The Allergy Community

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One of the very unexpected outcomes of having a child with multiple severe food and environmental allergies is the community I have found myself in because of them. Allergies tethering us together like the life line of a boat. I was fortunate enough this week to partake in a virtual meet up with other allergy parents whose children all suffer from a severe food allergy. Some had multiple allergies, others were just dealing with one or two. In a very strange way, even though I’d only just met theses people, and only virtually at that, I felt like I had known them all my life! I guess because for most of us, it feels like we can’t even imagine our lives previous to being a parent, and the journey of an allergy parent is often very similar. Our conversation easily flowed between the highs and lows of being an allergy parent and soon moved beyond that to just a conversation about being a prent to young children, which we all know has its very own set of highs and lows. We discussed our pasts, presents and futures, some revealing their new business plans, others how they wanted to ring their husbands neck! It was a breath of fresh air, in those three hours, to see the nodding heads of other parents understanding the anxiety around having your family invited to a resturaunt for dinner, or having to hold your child’s arm for a painful skin prick test, the anticipation that you might soon be rushing to hosptial when your child is trying a new food. All of which we had all experienced many times.

I’m lucky enough to have people in Harrisons life who do their utter most best to keep him safe, not just family, but friends, teachers, sometimes even complete strangers.  I have talked incessantly to all of them about Harrisons allergies and I am very grateful to all their ears for the hours they’ve endured listening to me drone on, but to talk to other mums who really understood our reality was just something else. These are mums that on any other walk of life I wouldn’t have met. Spread across the country we each sat in our respective living rooms, kitchens, children’s play rooms, talking and drinking into the wee hours of the morning.

Thank you for welcoming me into your community, I look forward to many more virtual meet ups and hopefully one day we’ll be lucky enough to meet in the real world too!

 

 

 

 

Living With Allergies During a Pandemic

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Its been widly shared by allergy parents during the out outbreak of the Corona Virus that we were already well eqiupied to live through a pamdemic like this.  In this post I’m going to tell you just exactly why, and why we have the right to say it.

Firstly let me start you off with the washing of the hands.  Every mother around the world is now on a thrice daily battle to get their little Angels to wash their hands, not an easy feat when they are in a staring competition with their favourite ice lolly.  Not for allergy mums though!  We know, that no matter what, before your little ones start to chow down on their favourite meals or snacks, they need to thoroughly wash their hands.  Allergens are sticky and resilient and like to make life as difficult as possible so hand sanitizing will not work, its a 20second wash under the taps no exception.  Something I’m happy for now, as mine were on auto pilot running to the toilet the second we got home, take that allergens and corona virus!

Secondly resturants and cafes closing, not a problem.  I’ve been described as pack horse by my mother in law since the day Harrison was born.  I’ve never had the luxery of leaving the house with a ‘We can just pick something up’ attitude.  No allergy mum has.  In the early days after Harrison’s allergy diagnosis on occasion I left the house without a snack, it soon sunk in that if I leave the house without food for my boy my boy will most likely not be eating again till we are home, not great if your planning a four hour trip.  Now it’s pretty much a standard to bring breakfast, lunch and dinner with us to a restaurant for cover every eventuality. As fantastic as it is to see so much more allergy related awareness in eateries these days, being aware doesn’t always correlate to safe food.

Thirdly social distancing.  I bring you back to my first point of the washing of the hands, something that should have been happening by everyone long before Covid popped up its ugly head, but no, people aren’t always the cleanest and children even less so.  Keeping your allergy child away from allergen contaminated hands is not an easy feat, and yet its a challenge that all allergy mums have to champion.  Its our second nature to bat away the hand of a well meaning Granny and politely ask if their hands are clean, or question the hairdresser about what they had for breakfast before they lay a finger on a single hair on child’s head.  It’s necessary as it keeps them safe.  It’s also necessary at child’s birthday party to sit further away from other guests to stop any cross contamination of food, or eager fingers darting onto your child’s plate to share a chip.

Fourth and finally hoarding.  We never want our babies to go hungry and know that product lines change, stock can be difficult to get a hold of and when there is a deal on that usually very expensive allergy friendly meal, you stock up.  Hording is just a usual shop for an allergy mummy.  I have yet to visit an allergy mums house where the cupboards aren’t full to the brim with safe foods for their family.

It is currently allergy awareness month and this week Food Allergy Awareness is being highlighted.  The precautions taking place to avoid being infected with Covid-19 are the precautions that allergy familys have to take every day to protect their loved ones.  I’m hoping that at the end of this national crisis, everyone will hopefully come away from it with more compassion and understanding for those who already have to live in what can be a scary world.