Can anyone explain what it is about this time of year? Nearly a year ago, I was lamenting that I wanted to crawl back under a food allergy rock and not pay attention to all of the deaths that were happening, one on top of the other. Now, here we are in mid-October and we've had three in the span of the last month. The summer months were blissfully sparse in news of food allergy deaths, and yet here we are, a few months into the school year and prepping for fall/winter holidays, and the deaths are piling up. And all of them teenagers. Can anyone speculate as to WHY?
We know teenagers are the highest-risk group, but even so, I'm beginning to dread this time of year. Is it because the beginning of the school year is a time when people to want to fit in? Impress their friends and new classmates, and admitting to (or properly preparing for) food allergies seems like a waste of time or, worse yet, uncool?
Or is it that with all the newness of a new school year, sometimes our safety precautions get forgotten? Even returning to the same school is new--new grade, new locker, new teachers, new clothes and backpack, new supplies, new classmates, newer and harder classes. Is this just too much for the teenage mind to manage?
Or could it be that with school celebrations and upcoming holidays, food is more prevalent and part of our celebrations, and when we're surrounded by so much bounty it's easier to slip up?
I don't know if any of my speculations are part of the big picture, but I do know that this seems to be a dangerous time. Please take care of your loved ones this year. Our kids may hate it when we constantly remind them of the same thing, over and over, but keep reminding them to bring their epinephrine--to school and when going out with friends. Make sure the school office has a backup, even if your teenager is (hopefully) self-carrying. Set alarms, download apps, post notes by the door, wait by the door with epi in-hand.... but do whatever it takes to make sure your kids remain prepared. And if YOU have allergies, don't leave home without it either.
Epi will save a life. Let's all take care of each other this holiday season.
Morgan Elizabeth Crutchfield
October 5, 2015
September 21, 2015
September 18, 2015