Food allergy awareness made easier thanks to tattoos, bracelets

At least six million children nationwide deal with food allergies.

By Allison McGinley - News Director

ORLANDO, Fla. - There are at least six million children nationwide dealing with food allergies. Reading labels is critical to keeping them safe.

[WEB EXTRA: Health warning labels]

That's why a new kind of label is becoming popular with parents. It's a label that can save your child's life even when you're not with them.  

Eating is a very carefully planned activity for the Wetzbarger girls. And for their mom, it's still a little frightening.

Sarah Wetzbarger remembers the first time her daughter Rachel tasted milk she broke out in hives; And when Sofie ate pistachios, she started having problems breathing.

It turns out both girls are allergic to dairy and eggs and Sophie is severely allergic to tree nuts.

So Wetzbarger can closely monitor her daughters at home, but when the girls aren't with her or their dad she worries.

Six months ago, Wetzbarger learned about these bright colored tattoos called Safetytats which easily apply to the girls' hands.

It says, "Allergies. Ask first. Milk, eggs, nuts eat and touch."

The tattoos last three days. To the kids they're cool. Mom considers them a "must".

Another company, 'Allermates,' is playing off of the popularity of 'cause' bracelets.

Iris Shamus, whose son has serious food allergies, invented the world of characters like Nutso, Crabby and Eggy. The zany icons bring awareness to caretakers without ostracizing the child.

"I wanted it to be fun, colorful and something that they would be proud of and not something that would make them feel stigmatized," said Shamus. "We've get a lot of kids who are actually jealous of the child who has the bracelet."

And now Allermates is highlighting other childhood health concerns with bracelets for diabetes, asthma and epilepsy.

"A mother who wants to protect her child, no matter the health concern, why shouldn't we do that for them as well?" said Shamus.

Because just like in the Wetzbarger's home, parents have just one wish -- a little peace of mind.

Another bit of peace of mind is a new Florida state law that allows schools to keep epi-pens in stock and allows staff to administer them in an emergency. 

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