Food allergies: they're no picnic
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19 May — Nine to Noon, Radio New Zealand
: Are schools being too draconian in banning certain foods to protect children with life threatening allergies? We hear from chief executive of Allergy New Zealand, Penny Jorgensen, and president of the Primary Principal's Federation, Peter Simpson. (15′04″). Listen to the broadcast here
19 May — Taranaki Daily News
: Lynne Dunn still remembers the day egg nog nearly killed her child. As a toddler her daughter, Rebecca, had climbed up on to the bench and spilt the drink over herself.
"I walked back in and she was completely white, then went floppy and unconscious," Mrs Dunn said. The experience of anaphylaxis became typical of the Hawera family's life, living with a child with severe food allergies.
Read the entire story here
18 May — Zest, The Press
: Promotion of Allergy New Zealand, Allergy Awareness Week and our cookbook.
18 May — North Taranaki Midweek
: Hillary Blackstock tells of how she was at first sceptical of her 14-month-old son Oliver's food allergy diagnosis. But the change in his diet had an almost miraculous effect on his health. Read the full story here
18 May — The Dominion Post
: Becoming the parent of a child with food allergies means changing the contents of your kitchen cupboard, Rebecca Palmer writes.
I realised my view of food had changed dramatically the week my one-year-old daughter started creche. She was sitting in a high chair when a four-year-old wandered in with a bagel and strolled up to say hello. Smeared with cream cheese and peanut butter and topped with sesame seeds, that bagel was an allergenic nightmare.
Read the entire story here
15 May — The Daily Post:(Rotorua): Every year in Rotorua up to 80 babies are born with allergies - but not all parents know it.
Allergies, especially food allergies, are increasing nationwide and young children are most affected. It's estimated that six to eight per cent of young Kiwis have an allergy or multiple allergies to food.
With about 1000 babies being born in Rotorua each year, there were 60 to 80 families who were dealing with children with allergies.
Allergy Awareness Week starts on Monday and Allergy New Zealand Rotorua branch co-ordinator Eugene Berryman-Kamp wants to educate locals about the significance of the impact of allergies on individuals and families.
Read the entire story here.
13 May — Central Leader (Auckland): Meal time for 16-month-old Dylan Wright can be a little tricky with most vegetables, meats and dairy products off the menu.
He is seriously allergic to dairy, egg and nuts and any exposure to them causes him to go into anaphylactic shock – a life-threatening respiratory and cardiovascular allergic reaction.
"He becomes wheezy, starts coughing and goes pale and floppy.
"We have to carry an adrenaline injector, antihistamine, ventolin inhaler and a spacer with us at all times," mum Rebecca Oliver says.
Dylan also has allergies or an intolerance to chicken, potato, wheat, avocado, banana and carrot.
Read the story here.
13 May — Western Leader (Auckland) : Natalie Henson barely slept when she was five months old. Neither did her parents.
Natalie had eczema and nasal congestion which made it difficult for her to breathe.
Mum Andrea kept going back to her GP trying to find out what was wrong.
"At her worst Natalie was waking up every hour. She wouldn't settle at all unless she was sleeping on myself or my husband. Neither of us was getting much sleep," Mrs Henson says.
Mrs Henson knew that eczema is a symptom of allergies and asked her GP for a referral to a specialist.
Read the story here.
13 May — Porirua News: Piper family on page three here.
10 May — Rodney Times: Trisha and Peter Quinn tell of their son Jack's food allergies.
Allergy New Zealand has a poster and bookmark display in ASB branches around New Zealand, and our Honorary Ambassador, Sir Peter Leitch QSM, is promoting the week through his poster campaign. You can download your own by clicking on the images below.
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Media campaign: press release
Food Allergies – they’re no picnic
Allergies, especially those to food, are on the rise in New Zealand, with young children being the most affected.
Between six to eight percent of young New Zealanders have an allergy or multiple allergies to food – however new studies indicate this figure is even higher with one in 10*. That’s around 10 babies born each day**.
Egg, cow’s milk (dairy) and peanuts are the top three allergens, followed by tree nuts (eg. cashews, almonds), or soy, wheat, seeds, fish and shellfish. However an allergic reaction can occur to any kind of food.
The symptoms of allergic reactions range from mild to severe to life threatening. They can include hives, eczema and facial swelling, hay fever symptoms, swelling of the throat, cough, wheeze, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhea, feeling faint, weakness, pallor, floppiness (particularly in infants), or collapse.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction, often affecting several parts of the body, including either the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, or both. It must be treated with adrenaline.
If you or your child suspects an allergic reaction, it is important to see your GP. If it is a food allergy, you will need to see a paediatrician or an allergy specialist. A food allergy is diagnosed by taking a detailed history of your symptoms and your general medical history and a skin prick test or Rast test may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Caring for a family member with food allergies or intolerance can be challenging, however with the right information and support, allergy sufferers can live happy, healthy, active lifestyles.
Allergy New Zealand is a national charity that provides support, advocacy and information for people living with food allergies, anaphylaxis and other allergies or allergic conditions.
For further information please contact:
Rebecca Oliver, Allergy NZ, email: email@example.com Tel: 021 739 785
Inga Stunzner, Allergy NZ, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 623 3912
*Rohan Ameratunga, Christine Crooks et al, "Adverse reactions to food in New Zealand children age 0-5 years”, New Zealand Medical Journal, December 2010
Nicholas Osbourne et al, "Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy using population-based sampling and predetermined challenge criteria in infants", J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL VOLUME 127, NUMBER 3.
*Based on 62,960 live births registered in the June 2009 Statistics New Zealand; 6-8 per cent of children under the age of five are affected by food allergy according to international research. The 10 per day is the conservative estimate of 6 per cent of children who have food allergy.