To get the school community involved, Bowen is calling on students nationwide to join the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge™. Students in grades 1-12 are encouraged to visit www.Anaphylaxis101.com and submit an essay describing an idea to help their school become more aware of and better prepared to support students who may be at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions. Fifteen students from across the country will be selected by a judging panel to win a $2,000 college scholarship.
"My son is only five, but he has already started to take responsibility for his life-threatening allergies and become his own advocate," said Bowen, who will star in a public service announcement (PSA) about anaphylaxis. "Through the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge, students across the country will have the opportunity to educate their peers and help everyone be more aware of life-threatening allergies."
Food allergy is the most common cause of anaphylaxis, though it can also be triggered by insect stings, medications, latex or other allergens. It is estimated that one in 13 children in the U.S. suffer from a food allergy and a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the incidence increased 18 percent from 1997 to 2007. Up to 1,500 deaths each year are caused by life-threatening allergic reactions.
"Anaphylaxis is a significant public health issue in our nation's schools, where accidental exposures to allergens may occur," said Hemant Sharma, M.D., associate chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "We need to make sure everyone responsible for the safety of children in schools knows how to identify and avoid allergic triggers, recognize anaphylaxis signs and symptoms, and understand how to quickly get appropriate treatment and immediate medical care when a life-threatening allergic reaction occurs."Get Schooled In Anaphylaxis Challenge™ Entry InformationThe Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge™ encourages school-aged children in grades 1-12 to write a brief essay and submit up to two visual images. Submissions should explain an idea to:
- Improve awareness of life-threatening allergies in schools;
- Help students who may be at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions feel more accepted in their school; or
- Provide a unique solution to a challenge faced by students who may be at risk for anaphylaxis.