We can't stop now
Quarantine has required us all to give up a lot of things. One of the things that I’ve missed most is actively being able to do food allergy advocacy work. It’s been very different doing everything online as opposed to speaking with people in person, but I still have found ways to make it work because this is something that’s really important to me. My progress has definitely slowed down, but as long as it’s still going, progress is progress and I’m helping to make this world easier to live in for people with food allergies.
Our school has a weekly news bulletin that’s been online for as long as an online school has been, and while school updates are usually posted, sometimes you can add in a more personal update. So I decided to film a short video on how to use an epi-pen. I brought out my trainer epi-pen and went through the steps of injecting it and what to do after. It was only a few minutes long so I could keep everyone’s attention, so that way I got to the point but it wasn’t boring after the first part. I would definitely recommend for others to do this, especially in a time where we can’t see large groups in person because videos are so easy to share and can reach many different platforms easily. I had taught some of my middle school how to do it a few years ago, but now that I am surrounded by a whole new group of people, I thought it would be important to film a video that all high school students/faculty could have access to. It’s not something huge, but it does raise awareness in a very productive way because it makes it a lot harder to save someone’s life when you don’t know how to use an epi-pen. It’s not very difficult to learn how to do, which is why I think it’s so important to learn and why I’m always shocked by how few people actually know how to inject it.
Additionally, another thing I have worked on is continuing my work with H.R.2117, or the FASTER act. This act has been so important to me and has been a big part of my food allergy work. I’ve discussed this multiple times with one of my congressmen in person but a few weeks ago I further discussed it with someone who works directly under him, and she gave me a couple more resources to have and I’m excited to work with her in the future when things go back to normal. It was also a great reminder that getting the FASTER act passed isn’t the end, there is so much more and so many other acts that we need to support.
Lastly, if everyone who reads this could write a letter protesting the Temporary Food Labeling situation that would be very helpful. I don’t think the FDA quite realizes the impact this will have, as many of us already spend hours a month calling companies to discuss labels like “natural flavors” or “spices” and how potentially fatal this will be to so many food allergy kids who don’t have access to this information. It is claiming that food allergy safety will be taken care of, but that only applies to people who have allergens in the top eight. They are not being conscious of the whole community, and something needs to be done about it. Thank you.