be PAL and Protect a Life from Food Allergies.