For advice on severe allergies, visit the Anaphylaxis Campaign website www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/living-with-anaphylaxis/young-people or drop us a line info@anaphylaxis.org.uk / 01252 542029 /@ACOutthere/@Anaphylaxiscoms

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

My first few weeks with The Anaphylaxis Campaign: More than just communication experience

Every job teaches you something you didn’t know, whether that’s about the world, about the sector, or about yourself. For instance, working in retail is possibly one of the most underestimated jobs; those people have the patience of saints. Fast food is much less appealing once you’ve worked with it (this has its pros and cons). And, if you’ve ever had a newspaper round you’ll have learnt, more people notice the absence of their newspaper than expected; skipping the middle man between a newspapers' delivery and its recycling is apparently not appreciated. 

However, working with The Anaphylaxis Campaign has taught me lessons I not only didn’t know I didn’t know, but lessons I didn’t know we all should know.

Looking back to before this job I was totally ignorant to what having an allergy is really like and how serious they are. I know so far I’ve only uncovered the tip of an iceberg but I’ve learnt so much already. In fact, working with The Anaphylaxis Campaign has even opened my eyes to both the danger I put people I know with allergies in and the danger I put myself in, having an allergy to raw tomato seeds.

Two particular instances have stuck out and, from what I have learnt here, made me think differently.

The first; the danger I put an old boyfriend in regularly during the time I was with him. He has a severe nut allergy, which I had known about but never took as seriously as I now know I should have. One day my recklessness turned nasty after having eaten nuts and given him a peck on the lips. Despite him explaining my mistake, that the nuts I had eaten left residue in my mouth and saliva and thus gave him a reaction, I continued to make other similar, stupid mistakes that put him at risk. I was ignorant and didn’t know better because the education and awareness about allergies is too limited. Who knew kissing could be a problem?

The second; the danger I put myself in. Since I was young I’ve been intolerant to raw tomato seeds, it took a while to figure out, which I now realise shouldn’t have been the case, but even once I did I was barely any more cautious. I never thought it was a big deal. In fact, I regularly ate things I knew had tomato in. Sometimes I was lucky and there were no seeds, others I wasn’t so lucky.

The worst of these times was during a picnic with a housemate to celebrate the end of our first year at University. I bought a chicken salad sandwich and, as usual, chucked the tomatoes out. I took a bite of the sandwich and decided I suddenly felt too sick to eat and threw it away. We then went for a walk, getting slowly further and further from the house. As we walked the queasiness got worse, and on top of that my lips were beginning to tingle and my throat felt funny, until suddenly I couldn’t breathe. I was having a reaction to the tomato, worse than I had ever had before. Understandably, we panicked. Deciding it was best to get home quickly we ran back to our house – a good fifteen minutes away.

I now realise what I did that day was so stupid. Not only did I put myself at risk by eating a sandwich I knew full well had tomato in but I also did physical exercise after, which could have made my reaction even worse, and I didn’t even consider I might need medical attention because I just didn’t realise it was serious. By some miracle I was okay, but I now know how lucky I really was. I now also recognise my intolerance may not be just an intolerance and am asking my doctor for an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI). I also now feel confident to ask for one, because I know the facts and I know what support I should get. All because of this job.

But the most important lesson here is that the work The Anaphylaxis Campaign is doing is so crucial. There is not enough awareness or information about allergy and this can lead to many naïve mistakes, and sometimes these can be deadly.

However, working with The Anaphylaxis Campaign has not only taught me a great deal about allergy but is a wonderful place to work. I have only just left University, in fact the day I got the job was the same day as my graduation, and to step into a job that not only is relevant to my degree but is filled with people who are really working together and towards helping others is a privilege many students don’t get these days, especially in their first few months out of Uni.

If you want to share your allergy story too – send me an email, we are always looking for guest bloggers.

Thank you




Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Leaving home

Here guest blogger Nicole Gray shares her experiences and tips on leaving home.   You can access Nicole's blog here http://adifferentsortoflife.blogspot.co.uk/  


For the older young person one of the new challenges faced is moving out of the comforts of home life to live independently. There is obviously no set age for this and it can be a much more challenging experience for young people with health problems to the extent they are scared to move out.

I don't have much experience of living away from home as it's a pretty new experience for me. At 20 years old, in September of this year, I took the decision to move into student accommodation that my University supplies. This was not a decision I made lightly and a lot of me still wanted to stay at home where my mum was close to hand and there if I needed her. However, it's been a really big learning curve for me and something I am grateful to have experienced.

So here are some tips regarding moving away from home, whether that be to student accommodation or to a flat of you're own, hopefully this will provide some help and reassurance.

1. If living in student accommodation try and move into self-catering
A lot of Universities will supply both catering and self-catering accommodation. Catering normally consists of where you get your breakfast and dinner provided for you whereas Self-catering gives you a lot more independence towards what you cook. My University doesn't provide the choice but even if it were to I would have chosen self-catering so I were to be 100% certain that my food doesn't contain my allergens.

