The new allergy regulations – FAQs & the chance to ask an expert

EVERY THURSDAY evening, from 8.30 to 9.30pm, we run an Allergy Hour (#allergyhour) on Twitter – a forum for allergy people and parents to ask questions, rant, rave, swap tips, share recipes. Last night the folks at the Anaphylaxis Campaign kindly offered up one of their experts to answer specific questions on the new EU allergen labelling laws. Today they’ve put together a handy FAQ guide to deal with some of the issues that came up. See here for more. It covers everything from how the laws will be enforced to where businesses can get advice. Continue reading “The new allergy regulations – FAQs & the chance to ask an expert”

The Children’s Allergy Guru answers your questions

drdutoitplainbackgroundGOT A MILLION allergy questions buzzing around your head, and your little one’s next appointment is months away? Join us on Twitter tomorrow night for ‘Allergy Hour’, when London-based paediatric allergy guru George Du Toit will be the guest expert on hand to help.

Consultant paediatric allergist at Guy’s & St Thomas’, Du Toit is also co-investigator on the LEAP study into the prevention of peanut allergy in young children.

Follow @allergyhour and tweet your questions using the tag #allergyhour – it’s on from 20.30 to 21.30 GMT on Thursday 24 October. See you there!

News Flash! Allergy Hour, the supermarkets and what to do?

alarm-clock-artIf any of you lovely people are on Twitter tonight from 8.30pm it’s #allergyhour – the topics for tonight are allergy safe Hallowe’en treats and the biggie: strategies for ensuring supermarkets act on our needs.

It comes after I discovered to my horror that Sainsbury’s (at the very least the stores near me) have discontinued DS-gluten free bread in favour of their own brand stuff – so NO egg free, gluten free bread at all now on their shelves. In this pic not ONE bread product is egg free. Continue reading “News Flash! Allergy Hour, the supermarkets and what to do?”

My Sidney the sissy

Just say no... to peanuts!

So I’ve just noticed that Twitter and the blogosphere are ablaze with angry parents of peanut allergic kids turning their fury on US journo/ author/ humourist Marty Beckerman.

What’s he done? Penned a scabrous article about how peanut allergic children are “shitty… sissies” and how America, once a nation of “burly outdoorsmen”, is now a “nation of oversensitive babies who can’t eat legumes without our esophaguses fatally closing”.

Instead of “the pursuit of happiness”, he adds, “we [America] have a surplus of sensitivity”.

Contrary to the cautions on Twitter not to read the post I, er, read the post (sorry but how could I not?). And honestly? I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

Number one – he’s being funny. Viciously funny, perhaps, but funny, in the vein of a Bill Hicks rant or a Hunter S. Thompson diatribe. Maybe not Eric ‘n Ernie funny, but he’s not Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

Number two – what this piece really is is not a violent assault on genuine allergy (for heaven’s sake he confesses to being allergic to stuff himself) but an ode to peanuts. Now who can argue with that? Personally, I’m devastated that Sidney can’t ever sample a Snickers (the Marathon of my youth) or Nutella spread thick on hunks of white bread, or – my husband is particularly devastated about this one – peanut butter on hot toast (don’t even get me started on peanut butter and banana). Not too bothered about M&Ms, though. Too brash.

Number three – he has a point, buried in the midst of all the bombast and belligerence. America, Britain, Australia, so many countries in the world today, have become nations blighted by a surplus of sensitivity. It’s perfectly true – we just don’t know why yet (and, no, I very much doubt he really thinks the reason babies like Sidney are allergic to peanuts is because they’ve spent all their time “playing video games, watching TV, text messaging, surfing the web, and murdering their parents in Satanic rituals”). Though probably some kids do spend too much time doing that stuff (maybe not the killing bit) and, as an aside, it’s a valid comment.

Number four – just because my baby has allergies doesn’t mean my sense of humour needs to leave the room along with the nuts (and the eggs and the banana…). This may prove controversial, but one of the big problems that surrounds the issue of allergy today – and which I think serves as a block to other people, frankly, giving a shit – is a ‘woe-is-me’ mentality. Woe is me, a bit, but we’ve got to live with it, and deal with it and, truly, I’ve heard and read far more offensive stuff from people with far less tongue in cheek than Marty Beckerman plainly has.

In short? Laugh at it, ignore it, harrumph at it if you want but move on. There are bigger battles to be fought and this isn’t one of them.

(PS It’s up to you but you can find the post here)