I had a chance to email some questions to Allergic Girl colleague and friend Dr Mike Pistiner and his colleague, Dr. John Lee, about their new site with helpful and reliable food allergy information: AllergyHome.org
Allergic Girl: Who are you?
Dr. Pistiner: I’m a pediatric allergist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and an Instructor of Pediatrics for Children’s Hospital Boston. I’m a voluntary consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, School Health Services and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on School Health. I serve on the Medical Advisory Team of the Kids with Food Allergies Foundation and am the author of Everyday Cool with Food Allergies, a children’s book designed to encourage participation in food allergy management.
Dr. Lee: I am on faculty at Children’s Hospital Boston and am the Co-Director of the Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases Program with a specific interest in eosinophilic esophagitis, a GI-food allergic disorder that has been increasing in the pediatric population. In addition, I am the sole designer and programmer for our website.
AG: Why did you create AllergyHome.org?
Drs: We wanted to create a site that not only helps with food allergy education but can also be used to increase awareness and understanding in those without food allergies. As pediatric allergists, we know it is difficult for health care providers to adequately educate families, so it is easy to imagine how difficult it can be for parents to then train their child, babysitters, relatives, parents of friends, or anyone else in the community. We hope to fill this need by offering families and their communities educational tools to assist in this daunting task.
AG: I saw your Food Allergy Awareness Guide at the MA FAAN walk. Could you describe this guide and the reason for creating it?
Drs: We created the Food Allergy Awareness Guide to help parents communicate effectively when they leave their child in someone else’s care, such as at a playdate, birthday party or with a babysitter. It is a one-page sheet that reviews key principles in food allergy management and also has a place where parents can fill out important information that emergency responders may need, such as the child’s food allergies, current location, weight, and contact information for the parents. We came up with this because we know that parents have limited time to train others about food allergy management. In these brief moments it can be hard to remember to provide relevant information, and can be harder for those responsible to accurately remember these details. So this guide can be used as a tool to help in these situations. We are very excited about this since it can be a very useful tool for anyone who will take care of a child with food allergies.
AG: Can you tell us about the slide shows directed toward the parents of children without food allergies?
Drs: This slide show has been designed to increase awareness and understanding of what it takes to manage a child’s food allergies. It is our hope that parents will spread this awareness to their children and the rest of their school community. As a supplement to this slide show there are two additional modules which outline the principles of prevention and preparedness. This increased knowledge in food allergy management can help them provide additional support to the families of kids with food allergies and potentially save a life.
AG: Can you tell us about more about AllergyHome's module to teach kids with and without food allergies?
This four and a half minute slideshow for kids teaches elementary age children WITHOUT food allergies why kids with food allergies need to do things a bit differently. It is designed to increase understanding, encourage children to support their classmates, and discourage bullying. This resource can be used in the classroom as well as a tool to introduce families in the school community to the basic concepts of food allergies.
Thanks Drs Pistiner and Lee for creating such invaluable resources. I look forward to seeing what AllergyHome.org continues to create!