Announcing Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc., A New Georgia Nonprofit that Supports Families, Educates Community about Food Allergies.

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Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc. strives to build a community of families afflicted with food allergies while educating the public about food allergy prevention and the risks involved. Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is Georgia's first formal food allergy support group. About 12 million Americans (1 in 25) have a food allergy and children are the largest group affected. There is currently no cure for food allergies.

“One of the toughest moments as a parent with a newly-diagnosed food allergic child is when you leave the doctor's office, wondering how you will protect your child while dealing with the emotional implications of food allergies."

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc. strives to build a community of families afflicted with food allergies while educating the public about food allergy prevention and the risks involved. Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is Georgia's first formal food allergy support group. About 12 million Americans (1 in 25) have a food allergy and children are the largest group affected. There is currently no cure for food allergies.

Although Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is relatively new, the non-profit has been a labor of love for one of its creators, Karen Harris. Mother to a young daughter with multiple severe food allergies, Harris learned quickly after diagnosis that their lives would be changed forever. In her efforts to reach out and find other food allergy afflicted families, she discovered that there was no formal support group in Atlanta.

“One of the toughest moments as a parent with a newly-diagnosed food allergic child is when you leave the doctor's office, wondering how you will protect your child while dealing with the emotional implications of food allergies,” Harris states. “Suddenly grocery stores, restaurants, schools and churches are danger zones in which your child will be exposed to danger in the form of snacks, meals and desserts.”

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta supports families who manage food allergies, educates those who care for children, and creates a safer environment in the local area for food allergic individuals.

The nonprofit has also created a medical advisory board, a panel of specialists within the local community. In just a short time, Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta is making an impact in the community and local schools, and has been featured on the radio and in local news stories. Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta offers local support meetings and safe events for food allergic children in the Atlanta community. Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta also supports the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and will be a participant in this year’s 2010 Atlanta FAAN Walk. For more information, visit the Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta web site or call 404-512-7983.

Tips for parents of children with newly diagnosed food allergies:

  • Seek medical advice immediately should you suspect a food allergy
  • Find local and national support groups (online, offline) (Kids with Food Allergies, FAAN)
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Pack safe snacks when outside the home

Food Allergy is an immune system response.

It occurs when the body mistakes an ingredient in food -- usually a protein -- as harmful and creates a defense system (antibodies) to fight it. Food allergy symptoms develop when the antibodies are battling the "invading" food.

Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe, and the amount of food necessary to trigger a reaction varies from person to person and can even be triggered by just a trace amount of an allergy-causing food.

Symptoms of a food allergy may include:

  • Rash or hives
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling of the airways to the lungs
  • Anaphylaxis (a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction)

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Jenni Hilton

Karen Harris
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