Approximately 1-2% of Australians have a food allergy, including 1 in 10 children, and some of them will experience a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). About 10 people die each year in Australia from an anaphylactic reaction. Some will grow out of their food allergy, but those with peanut and tree nut allergy will most likely have it for life. My eight year old son had his first anaphylactic reaction to peanuts when he was 13 months old, and it has affected what our family eats ever since.
Australia has the highest prevalence of food allergy in the world, and while it is devastating when you or your child are first diagnosed, living with a food allergy is manageable if we have an allergy aware community.
This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week, which aims to promote and develop the awareness of food allergy amongst Australians through education, research and ongoing support.
If you or your child has a food allergy, or you want to support someone who has a food allergy, there are lots of resources available. I’ve put together a selection of my favourites:
A charity For resources and educational material and support
One of the first things we did when our son was diagnosed was to join Anaphylaxis Australia, and the information and support they provide has been invaluable.
For Anaphylaxis e-training, resources for health professsionals and patients, patient support groups, fact sheets
Coming later this year is the GS1 GoScan - an app for your smartphone that will make it so much easier to safely buy food. Using your iPhone or iPad (still waiting for news of an Android app), you scan or type the barcode of a product; which is then checked against a database of all products, provided by the manufacturers. You are then presented with a Categories Screen where you can choose what information you need on that product – Allergens, Ingredients, Nutrition and more. You can even set up GoScan to alert you when a product contains peanuts, or a particular allergen – an alert message would be displayed if a product containing that allergen is scanned.
Be a MATE - Making Allergy Treatment Easier - support those with food allergies