As a food allergy advocate and parent of two children with food allergies, my mantra is "scrutinize every morsel of food, beverage or medication" that will enter your body. Living with food allergies requires Sherlock Holmes-like skill in keeping allergens out of the body. This means that as the COVID-19 vaccination becomes more available, people managing or caring for those who have food allergies need to apply their super-sleuthing abilities to confirm the vaccination's safety.
It can be challenging to not respond emotionally to headlines warning readers of allergic reactions. But this is the exact moment we need to turn to science and logic. Several leading food allergy-related health organizations and experts have weighed in to reassure people living with food allergies of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccinations' safety.
Concerned about food allergy risks? Seek expert advice.
Delivering an easy-to-understand message is the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in the recently released, "ACAAI Updates Guidance on Risk of Allergic Reactions to mRNA Covid-19 Vaccinations."
This statement eased my fears immediately as I read the words of trusted experts who have influenced my own family's food allergy management journey. Searching Google for advice has never been a reliable resource. However, it is essential to use the internet to discover conversations and questions necessary for caregivers and patients to hold with healthcare professionals.
Be wary of websites that look legitimate but are not peer-reviewed or medically vetted. My family's general rule is always to seek out medically vetted websites like Immunize Nevada, national organizations, or our own board-certified allergist/immunologist. Each person's individual medical history impacts treatments and protocol for managing food allergies or any health-related condition. We are all as medically unique as our personalities!
Questions need answers
I seek answers which are specific and shared using easy-to-understand explanations and ones that are consistent with other health care professionals. The Immunize Nevada FAQ page directly answers this question: Should I be concerned about the severe allergic reactions experienced by a few vaccine recipients? I was able to compare answers from the question mentioned above to a podcast I host for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). In episode 49, "COVID-19 Vaccinations, Safety and the Impact of Food Allergies." In it, Dr. Shahzad Mustafa, FAACT Medical Advisory Board Chair, explains in simple lay terms, why the mRNA vaccinations are appropriate for people with food allergies, including information about those who should not receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Dr. Mustafa also shares why it is crucial to speak with your board-certified allergist if you believe you or someone you are caring for should not receive the vaccination.
Comfort and resilience
Making a vaccination decision can feel overwhelming and your concerns should be addressed. And access to medically vetted information is critical to feeling confident about your decision. I found it fascinating and comforting when I learned about the vaccinations' background and why experts believe they are safe. I find peace of mind knowing people managing food allergies have safe options. If you have concerns, please speak to a medical professional about vaccinations, drugs, or anything you put into your body to make safe and informed choices for you and your family.
I take comfort in knowing that Nevadans are some of the most resilient people in America. I look forward to the day that the Covid-19 pandemic is in our rearview window and we are back together in full Nevada style: working together to make our slice of the United States a great place to live.
Quick Covid-19 vaccination resources for people with food allergies
- ACAAI Updates Guidance on Risk of Allergic Reactions to mRNA Covid-19 Vaccinations" — American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Statement
- FAACT's Resource Page for Coronavirus (COVID-19) — Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). Note: this page is updated as new vaccine, and other Covid-19 information is released — including self-care and stress management tools for adults and children.
- Podcast: COVID-19 Vaccinations, Safety and the Impact of Food Allergies," Dr. Shahzad Mustafa, FAACT Medical Advisory Board Chair
- Likely More Than One Cause for COVID-19 Reactions — Allergic Living
- FAQ on: Allergy Concerns and the mRNA Covid-19 Vaccination — Allergic Living
- As FDA Approves Covid-19 Vaccine Experts Seek to Calm Allergy Fears — Allergic Living