Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Allergy Battle Sparks Books; Teaching Children about Food Allergies without Scaring Them Is Crucial, Reports Angela Norval

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Allergy Battle Sparks Books; Teaching Children about Food Allergies without Scaring Them Is Crucial, Reports Angela Norval

Article excerpt

PREPARING for a new school or childcare year can be exhausting.

All parents of school-aged children know the stress of making sure books are covered, new shoes are bought and property is labelled.

But for those like Jackie Nevard, who has a child with food allergies, a long list of extras will need to be added.

Jackie's son Thai was a very unsettled baby from six weeks of age. She had sought help from health nurses and doctors, desperate to find out why her son wouldn't sleep and had both diarrhoea and itchy skin.

Like any new mother worried about her child's health, Jackie breastfed Thai, hoping it would settle him.

But it wasn't until her husband Carey tried to bottle feed-him at nine months that they noticed hives appearing around his mouth.

Their journey into the world of food allergies began.

Jackie said she was still learning how to deal with Thai's allergies, which include dairy, eggs and peanuts.

"One-in-10 children has an allergy in Australia, and Australia and New Zealand have among the highest prevalence of allergic disorders in the developed world, so this is a real problem," she said.

"When your child is first diagnosed, it can be a very scary and overwhelming time as there isn't much help out there and the wait to see an allergist is long.

"When he was a baby, he put everything in his mouth.

"Being a toddler meant experiencing birthday parties for the first time and not being able to eat any of the party food.

"Then we experienced being a preschooler and a need to be the same as everyone else.

"We are still learning how to deal with food allergies because as Thai gets older, each age offers new challenges and as a parent it can be heartbreaking when your child feels different. …

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