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WHEREAS, a food allergy is a medical condition in which exposure to a food triggers a harmful immune system response; and
WHEREAS, reactions typically occur when an individual unknowingly eats food containing an ingredient to which they are allergic; and
WHEREAS, as many as 15 million Americans have food allergies, nearly 6 million are children under the age of 18; and
WHEREAS, research shows that the prevalence of food allergies is increasing among children; and
WHEREAS, eight foods cause the majority of all food allergy reactions in the U.S.: fish, shellfish, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, and wheat; and
WHEREAS, symptoms of a food-allergic reaction can include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and swelling of the throat; and
WHEREAS, food allergies result in more than 200,000 emergency care visits a year; and
WHEREAS, the number of food allergy reactions requiring emergency treatment is up sharply over the past decade, with a 377 percent rise in medical procedures associated with anaphylaxis caused by food; and
WHEREAS, there is no cure for food allergies, and strict avoidance of the offending food is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction; and
WHEREAS, anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and can cause death, and prompt administration of epinephrine is crucial to successfully treating anaphylaxis; and
WHEREAS, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 12-18, 2019, as FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.