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Allergy & Anaphylaxis Awareness

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by Sarah Murray (subscribe)
I'm a qualified UK lawyer, who emigrated to Australia in May 2012. I have three small children and we've been getting to know Brisbane and making it our home.
Published August 30th 2013
Archie's Allergies
With allergies on the increase and yet another heart breaking report of a young girl tragically dying from an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts, it is essential that people understand how serious food and other allergies are, how they can kill and how essential it is to be aware and considerate of the allergies of others.

In order to raise that awareness, here is Archie's story.

There was a lovely little boy called Archie, who lived with his mummy and daddy and baby brother, Frankie.

Archie was very special for lots of reasons, one being that he had food allergies which meant that if he ate certain foods, he could become very poorly indeed, very quickly.

Archie and his mummy and daddy had to be very careful with what Archie ate and how his food was prepared. It was a lot to remember, but Archie was very clever and he started to learn what he could and couldn't eat.

Archie had allergies to egg, peanuts, tree nuts, peas, pulses, chick peas, sesame and dairy. It was quite a list.

Archie's Allergens
Compilation image credits: www.taste.com.au (peas) / wikicommons.com (peanuts) / gescommodity.com (pulses)/ thekitchn.com (eggs) / food52.com (chickpeas), mesushi.org (sesame) /oregonstate.edu (dairy) / naturalhealth365.com (treenuts).


The problem with allergies was that foods on Archie's list could be hidden in other foods. These are called ingredients. Therefore, it was very important to always read the list of ingredients on the packaging of any food very, very carefully and make sure that none of the foods on Archie's list were an ingredient. This was more difficult to learn and understand, especially when you are only little and can't read as yet. So, Archie's mummy and daddy had to be very careful and always read the ingredients to keep Archie safe.

Sometimes people would try and be kind and offer Archie some of their food. It was tempting if their food looked yummy, but Archie knew that he must not eat it in case it contained one of the foods on his list and so he always said 'no thank you, I am allergic'. Sometimes people would try and insist, but Archie said very politely but firmly 'no thank you, I can't because I am allergic and I only eat the food that mummy and daddy make for me'.

Even though mummy, daddy and Archie were very, very careful, there were some times when Archie would accidentally eat one of the foods from his list. At these times, Archie would feel very, very poorly. It was hard to explain when you were little, but Archie learnt to tell his mummy or daddy or his teacher or the adult he was with that he felt poorly and needed his epipen.

If Archie ate something that made him feel poorly he could have an anaphylactic reaction and this was very serious. It meant that Archie's body was reacting to something he is allergic to.

Even if Archie didn't feel poorly at first, but had eaten something he was allergic to, it was crucial to have his epipen and not everyone realised that. An anaphylactic reaction could be silent. If in doubt, give the epipen!

Epipen
www.epipen.com


It wasn't nice to have to have his epipen. In fact, it was very scary indeed, but Archie knew that it made him better and that it was very, very important that he had it when he had eaten a food from his list or ate something that was making him feel poorly.

The epipen contained adrenalin and stopped the reaction and made Archie feel much better.

Archie's mummy and daddy explained how important it was to always carry the epipen at all times and Archie's mummy taught him how to give himself the epipen injection in case he needed it. Archie learnt to press the pen into his thigh until it clicked and to hold it there until he had counted to 10 slowly, then massage the thigh, where the epipen had been injected, for 10 seconds.

This was a lot for a little boy to have to learn, but Archie took it all in his stride like the big, grown up boy he was.

If Archie had a reaction to something he had eaten, it was very important to call for an ambulance after he had had his epipen. The ambulance sirens made a loud noise and this was a bit scary, but Archie knew that the ambulance was called to help him and make him better.

Ambulance
www.ambulancevisibility.com


The ambulance would take Archie to hospital. At hospital, a doctor would help Archie and give him medicine to make him feel better.

Archie was very, very brave even though he must have been scared about going to the hospital in the ambulance.

Archie was a very special boy and he made his mummy and daddy very, very proud.

For more information, please see www.allergyfacts.org.au
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