Local News

March 23, 2014

No nuts about it

Free food allergy awareness event Saturday

When Julie Sane’s daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at just a year old, Sane was lost.

The pediatrician told her Harper, who is now 7, was breaking out because of a peanut allergy, but didn’t give her anymore information, she said.

“We didn’t have food allergies in our family,” said Sane, a resident of Murray County. “She was the first on either side. ... I didn’t know anything about food allergies. I didn’t know anything about EpiPens (an auto-injector of epinephrine used to treat anaphylaxes). It took a while to figure out that a board-certified allergist is the best way to go.”

By the time Harper was 3, Sane still hadn’t met anyone with the same struggles her family was facing. Harper is allergic to all nuts and can have a reaction just by being exposed through cross-contamination.

Sane has since become the leader of a support group called No Nuts Moms of Dalton. The group is hosting a free food allergy awareness event on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Mack Gaston Community Center in Dalton that will feature a concert by Kyle Dine. Dine is a musician who specializes in raising food allergy awareness through upbeat songs and puppets.

Representatives of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) and the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team and a board certified allergist will be at the event to answer questions about food allergies.

“A lot of people think it’s itchy hives, and they don’t understand your throat can close up or your blood pressure can drop,” Sane said. “Three hundred fifty people die each year from food allergies. That doesn’t seem like a lot when you think about all the deaths in a year, but you think of that mother, and that’s a lot.”

Everyone is welcome at the event, not just those with food allergies or parents of those with food allergies. Sane said she hopes parents whose child has a friend or a classmate with a food allergy will take advantage of the event.

“Experts will be there so it’s not just like asking a mom questions,” Sane said. “This is asking someone who has done the research.”

Companies are required by law to label if their products contain one of the top eight contributors to food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. But there are other food allergens, and they are not required to be labeled. People will be on hand to answer questions about these other allergens as well.

There will be free samples of allergy-friendly foods, but there will be no eating during the event, Sane said. All foods given out will be nut free, but some may contain soy or wheat, she said. The foods will be packaged so as not to contaminate.

Dine lives with several food allergies. Sane had been wanting to meet him for awhile.

When Harper was 3, she was sad about her allergy.

“We came across Dine, and he took the time to Skype with her and talk to her,” Sane said. “We really wanted to see his show.”

So Sane decided to do what she could to host her own show. Businesses are sponsoring the event to keep it free for the community. Sponsors are the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team, Textile and Rubber Chemical Co. and the Handmade Pet Co.

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