Introducing Sloane Miller, Allergic Girl

Introducing Sloane Miller, Allergic Girl

by Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW
Author of Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies (Wiley, 2011)

I was born with food allergies. I developed asthma, environmental allergies, and eczema in childhood. Currently, I successfully manage all of these in my everyday life, which includes dating, dining out, traveling, working, and – most importantly – living. 

I’m a licensed social worker and food allergy counselor. I work with families, children, and adults to help them learn how to be better advocates for themselves and their health through food allergy counseling.

I consult with the healthcare, foodservice, and hospitality industries; government agencies; and not-for-profit advocacy organizations about food allergies. In 2011, my book, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies, was published. It’s the first lifestyle guide written by an adult with food allergies. 

My motto is: Just because you have a restricted diet does not mean you have a restricted life.

The latest numbers from the journal Pediatrics are that nearly 6 million – or 8 percent –of children in the United States have at least one food allergy. That is 1 in every 13 American children. An estimated 9 million – or 4 percent – of adults in the United States have food allergies. As of right now, there is no cure for food allergies. The only treatment is avoidance of the known allergen. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the top 8 foods that cause 90 percent of food-allergic reactions are  dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.  However, anyone can be allergic to any food at any time.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases“Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States,” “If exposed to a known allergen, symptoms may include itchy mouth, tongue and lips; hives; respiratory distress or gastro-intestinal distress. The most severe reaction is anaphylaxis – a rapid and potentially fatal onset of symptoms involving multiple bodily systems such as the skin, GI tract, cardiovascular, respiratory systems.”  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommendation is an epinephrine auto-injector as the first line of defense.

So that’s the landscape of food allergies: They are real, they are serious, and the numbers are climbing.

If this is you, my best piece of advice is to take your food allergy diagnosis seriously.   What does this mean?

  • Fill your prescriptions and always carry them with you. I have a cute bag that fits my emergency kit, including my epinephrine auto-injectors.

  • Get an anaphylaxis action plan filled out by your allergist before you leave the office.

  • And most of all, be patient with yourself. There will be mistakes. Start where you are right now and do your best.

Want more information? Visit FAACT’s Web site for more resources!