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Julia, our inspiration behind Epi-Essentials

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Our Journey:
In the spring of 1999, we began our food allergy and anaphylaxis journey when our daughter Julia, age 1, was diagnosed with 6 of the top 8 allergies.   We left the doctor's office with a list of foods to "avoid", never hearing the two words that would shape our lives indefinately, anaphylaxis and epinephrine.  

Just a few months later, accidental exposure due to inattentive eyes instantly triggered a full-blown anaphylactic reaction.  In the following years, more anaphylactic reactions and dozens of moderate-severe allergic reactions occurred due to unobvious ingredients, cross contamination and undiagnosed allergens.   We recognized this would be a lifelong journey and that the concept of "avoidance" was no longer simple nor safe.  Two epinephrine auto-injectors and a clear Allergy Action Plan quickly became a fixture in her daily life.

What we've learned:
Like many families, we could write a book of our experiences with food allergies because the learning never seems to stop.  What families affected have in common is much greater than the food itself.  We've learned it's a balance of living life completely while staying on high alert in an unpredictable world.  We've learned that it is complex to grow up with food allergies when school and social events can isolate a child from their peers.  We've learned that it's about advocating for safe and inclusive environments with creative solutions; learning to be brave, to ask questions, to seek answers and to be a voice in our world.  We've learned how important it is to fundraise, research, educate and support.  But most importantly, it's about keeping those that we love knowledgeable and prepared because there is simply no room for risks.  

What we now know:
With a growing U.S. population of anaphylaxis affecting an estimated 15 million Americans including 6 million children (1 in 13 children)**, food allergies cause 30,000 cases of anaphylaxis, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150-200 reported deaths each year.  Anaphylaxis due to latex and penicillin allergies bring those numbers higher.***  With a greater number of children and adults being diagnosed with anaphylactic allergies everyday, we know that immediate treatment using epinephrine is a life saving requirement, but it is not always kept on hand.  From previous research, we know that food-allergic reactions send an adult or child to the emergency room every three minutes—every six minutes for potentially fatal reactions.  And, we know that every day, families struggle with the emotional, physical, and economic impact of food allergies.

Why we do what we do:
A study in 2006 revealed the following:  "Teens and young adults with peanut or tree-nut allergies and asthma appear to be at greatest risk for severe or life-threatening reactions.  They often fail to take their potentially life-saving medication along when engaging in certain activities.  While 94% say they carry it when traveling, only 43% bring it along when playing sports.  Nearly 33% leave it home when attending a school dance or going to a friend's house."*  We need only to look at each year's tragic news stories to understand that being careful may just not be enough.  

For many teens and young adults, the social implications of carrying epinephrine injectors often trump their knowledge about staying safe.  Wearing, carrying and taking ownership of allergy medications can be daunting, inconvenient or uncomfortably obvious.   It may not fit into the event, making avoidance, feel easier.  We personally discovered it highlighted differences and provided an unwanted label.  The alternative of burying epinephrine into the bottom of a handbag or backpack made it unidentifiable for anyone to assist if it were ever needed.  

Our solution? Epi-Essentials Handbags and Accessory Cases.  Stylish, organized and immediately accessible for free-to-be teens, young adults and moms, our products secure a complete anaphylaxis kit alongside daily essentials (cell phones, student id's, money, small cosmetics) in something we would all love to carry.  Finally, it's time to live life completely without compromising safety for style.  

We invite you to take a look at our product line and browse the website.  Of course, Contact Us anytime with your questions or thoughts…we’d love to hear from you!

To provide modern handbags & accessory cases
that seamlessly keep allergy and personal essentials together

To reduce the risk of being without epinephrine

To live life completely and always in style

To love what you carry


Copyright Epi-Essentials™. All rights reserved.

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