Friday, October 11, 2013

Washington D.C. Taken Over By Anaphylaxis

NEA Building
On October 5, 2013 Washington, D.C. was unknowingly overtaken with a slew of anaphylaxis experts. While the government was shut down, the thoughts and hopes of how to improve the lines of communication for the importance of preventing and treating allergic reactions was bubbling over with excitement. Tucked away in the NEA (National Education Association) building were more than fifty people that were gathered to not only share their ideas but to try to come up with solutions. After all, isn't that what is keeping us from having more control of anaphylaxis and reactions is a solution?

Great Information!
I have to first say thank you to Allergy & Asthma  Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)  for not only inviting me to be a part of this great event but also for hosting it. It was an honor to be in the presence of so many people. I also want to send out a thank you to Mylan Specialty for sponsoring this. For those of you who may not be familiar with AANMA, their site contains tons of information for asthma, allergies and other related conditions and offers many varieties of advocacy and education. They have great tips, memberships, pod casts and even a birthday club. I highly recommend this site to anyone who is need of guidance and support in conjunction with their usual support system.
Dr. Michael Pistiner, AllergyHome



Dr. Sandra Gawchik & Sue Lockwood

The Big Question-
I guess you are all wondering who, what, where when and why, isn't that what all stories are made up of? We were lucky enough to have several guest speakers including one call-in speaker that consisted of Sue Lockwood & Dr. Sandra Gawchik- American Latex Allergy Association, Jennie Young - National Education Association (NEA), Dr. John Lee & Dr. Michael Pistiner - AllergyHome, Kimberly Turner -  Allergy & Asthma  Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), Dr. Matthew Greenhawt (via telephone), Dr. Stanley Fineman - Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, Tia Campbell - Virginia Department of Education, Lisa Albert - Elizabethtown High School, Jon Terry - Allergy Advocacy Association and Dr. Jacqueline Eghrari-Sabet - Family Allergy & Asthma Care.We were also given a copy of Dr. Alan Wanderer's book "Anaphylaxis- A Medical Thriller" and even had the chance to chat and get an autograph.
Dr. John Lee
Lisa Rutter & Me
Elizabeth DiBurro,
Dr. John Lee &
Lindsey Steffensen
     
 I was also overjoyed to see some of my blogger buddies there as well, especially since I had no idea who else was going. (Who likes surprises- I do! I do!)
Lisa Rutter - No Nuts Mom Group, Elizabeth DiBurro - EBL Food Allergies, Lindsey Steffensen - Frugal Food Allergies and Libby Ilson - The Allergic Kid.

What Was Discussed?
Dr. Ruchi Gupta
With so much to cover, I can truly say that AANMA did a wonderful job providing us with a binder full of all of the slides that were presented as well as even more helpful information. Most of the discussions reminded us of some very important tips but Dr. Michael Pistiner summed it up the best- ACT
Avoid
Communicate
Teach

With so many different avenues that reactions could occur, it is important to find the triggers. Make sure communication is clear and open and be prepared since an allergic reaction can happen at a moment's notice. We all need to come together so that we can come up with a better plan that will be more effective in not only treating anaphylaxis but to possibly avoid it. Being proactive should not just be limited to other allergic friends and family- information should, no needs to be shared with all types of people. Why? Because an allergic reaction can happen to anyone at any time. The more information that is used as common knowledge, the more others will begin to see that allergies are not so unfamiliar but actually turning into today's daily challenges. Each year, food allergies increase but there is an upside to this- each year, so does the research to help us understand it.


What Can I Do?
There are numerous ways to help spread knowledge about anaphylaxis, it all depends on what is the best avenue for you. Whether it be starting a local support group, communicating with school staff, sharing various websites and pages, donations; it is gladly a never-ending funnel of what can I share next. I can tell you that each time I attend a summit or a webinar, it leaves me with new hopes and goals on how to increase my awareness as well as with others. The important thing to remember is that no gesture is too small- if your lifestyle allows for a small amount of help, that's still help that would not have been previously given out to those who need to know. Not everybody is expected to join every group or set up every local school board with all of the best pointers on what we need. It's all about multiple people helping and paying it forward so that we can lean on each other. A bridge is not a bridge without multiple pieces- with all of the necessary items to secure it, it becomes a safe and useful item for everyone. It doesn't matter if you are a piece of the bridge or a builder, just as long as the bridge is made. As best stated by Isaac Newton "We build too many walls and not enough bridges."
Photo courtesy of 123RF.com

Please be sure and check out all of the other photos and information regarding the summit on Twitter under #USAANASUMMIT.

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