This week is food allergy awareness week. Over the next five days, I’ll be handing over my blog to parents whose children suffer from allergies in a bid to raise awareness and eliminate any associated misconceptions.
My name is Anna and I write a pregnancy, birth and parenting blog – Midwife Mama Bear. I am a mummy to one little boy who is almost 2. I am also an NHS midwife and have been working as a midwife for over 12 years. I started the blog to merge my knowledge as a Midwife with my new role as a Mum and hopefully help some expectant and new families out there with things I have learnt over the last few years.
1. Who suffers from allergies in your family, when were they diagnosed and what allergies do they have?
My little boy suffers from two allergies. Egg and Sesame. We noticed his reaction to egg really early on in the weaning journey when he reacted by coming out in a rash all over his face and body after handling a plate that had scrambled eggs on it. When he was about 8 months old he had a severe reaction after eating Hummus (we later realised he was allergic to sesame). This resulted in a hospital trip, as aside from the hive type rash all over his body he was showing signs of an anaphylactic reaction with a swollen tongue and wheezing.
2. How long was the process of diagnosis, tell us about your experience?
After the hospital trip, we visited the GP for a Piriton prescription and referral to the Allergy clinic at our local hospital. This referral took about 10 weeks. During this time we were unsure of what caused his reactions so were also avoiding dairy. The allergy clinic was brilliant, so well organised and very thorough. After the skin testing showed up positive for sesame and egg we saw a Dietician who gave us loads of useful information. It was very reassuring and we were pleased there was no dairy allergy so could introduce cow’s milk, cheese, yoghurt etc. This made life much easier!
3. How do these allergies affect you and your families on a day to day basis?
We are very careful what we feed him and what we eat around him. Luckily over the last year, he has grown out of the egg allergy and we have started to reintroduce it into his diet.
4. Have your child’s allergies impacted your travel, if so how?
We have travelled a lot and not found his allergies too restricting. I like to carry the Piriton with me everywhere ‘just in case’, however as it is liquid it is difficult to fly with as it is over 100mls. In the first few months, it was allowed as it had a prescription label on. Now I have learnt to go through security and then buy a bottle in the pharmacy in the airport, that way I can keep it in my hand luggage.
5. Do you feel that people are understanding of your child’s allergies? If not, why do you think this is?
Yes, people are very understanding both family, restaurants and his nursery. No one wants to be the one to make a mistake and cause an allergic reaction!
6. Are there any resources or websites which you’ve found particularly helpful?
The dietician at the hospital gave us an excellent help sheet of ingredients to use to replace the egg in cooking.
7. What advice would you give to any parent whose child has just been diagnosed with an allergy?
It initially seems very stressful to make substitutions all the time but once you get your head around it, it’s not too bad. Try not to worry too much and always carry your bottle of Piriton just in case! Good luck with your children with allergies.
It’s Food Allergy Awareness week from 13-19th May. Make sure you pop back for more Q&A’s!