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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2013
34 | www.probussouthpacific.org HEALTH Protect your grandkids Food allergy reactions and anaphylaxis are common in children. Murray suggests three tips for dealing with anaphylaxis risk in your grandchildren: 1 Never offer them a food without clearing a safe list with their parents first. 2 Educate children to tell people what they're allergic to, and not to share food with others or accept food from anyone else. 3 Purchase allergy stickers or patches to affix to a child's lunchbox or school bag as well as allergy medallions for them to wear. June Davis found out the hard way that her child had a severe peanut allergy. "When I was pregnant with my son, Nick, more than 30 years ago now, I got sick every time I ate peanuts, but I didn't think anything of it," June recalls. "When Nick was old enough, I fed him a peanut butter sandwich, but he didn't want it. "I just thought he was being fussy, so I persisted. He finally bit into it and immediately his mouth and lips swelled up, and he had trouble breathing. I rushed him to the hospital and, on the way there, he vomited. When we arrived at the hospital, he was treated for anaphylaxis." Nick has largely been able to avoid peanuts since then, but has an EpiPen for emergencies. There is only one way to completely prevent anaphylaxis and that's to avoid the food you're allergic to. "You have to avoid it in all shapes and forms," warns accredited practising dietitian from the Dietitians Association of Australia, Natasha Murray, who specialises in allergies. EATING OUT When eating out, either at a restaurant, friend or family member's house, always let your host know what you're allergic to and question the content of foods. "People aren't just being fusspots when they do this," says Said. "It's crucial in preventing anaphylaxis." GROCERY SHOPPING Always read the food packaging labels. "Every ingredient that's a common allergen must be declared," states Murray. "Even if you're familiar with the product, read it each time you buy it because sometimes the manufacturers change their recipe." Murray also says be particularly careful with foods that have been bought overseas as they're not always clearly labelled and may contain allergens. AT HOME Be mindful of your food preparation and hygiene methods. Cross- contamination can result in anaphylaxis. Knives, chopping boards and other cooking utensils need to be free of allergens. If someone in your family is allergic to something, it's best not to keep that item in the house, or to at least have some clear safety strategies surrounding its use. It's important not to confuse allergies with intolerances. While intolerances can be uncomfortable, they are certainly not life threatening. "Intolerance is where a person has a chemical intolerance to a substance in a food, such as lactose in milk," explains Murray. Said adds that food intolerance reactions more commonly occur in the gut or skin, and result in digestive problems or hives. "Education and awareness are key," says Said. "Everyone in the community has a role to play when it comes to allergies and potential anaphylaxis." PREVENTING AN ATTACK BUT I'M A GROWN-UP! You don't have to be a child to develop a food allergy. "Some people have allergies from birth, but some develop them throughout their life, even if they've had contact with the food for years," says Dr Cooke. For ongoing care speak with your GP and for dietary advice see an accredited practising dietitian. Immediately his mouth and lips swelled up, and he had trouble breathing. I rushed him to the hospital.
Active Retirees Oct-Nov 2012
Active Retirees Feb-March 2013