Just a short reflection and note today…
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might know that I’m in the midst of preparing several grant applications and scholarly presentations. I’ve also had the chance to chat with some amazing food allergy folks one-on-one since the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference.
Putting 2 and 2 together, I realized that I have a great opportunity to teach audiences who may be less familiar with food allergies – scientific funding agencies and social scientists – about the most pressing concerns faced by people with the condition. Some of these concerns might be things that I’m taking for granted, or that only a subset of the food allergy community is thinking about. So, I’m looking for some help from my readers. I want to know what’s important to you!
As an example, one topic that I haven’t written much about yet is the different challenges faced by adults with food allergies versus parents of food allergic kids. I’ve had this conversation so many times in the past week that I think I need to make sure I address it in at least some of my upcoming work. I’ve noticed that some parents just aren’t even thinking about how their experience differs from adults with their own food allergies, and that some adults recognize how their experience is different from kids and parents but don’t bring it up because they don’t want to make a fuss or draw attention to themselves. I’m learning that this is a very important aspect of food allergy “culture,” especially for adults with food allergies, and it seems like an important point to communicate to outside audiences. Hopefully this can help others understand the needs of the food allergy community and what might be done to improve life with food allergies.
So what’s your #1 worry, interest, or question about food allergies that you would want communicated to scientific audiences outside the food allergy world?
I think my number one worry is related to that adult/parent divide. I want to know what my child's life will look like but also I am already seeing previews when people call for consultations because a restaurant has given them food they're allergic to and then caused anaphylaxis. Every single one of those people doesn't want to “be a bother” but as a parent I'm thinking these are the battles that need fighting so all people can engage in the major life activity of eating without fear. I also actually worry about what I've read re: pregnancy and anaphylaxis – I read somewhere that a pregnant mom can miscarry if she has a reaction and I can't find the source but it weighs on my mind as the mother of a girl. Thanks for all you do, Danya!
My husband has multiple food allergies and it amazes me how many times he's excluded or the entire family is excluded from work events or invites from friends. Another concern is that most people associate anaphylaxis with food allergies. Not everyone with food allergies has the same type of reaction, but it doesn't make it any less painful or concerning.
Yes, there are different challenges as an adult with food allergies, but the worry is still there especially for the spouse. Do his coworkers know where his epi-pen is if he ever needs help? And do they know how to use it? Do the kids understand dad's diet and needs? Thanks for this, excited to read more on your research.
So interesting that you're both bringing up things that have come up in conversation this week! Certainly, the adults vs. children point resonated for both of you – though in different ways than I was thinking! Homa, great point about the fact that children GROW UP INTO adults. How will they manage the transition, and how will food allergies affect the next generation? And allergyfriendly4, it keeps coming up that adults experience – notice? report? care about? – a wide range of symptoms related to food, whereas a lot of parents home in on anaphylaxis in children. Thanks for the comments, I will keep them in mind!