Feeding Tube Awareness Week is observed worldwide during the second week in February and takes place from February 6 to 10 this year. The feeding tube, a masterful invention of modern science, has saved millions of lives and increased the chances of infant survival at a tremendous rate. In 2011, the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation designated a week to raise awareness about the importance of tubes in the lives of people. Each February, families of patients and survivors come together to share the positive impact of feeding tubes in their lives and challenge the stigma around the same.
History of Feeding Tube Awareness Week
A human body requires external feeding when the process of natural food intake and ingestion has been suspended by the body. Feeding tubes save lives and make up for nutrition loss by carrying the food and medication to our stomachs. The practice of external feeding traces back to the age of Christ. Long before the long blue nozzles of polyurethane perched the bellies of those in need, there were wooden pipes and Egyptian medicine.
In 2010, Traci Nagy, a mother with a feeding tube-dependent child, founded the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation from her living room to share the positive impact of feeding tubes in the life of her son. Since then, the non-profit, volunteer-run foundation has connected thousands of patients and survivors. In 2011, the foundation launched the first-ever annual Feeding Tube Awareness Week to highlight the positive impact of feeding tubes in the lives of millions of people. Each year, families and caregivers of patients are encouraged to raise their voices against shame and ridicule on social media.
Patients share the medical reasons behind their tubes and educate the public about their condition. The week-long campaign brings families together, as they express their gratitude towards the life-saving invention of feeding tubes. The second week of February was chosen because of its intersection with Valentines’ Day (they love their ‘tubes’). The week aims to counter the stigma, shame, and negativity that surrounds the patients with tubes. Additionally, the week highlights the challenges embarking upon the families of the patients, and how all of us can help them.
Feeding Tube Awareness Week timeline
Scottish surgeon John Hunter creates an orogastric tube made of whalebone and performs a gastrostomy procedure on a human for the first time.
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is adopted after its successful performance on a six-month-old baby.
Traci Nagy establishes the Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation to share the positive impact of tube feeding in their child’s life.
Feeding Tube Awareness launches the first Feeding Tube Awareness Week to propagate the life-saving gift of feeding tubes.
Feeding Tube Awareness Week FAQs
Does a feeding tube hurt?
The patient can feel a little discomfort and sudden itching during the first few days, but the sensation eases with time.
Can I hike with a feeding tube?
You can do many activities with a feeding tube, including low-endurance walks and hikes. However, it is advised that you check with your primary physician beforehand.
What are the signs of feeding tube intolerance?
A sudden feeding tube intolerance can present itself in the form of hives, retching, gas, frequent burping, diarrhea, and violent vomiting. Abdominal pain with one of these symptoms is a clear sign of feeding tube intolerance.
How to Observe Feeding Tube Awareness Week
Get vocal on social media
Support Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation by doting its banner on your Facebook homepage. Share the positive impact of feeding tubes in the lives of thousands and use the hashtag #feedingtubeawarenessweek.
Debunk the misinformation
Become the antidote to an increasingly polarizing and stigmatizing world by countering the false narratives around feeding tubes. Hold educational seminars and share the benefits of this wonderful advancement made by science in the last century.
Support the fighters
Feeding tubes are a chance to get better and healthier. Rather than being invasive and questioning the reasons behind the tubes, be compassionate and support their fight.
5 Friendly Facts About Feeding Tubes That Prove Their Positive Impact
It’s just a backpack
People with a feeding tube can maintain a pretty active lifestyle — they carry a backpack with their food and feeding pump.
Swim and dance with the tube
You can perform motions and even swim with a feeding tube, as its advanced insulation is water-resistant.
It’s more than milk and soup
An array of finely blended food and adult formulations can be fed via a feeding tube.
350 diseases, one helping tube
There are about 350 diseases and medical conditions that require tube feeding in infants.
Can’t hide the feeling
The feeling of being satiated remains the same with a feeding tube.
Why Feeding Tube Awareness Week is Important
It challenges the stereotypes
Feeding tubes are a life-saving miracle, but there’s still a deep stigma attached to any kind of disability and its manifestation. The awareness week is a time to embrace and celebrate the positive impact of feeding tubes.
It connects affected families
There are more than 500,000 infants and adults in the U.S. who rely on feeding tubes. The families of these patients often need a support system, which is what the foundation provides. Other families looking for guidance can join the foundation.
It gives survivors a stage
There are many people who are alive by the grace of a tube. Feeding Tube Awareness Foundation gives them a stage to share their stories and inspire others to wear their tubes with pride.
Feeding Tube Awareness Week dates