This week is the start of ‘Allergy Awareness Week’, an important time in the calendar for all businesses and charities focused around allergies, but especially important for allergy sufferers for people such as Callum.
It’s a time when crucial information on how to live with allergies, and what to do if an allergic reaction occurs, is brought to the fore, and people are reminded of the very real difficulties faced by sufferers.
Most importantly, it can teach many people how to save a life!
Sounds dramatic maybe, but would you know how to detect a severe reaction, and most importantly would you know what to do to help the person reacting?
Click here for signs and symptoms to look out for!
An article released today by Allergy UK, provides the hard hitting facts and realities of allergies at present, and the ‘hidden’ epidemic that is being realised.
Data collated by Allergy UK suggests that:
‘44% (almost half) of allergy sufferers live in daily fear of a reaction’
As an allergy mum, I can totally relate to this. Whenever Callum isn’t in my care, I have to push down the constant fear and unease that I feel on a daily basis, even if he is in the care of his wonderful and perfectly capable child minder. A reaction whether mild, or severe, can occur at literally any time, so I guess you could say it is the fear of the unknown!
Allergy UK have also found that:
‘66% of UK adults admit they don’t know how to administer an adrenaline auto-injector pen’
That’s more than half of the adult population, unsure of how to deal with a severe reaction! Quite a worrying prospect for someone with an allergy, and hoping that if the worst were to happen, somebody near to them would be able to assist during their time of need, or rather crisis.
Doesn’t instil much confidence does it!
On top of this, latest statistics from NHS England suggest:
‘hospital admissions in England for allergic reactions are soaring to more than 20,000 each year, with over 60% (12,560) of these being emergencies’
This is a very worrying statistic. Year on year, the prevalence of allergies is increasing at a very fast rate, and yet awareness of allergies, and diagnosis remain dire. Our own personal experience with Callum has shown us this. It took 16 months, and multiple hospital admissions, including 3 emergency situations before we were finally listened to, and the medical profession began to address his allergy issues.
This is what spurred the birth of Intolerant Gourmand, and the determination to change the allergy world so that others don’t suffer the same way Callum did.
Let me put all of this into context!
What would happen if Callum had a severe allergic reaction? It makes my blood run cold just typing that sentence, particularly as we have sadly experienced this a number of times! Each of them being a truly frightening experience.
What if that severe allergic reaction resulted in anaphylaxis? And I, Jon, or his childminder were not immediately available?
In all seriousness, I wouldn’t allow this sort of situation to ever happen, but it makes you think twice about the realities faced with severe allergies.
A severe allergic response resulting in anaphylaxis is a very real possibility with Callum, it’s happened before.
His serious food triggers, the ones he was prescribed his adrenaline autoinjector pen for, are dairy, nut, tomato and strawberry. He also has other severe food and environmental allergies, but they are not classified as quite so serious.
These are all simple, every day ingredients that he can easily be exposed to at all times.
How about this example from last summer:
Just one lick of an ice cream, containing just 20% strawberry, 10 seconds of time, resulted in a reaction so severe his face swelled, his eyes became slits, his throat started to close, and his breathing became wheezy and laboured.
Callum has a confirmed asthma diagnosis, which made the situation even more frightening.
Less than 10 seconds.
The time it takes to blink twice.
Would you know what to do?
Would you know how to administer an epi pen that would quite literally save his life, or at least give him a fighting chance?
Sobering isn’t it!
That is life for us!
Every single day, not knowing when the next reaction will be!
And if it happens, if he will survive it!
Or whether people will know what to do if the worst happens!
Callum’s childminder has just completed a First Aid Training course, and I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that as part of the course, they now include adrenaline autoinjector pen training. It gives me a lot of reassurance that not only Callum, but other children will be safer because of this, and the knowledge that is being taught.
This is why ‘Allergy Awareness Week’ and the work of Allergy UK, and all the other allergy charities and businesses like us is so very important. Not only does it educate and provide much needed information, it provides hope to the 1000’s of allergy sufferers out there, like Callum, who hope and pray for a cure, or at the very least are surrounded by people who know how to respond to a severe reaction!
The more education, the safer the allergy world will be!
How will you help to save an allergy sufferers life?