Don’t have thousands of followers on social media? You still have a lot more influence than you think, especially when it comes to food allergy awareness.
Last month, the world celebrated Food Allergy Awareness Week – a spectacular seven day campaign designed to help society understand food allergies a little bit better. People around the world participated by sharing infographics, stories, reels, relatable memes, and articles to spread awareness and show solidarity for those living with this life-altering condition. But once the week was over, many may have been left wondering whether all those retweets and shares actually made a difference.
Our answer? YES.
Because food allergies are so commonly misunderstood, being an active advocate for those living with the condition is an important way to help shape a more allergy-friendly future. But for regular folks without large follower bases (or much time to spare), what does being an “active advocate” even mean? Thankfully, raising food allergy awareness can be as easy as modeling allergy-friendly behavior in your daily life – no fancy graphics, spare change, or carefully choreographed reels required!
Here are our five favorite ways to make food allergy advocacy easy, effective, and simple enough for anyone to practice every day:
- Educate others, especially one-on-one
Have you ever heard the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? The same applies for raising food allergy awareness. Take the time during conversations with friends or family to share information about food allergies, point out good (or bad) examples of allergen labeling at restaurants, or discuss a related article you saw recently. Seeing allergy awareness in action is one of the best ways to show non-allergic loved ones that living with food allergies really is a full time job.
- Share your personal experiences and unique perspective often
For those living a life where allergies aren’t a major concern, it’s easy to misunderstand how big of a deal they are to others. That’s why we believe sharing your food allergy story is one of the most powerful tools you have to shape a person’s perspective on this life-altering condition. Whether you write a short poem, create art inspired by your journey, or take part in a social media campaign like #PeanutAllergyStrong, sharing your unique experiences with others can help them realize that food allergies are much closer to home than they thought. For others living with food allergies, hearing personal accounts from people who “get it” is a great way to help them feel supported and heard, fostering confidence and often reducing feelings of loneliness. It’s a win-win!
- Support allergy-friendly brands, businesses, and vendors
If speaking out directly isn’t your style, don’t fret. Practicing advocacy can also mean intentionally supporting brands that share your values and prioritize inclusivity towards food allergic folks. Next time you’re shopping for groceries, try to substitute a product you would normally buy for a similar product made by a smaller top-9 free brand. It’s a simple, easy way to show your support for businesses trying to provide options for people with food allergies – and you never know, you might even discover a new favorite snack while you’re at it!
- Find ways to make your life more allergy-friendly, even if you don’t have allergies
You don’t have to live with food allergies to make your own lifestyle more allergy-friendly. In fact, it’s a great way to show friends and family with and without food allergies that you support safety and fun for everyone. Purchasing and using alternatives (such as nut butter alternatives or dairy free milks), washing your hands frequently to avoid contaminating surfaces, being aware of what you order when out to dinner with allergic friends, and always asking what you can do to accommodate food allergies or sensitivities are simple ways that you can help normalize food allergies and raise awareness every day.
- Engage with advocacy groups on social media and beyond
Something we love about the food allergy community is that there are so many wonderfully skilled people and groups working hard to raise awareness in unique ways. If you’ve got time or cash to spare, there are endless opportunities to get involved with these organizations by donating, volunteering for events, or signing petitions. Looking for a more accessible way to support food allergy education and research? Believe it or not, you can do a lot of good from the comfort of your couch! Something as simple as “liking”, “sharing”, or “saving” a post on a social media platform is incredibly helpful, since these platforms typically reward more engaging posts by sharing them to a wider audience. That means the more people interact with a post, the more people are likely to see it. So next time you find a food allergy infographic or reel you love that shares accurate and helpful information, give it a like and a share – it really does help!
Advocacy doesn’t have to stop after the energy and excitement of Food Allergy Awareness Week has passed. No matter who you are, how many people know you, or how you choose to participate, you have the power to create a more welcoming future for people living with food allergies. Just like every tidal wave begins as a ripple, one conversation could spur significant progress towards food allergy awareness – all you have to do is start!
About Intrommune Therapeutics
At Intrommune, we are dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of the over 220 million people worldwide who suffer from life-altering food allergies. Our revolutionary oral mucosal immunotherapy (OMIT) treatment platform is a patient-friendly solution that conveniently incorporates allergy immunotherapy into a patient’s established teeth brushing routine. Our lead product, INT301, is in Phase 1/2 clinical trials for peanut allergy desensitization.
Explore our website to learn more about our mission to develop simple, safe and effective solutions for food allergy sufferers so that they and their loved ones can live without fear.
Blog photo by Burst on Unsplash, licensed for use under the Unsplash License.