Pepperpike author raises awareness of severe food allergies

Pepper Pike, Ohio — In honor of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month in May, 3News spoke with the author of Pepper Pike about his book for young people that focuses on severe allergies.

According to the CDC, 1 in 13 children have a food allergy, and “more than 40% of children with food allergies in the United States are treated in emergency departments.”

Sarah Coven has written a book about a middle school student who struggles with severe food allergies, and how the middle school student deals with not only allergies, but interactions with classmates (not all of whom are so understanding). increase.

Inspired by two young nephews with severe food allergies, Coven said her book, The One We Left Behind, raised awareness of severe allergies and how people can protect them. I hope you can accept it. Coven explained that after one of his nephews on a family trip touched bread that had unknowingly contained eggs, a food he is allergic to, he experienced anaphylaxis.

Out of love for his nephews, Caven began researching all things allergy related, educating himself and others with the desire to help protect his nephews and other allergic children. gave us the information.

“I wanted to do something to raise awareness, but I had no other choice. Coven spoke about the process of writing the book. this is there. ”

Coven said her mission to publish a book for young people, including middle school students, is to “raise awareness about allergies, the emotional and psychological effects, and bullying, acceptance and tolerance in general.” According to Coven, young people with allergies are dealing not only with potential medical reactions, but often with the social challenges that allergies can entail.

For example, in Coven’s book, characters with allergies are bullied and vilified by their classmates, who don’t understand why they can’t bring certain snacks into the classroom and have separate lunch tables. I’m making fun of you. Characters must eat to stay safe.

“My nephew has had a real life experience where someone thought it was funny to throw a brownie at him,” Coven said, noting that his nephew has severe allergies to brownies, including brownies. Ingredients included. “They were so young, they weren’t trying to kill my nephew, but he was very scared and for good reason.”

Coven has witnessed her nephews grow up, noting birthday parties where they share snacks, restaurants with no obvious allergens, and planes where people sitting nearby might have foods they’re allergic to. We discussed the potential hazards of certain situations, such as enclosed spaces such as stools and buses. May cause allergic reactions.

“I want people to take it seriously and understand that this is someone’s life,” Coven said. “It might be frustrating not to be able to bring peanut butter to school or stuff your child with peanut butter, but another child could literally die or become very ill. That’s funny. No, it’s not an overreaction.”

Dylan Oakley, 13, and Alex Miller, 11, know firsthand how serious allergies can be. Dylan is allergic to nuts and Alex is allergic to nuts and peanuts. Both have had close calls before and carry an EpiPen, an injectable medication that helps combat severe allergic reactions.

Dylan remembers his first allergic reaction in kindergarten when he ate a granola bar without realizing it had pistachios in it. Her mother injected her with an EpiPen and she was taken to the hospital.

“When you eat nuts like cashews and pistachios, your lips get swollen and your throat closes and you can’t breathe,” Dylan said.

Alex’s first allergic reaction was when he was a baby and touched a piece of a nut. His mother remembers the terrifying moment, which she says was her parent’s “worst nightmare.”

“Suddenly, his head started to recede and we could see that his airway was blocked,” recalled Maxine Miller. “We called 911 and luckily they came and gave him an epi and actually it was a very serious reaction and he needed two rounds.”

Dylan and Alex have supportive and protective friends who care about them and keep them from exposing themselves to anything they are allergic to. They’re surrounded by a great community, but at times they felt like strangers.

Dylan said when he was younger, he used to get upset when he couldn’t eat what his friends were eating, and Alex added he didn’t risk eating birthday cake or other treats at parties.

“If people actually knew about my allergies and said, ‘Oh I’m sorry, it’s your fault I won’t eat this,’ that would make me feel very comfortable, and I would be really happy to know that. “They’re protecting me,” Alex said.

Alex and Dylan diligently read the labels on everything they eat, and Dylan said his best friend knew how to administer the EpiPen just in case.

“Most people don’t think about it first unless they have children with allergies or are in a close relationship with someone with allergies,” Maxine admitted. “But that’s what I always think in any situation: ‘Will I get nuts? ‘ Will they be exposed to something that could or might not harm my children?” ”

Both mothers say Coven’s book could be a tool for understanding in middle school and teens.

“I think the most important thing about this book is that it’s written for young people,” said Erin’s mother, Dylan. “I was so happy to hear that Dylan’s friends and high school students were going to read it because they could really see what she was going through on a daily basis. And to her friends, I think that empathy is what Dylan’s real charm is.” Dylan’s life just got a whole lot easier. ”

For more information on Coven’s book, click here.

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