National Eosinophil Awareness Week 2016

Posted 5.17.16 | Nutrition Specialist

May 15-21 2016

This week is the 9th Annual National Eosinophil Awareness Week!

Let’s start with a few basics. What are eosinophils? Eosinophils (pronounced E-O-sin-O-fills) are a type of white blood cell that are normally helpful to the body. Eosinophils play a role in the immune system, helping to fight off certain types of infections and parasites. These cells respond to triggers (e.g., food and airborne allergens) by releasing toxins into the affected area. Normally, most eosinophils spend most of their time in the circulatory system (basically in the blood).

However, sometimes eosinophils can go to parts of the body in large numbers, which is unusual. Affected areas of the body may include: the bladder, connective tissue, areas of the gastrointestinal tract (including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine,), blood and lungs. If eosinophils  build up in these body parts in large numbers, they can cause swelling and other symptoms. That’s no fun!

We at Neocate support APFED (the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders) in spreading awareness of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGIDs).  EGIDs are those disorders, like EoE (eosinophilic esophagitis), that affect parts of the digestive tract. Check out APFED’s Facebook page to see what EGIDs are all about! APFED also has great materials to help educate patients, families and caregivers. Educational videos, like this one, help to explain EGIDs to children.


How did National Eosinophilic Awareness Week start?

On May 15, 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill designating the third week of May as National Eosinophil Awareness Week (NEAW). The purpose of NEAW is to create awareness and educate both the general public and medical community about eosinophil-associated diseases.

Where can I find out more about National Eosinophil Awareness Week?

APFED has many educational resources on their website to help spread awareness of eosinophilic disorders. APFED has created a calendar for the week with their suggestions and tips to help spread awareness and E-D-U-C-A-T-E those around you!

Educate (Sunday)

  • Post facts about eosinophil-associated diseases to your social media page/s.
  • Distribute educational materials to health care providers and area businesses.

Donate (Monday)

  • Make a personal donation to APFED and encourage others to match it.

Unite (Tuesday)\

  • Coordinate a get-together with local eos families (“eos” is short for eosinophils) to celebrate NEAW, or work together to plan a fundraiser.
  • Become a member of APFED and ask a friend to join as well.
  • Register for APFED’s Annual Patient Education Conference.
  • Join or start a local support group.
  • Join the National Eosinophil Awareness Week community on Facebook.

Change (Wednesday)

  • Change the way others view your disease by sharing your story.
  • Wear a magenta colored t-shirt to school or work and encourage your friends and colleagues to so the same.
  • Change your social media profile picture and banner to the NEAW logo.
  • Share APFED’s fact sheet about eosinophil-associated diseases or “Can you say ‘Eosinophilic?” flyer.

Awareness (Thursday)

  • Wear a magenta colored t-shirt to school or work and encourage your friends and colleagues to so the same.
  • Change your social media profile picture and banner to the NEAW logo provided on the APFED website.
  • Share APFED’s fact sheet about eosinophil-associated diseases or “Can you say ‘Eosinophilic?” flyer.

Thank (Friday)

  • Reach out to those who have been supportive of your journey with eos to thank them.
  • Thank health care providers for their support and care.
  • Thank legislators who support issues important to our community.

Engage (Saturday)

Invite family, friends, and others to experience dietary limitations (Suggestion: Eat Like Us for a Day Challenge).

Create a community fundraising walk at your school or workplace, or organize a Hope on the Horizon Walk to benefit APFED’s research fund.

However you choose to get involved, we want to thank you for your interest in National Eosinophilic Awareness Week and helping to spread the word about this disorder!


-          Ellen Sviland Avery

Nutricia believes in APFED’s mission. Suggestions to donate or fundraise to support APFED come from APFED, and reproduction of those suggestions here does not imply a recommendation or endorsement from Nutricia.

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.