Simplifying life for families with food allergies
Practical food allergy management strategies to save lives and improve the quality of life for children and their families.
Among many areas of interest are advocacy, access to care and treatment, food allergy innovation, education, psychosocial implications of living with food allergy. One of the unique ways we provide this help is through our award-winning online community.
Erin Malawer is a digital health entrepreneur and food allergy advocate. Erin serves on the Food Allergy Task Force at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. She is the founder of AllergyHealth, a joint initiative with Comcast/NBCUniversal, that brings expert guidance and up-to-date information to patients and caregivers. Erin advises pharmaceutical companies, tech start-ups, food manufacturers, media outlets, restaurants, and others on food allergies.
With ten years experience training school administrators, teachers and staff about food allergy management, Erin thoroughly enjoys spending time in the classroom educating children about living with food allergies.
Among her many areas of interest are advocacy, access to care and treatment, food allergy innovation, education, psychosocial implications of living with food allergy. Through her organization, Erin is focused on helping the at-risk and underserved community living with food allergies.
Born a severely allergic child, my son first reacted to milk at six months old and was officially diagnosed with a wide array of food allergies by fifteen months. I was overwhelmed. Like many parents, I didn’t grow up with food allergies (nor did anyone I knew). Throughout my pregnancy I had imagined that we’d one day make cookies together, maybe sneak in a bite of pizza. But with milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanut, tree nut, corn and sesame seed allergies (nevermind his allergy to my two dogs!), those dreams felt impossible. I deeply mourned the loss of these hopes and visions until my husband helped me regain perspective, reminding me that there MUST be a way around all of it.
My husband’s voice of reason echoed in my head and I soon began researching and speaking with other parents. It took time, but we figured out that way around – a way that works for our family. My personal philosophy on food allergies was born out of necessity: Not only did the allergies mean that I had to look out for our son physically, but I was worried about him psychologically. I wanted him to understand the dangers of his allergies and take them seriously, but not live in fear of the world around him. It was important to me that he didn’t feel “different” because he had food allergies. We underscore the fact that everyone’s body is unique; his just can’t have certain foods. So, he and I are vigilant about keeping safe, but we shrug it off when he can’t eat something.
In short: Living safely with food allergies doesn’t slow us down and I hope this blog makes it easier for you and your family as well!
It goes without saying: please talk to your doctor about all allergy-related issues. These suggestions are just tips and information our family has gleaned to make living with food allergies simpler.