Parental Challenges with Allergies in the Family

It is every parents proud moment when they realise that their children are taking the independent steps towards adulthood, and then,  finally leave childhood behind. It is a bittersweet time as a parent to realise that for the most part your job is done. For parents who have children with significant medical problems, that parenting journey has extra layers that many do not have. That extra concern and worry you have for your adult children and their allergies do not disappear.  You simply hope that all the advice you have given them,  and the preparation for being a responsible allergic adult stays with them. The responsibilities for parents of allergic children is a huge learning curve. Juggling the family impact of food allergies and adjusting to keeping your child reaction free.  As well as working towards your child being included in all aspects of childhood experience. This is not an easy task to take on board.  Handing over that child to others to care for requires a great deal of ongoing background work. It takes a huge amount of parental confidence to calmly push for the medical care at times your child needs. It can impact your income, your employment, Click To Read More

The Importance of saying yes

Sometimes having a child with multiple allergies can seem overwhelming and  daunting task. It may seem that food is everywhere and can’t be avoided and it feels that constant danger is around every corner. Which is totally understandable and pretty normal response to having previously  seen your child react to a food. When your child is small, under five, it is not just the three meals a day, but snacks that are needed for little bodies to grow, and organising this is a non stop risk assessment over the day. As children grow older and the social aspects of life arrive, birthday parties, day trips and holidays can feel an extra burden to add to the constant forward planning. There are times when the birthday party invitations  come thick and fast, the sleep over invites, the day outings with friends and then as they grow older the school trips abroad and of course your family holidays. Remember to ask your child if they really want to go, if they are close friends with the birthday child. I was never a fan of inviting a whole class to a birthday party, or the idea of my children choosing to attend because Click To Read More

Mothering Sunday

Last month would of been my nieces eleventh birthday, officially she died of pneumonia when she was six. Her system was weakened by the side effects of living with Dravet syndrome. Her mother, my sister, had another child, her fourth  Who has, like her surviving older sister the same syndrome. There is  between us as sisters a gap of ten years,  and we have little I think in common. I have memories of her as a baby, of feeding her bottles and helping change her nappies.  But we both have given birth to four children, and both of us have offspring with  a life threatening conditions. We have travelled similar roads, with its burdens, worries and concerns, but for my sister it has ended in the reality of losing one of her children. In the times when our children have had their near brushes with death, for her when her daughters have a severe seizure,  or for me when our son has had anaphylaxis ( or fairly recently frequent pneumothorax  plus idiopathic angioedema) we  call and support each other in our odd  ways. We share a dark humour and sarcasm, and treasure the strange similar things that have happened. We Click To Read More

Schools and Early Years Settings: Inclusion of food allergic pupils in Food Tech Lessons

Every child needs to feel a sense of belonging, and feel that teachers are dedicated to supporting them to do their best in class. So it is important to consider inclusion in all aspects of the curriculum. This includes food tech lessons and the basic knowledge of what forms healthy eating, food preparation, and simple meal plans. For the food allergic child this is a vital skill, because eating outside the home is problematic for some. Teaching children about common ingredients is an important part of learning to manage their allergies as they grow older. During our son’s early years of education sporadic exclusion occurred. I got the impression that his teachers had little knowledge or understanding of his allergies or how he could be included in the curriculum. He was moved to another class when cookery lessons included one of his allergens. Or once was offered food during a lesson on the five senses, without considering his food allergies. It became obvious that the teachers needed more support and education, and for us as parents we objected to the idea that simply removing or excluding him from lessons was acceptable. When the puzzled TA explained that our son had Click To Read More

Dreaming of a Magic Wand

For many parents the adjustment to living with severe food allergies in their child is pretty stressful. It is understandable that we would all want a cure, a magic wand to wave all the nasty stuff away. There is nothing wrong with this, because hope still exists. Many children will naturally grow out of some or all of their allergies. There  is some fantastic research out there, and the results, like the LEAP study are bringing hope to the next generation of children. Supporting this research is important, and future studies reveal new understanding of the complexity of allergy. Treatments that induce tolerance of an allergy, particularly peanut are improving the lives of some.  So we should remain hopeful, and support the work of the charities that push for change and research. The  tantalizing idea of a cure is not something that we should focus all our energies on as parents. Trying alternative treatments is something that many try, particularly when access to the mainstream  allergy clinics  are either patchy or out of reach, or simply have no magic wand to wave. It is  an expensive business that promises much, but caution should play its part.  Particularly when your child Click To Read More

Welcome to Sarah Chapman’s Blog!

Welcome to my blog! My name is Sarah Chapman and I am a volunteer for Allergy UK, Anaphylaxis campaign and Alex Curtis trust. I have a BA in early years education and I also used to work part time with anaphylaxis campaign with teens. I am an Early years practitioner and recently received the Family/friend award at the Allergy Awards Show 2016, I also have over 2,500 followers on twitter!  My interests include allergies, asthma, reading, chocolate, anti wrinkle creams. Click To Read More

Allergies, Asthma and Health Care Plans, My Top Tips for Early Years Practitioners

The most basic guidance is to check your insurance if you are a privately run setting. Below are a few of my top tips to produce a working, individual health care plan.   1) Get a prescribing doctor or pediatrics allergy clinic to give you advice regarding emergency treatment plan and prescribed medication.  For some parents this is the GP, or a local consultant, but ideally this should come from the allergy clinic/ immunologist.  However most allergy clinics are run part time and Parents may be referred to different medical experts depending on the condition, for example many children with food allergies have asthma, and rely on their asthma doctor for food allergy advice. It is important to get a written emergency plan from the treating doctor to act as a starting point for the individual health care plan. 2) Get a holistic picture of the child’s allergies, so that you can gain a clearer picture of their health needs. Children with food allergies often have other chronic conditions such as asthma, eczema, and environmental allergies. These conditions all play their role in allergic reactions, and have an impact on education and general health of child.  For instance eczema, asthma Click To Read More

Our Early Allergy Story

have four children, who are now all in their teens, our third child, has multiple food and environmental allergies. He was born a respectable weight, and displayed the three main symptoms of food allergy before he was three months old. However, the medical profession’s understanding of allergy at the time of his birth 15years ago was patchy or totally unaware at best. That is still true for some today, depending on a GP’s and health visitors experience with patients with allergy. The three main symptoms of an allergic infant, who is fully breastfed and under three months are, eczema, poor sleep pattern, and poor /slow weight gain. My son was fully breastfed, he had very dry skin ten days after birth, and by day fifteen we came home from boots the chemist with two carrier bags after being diagnosed with eczema. He was unable to sleep, and as my eldest child had colic I thought that he had it as well, showing all the signs of tummy ache that small babies often have. However, he was a tired baby, who scratched at his skin, and as the time went by, he slept for twenty minutes a day, and about two Click To Read More