I am a 14-year-old with a severe food allergy to peanuts. I am a member of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network's Teen Advisory Board and I am very active on the issue of food-allergy awareness. People often don't realize the severity and frequency of food allergies. Approximately 11 million Americans have a food allergy, the majority of this group being children and teens.
As a teen, it is extremely hard to deal with food allergies. Legislation to address awareness and preparedness guidelines, HR 4063, with 66 co-sponsors, was introduced in Congress last fall. I went to Washington, D.C., last fall to lobby our legislators for this bill. This needs to be passed by both houses. Food allergy affects more children than Juvenile Diabetes.
In the last five years, the American incidence of allergy to peanuts has increased fivefold. Ninety percent of elementary schools in America have five to 10 students with food allergy. May 14-20 is Food Allergy Awareness Week. As there is no cure or preventive treatment, awareness and planning are our current best hope. For all those who seek more information, please visit The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Web site.