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April 17th, 2014

New initiative celebrates unsung heroes of severe allergy awareness

Individuals at risk for anaphylaxis – a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction – know the importance of having people around them who can help with allergen avoidance, such as bringing allergy-friendly food options to the company party or helping to shield from bees on the playground. Now, there is a new way to say “thank you” to the teacher, relative or co-worker who has made a difference in the life of an individual at risk for anaphylaxis. Sanofi US has launched a Severe Allergy Awareness Facebook page where individuals have a unique opportunity to create online awards via the “Celebrate Someone” app to recognize an unsung hero of allergy awareness.

Awards can recognize individuals, groups, companies or organizations, and for the first award someone makes, The Sanofi Foundation for North America will donate $ 5 to a patient advocacy group focused on severe allergies – up to $ 100,000 in total. The donations will benefit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Kids with Food Allergies Foundation (KFA) and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

“As a physician and someone at risk for anaphylaxis myself, I can tell you first-hand how reassuring others’ awareness about my severe allergies can be,” says Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, a pediatric allergist, national expert in anaphylaxis and consultant to Sanofi US. “There are a number of people in my life who work to help ensure that I’m safe from my allergens and I look forward to recognizing them.”

Up to six million Americans may be at risk for anaphylaxis, although the precise incidence is unknown and likely underreported. Life-threatening allergic reactions may occur as a result of exposure to allergens including foods such as peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, soy and wheat; insect stings; latex and medication, among other allergens and causes. Several studies indicate that the rate of anaphylaxis has increased in recent years, pointing to the need for greater awareness.

It is critical that not only the individuals at risk for anaphylaxis and their immediate family members are aware of their allergens and how to help prevent severe allergic reactions, but that others in their community are as well, including teachers, friends, coaches and co-workers. The best prevention method of anaphylaxis is avoidance of the specific allergen(s). If anaphylaxis does occur and if treatment is not administered, the reaction can result in death within a matter of minutes.

“Like” the page today at www.facebook.com/severeallergyawareness and visit the “Celebrate Someone” app to create an award.

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