2. Let your flat mates know about your allergies
As I said in my post concerning dating with allergies this can be a very difficult thing to do. You don't want to feel different from those surrounding you but it's something that really needs to be done. Particularly if you suffer from an airborne allergy or a contact allergy. I'll give an example of something that has occurred whilst I've been living in student accommodation. I suffer from anaphylaxis to peanuts and my allergy is also a contact allergy. I had been out of the flat staying at home for a few days and one of my flat mates thought it would be okay to eat some peanut butter. She must have accidentally left some peanut butter on the worktop she had used and I must have touched it.  In turn I must have then have touched my face, mouth etc. Within two hours my body suffered an anaphylactic reaction to the peanut butter and I had to be taken to hospital. My flat mate felt extremely guilty and apologised to me about it. She did not realise that I could suffer a reaction even if I was not in the flat of at the time. It's very important your flat mates know the severity of your allergy and the major things to avoid. It is not to say they cannot eat the things you're allergic to however if they do to take some steps to ensure you will not come into contact with it. For example: wiping down worktops with something like dettol and disposing of the cloth used to wipe the surface, washing all cutlery used immediately after eating the product, storing the product away from anything you may come into contact with such as in their own cupboard etc. You could possibly write a list of your food allergies and stick it on a notice board in your kitchen so they can be reminded of things.

3. If possible ask for your own fridge
Universities have strict health and safety policies concerning extra furniture so you would most likely require permission for this before doing so. I got permission from my University to have my own small sized fridge in my bedroom in order to try limit any contact with other people's food that may cause an allergic reaction. This is definitely more important if you suffer from an allergy to something very common such as milk or peanuts or tree nuts as students tend to have these things stored in the fridge.

4. Telling your flat mates what to do in case of an emergency
Along with telling your flat mates about your allergies let them know what to do in case of an emergency. When I discussed things with my flat mates I let them know that I have my medication with me at all times and if I were to suffer an allergic reaction I would have to administer my epi-pen and an ambulance would have to be called. This not only allows them to understand the severity of what happens if I come into contact with something I'm allergic to but also helps them become aware of things and would most likely help them to remain calm in an emergency situation.

5. Let your University know about your allergies
When I was applying to accommodation there was a part of the application that asked you to put down any health issues that may affect you whilst staying in accommodation. This is a very vital thing to do  so they know the situation if you were to have to call an ambulance to your accommodation. Often Universities will have policies about calling ambulances. Due to the nature of student life the majority of ambulances called out to student accommodation are likely to be drink related. You need to let the University know that yours is genuinely a serious situation and you genuinely do need help.

6. Keep in contact with your parents/guardians
Parents and guardians will worry about their child when they move away from home, this will be a lot worse for them when their child suffers from a health condition such as a food allergy. It is a good idea to try talk to your parents/guardians at least once a day. Send them a text message, a Facebook message or talk to them on the phone to reassure them that you're okay. This will really help keep them at ease that there are no problems as if they don't hear from you alarm bells may start ringing that something bad has happened.

7. Take an interest in learning to cook
Due to the issue of ready meals carrying the risk of containing allergens or having may contains I wouldn't advise using these. I would definitely advise trying to learn how to cook things. It doesn't have to be seriously complicated things, you can make really tasty pasta from scratch or by using a safe pasta sauce for you. You can make things really easily and quickly that taste really good and are safe for you to eat. It's a good idea to invest in a cook book, or if you don't want to do this then there are a lot of websites that supply recipes that you can try.

8. Medical awareness jewellery 
I have found this to be a complete life-saver! I personally have a medic alert bracelet that says on it "Brittle asthma, anaphylaxis: nuts, penicillin, clarithromycin & others. Carries: adrenaline". I also keep the wallet card that came with my bracelet in my purse. It's proved really helpful when I've had to call for help. Due to the nature of anaphylaxis and it often causing difficulties with breathing it's useful to have an aid which can speak for you when you are not capable of speaking. If you don't want to invest in a medic alert bracelet or something similar you can get make your own message on a piece of paper writing down what you want it to say. Personally I would advise you to have on it:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Next of kin (who you want contacted in case of an emergency. It's often good to put down two people in case one is unavailable).
  • Allergies (you could even state what type of reaction they cause and place them into categories).
  • Medications
  • Medical conditions
You could also put things on it like Dr's name and address, any consultants you may be under etc.

9. Register with a nearby Doctor's surgery
Often people move hours away from their home to attend University/college or simply to move out. It is absolutely pointless of you living in one place and your GP being hundreds of miles away back home. Sometimes when allergies flare up you need an emergency prescription of some anti-histamines or steroid tablets and these can often be hard to come by if you don't have a local doctor's practice. It is also often vital to be registered with a local doctor to get any prescriptions you may need. It is essential to keep epi-pens which are in date as well as any other medication such as anti-histamines or inhalers.

10. Make sure your medication is in date
Further to my above suggestion this is essential. Making sure things like epi-pens are in date are a must. They normally expire within a year of getting them so it's absolute that you have a new prescription if/when this does happen. Make sure you have two epi-pens with you at all times. It's often a good idea to have two sets of epi-pens at your new living area. I personally have 2 in the hand bag I take with me out and 2 kept separately within my accommodation in a drawer. 

11. Have an emergency plan
Obviously no one wants to end up having an emergency but it's a very good idea to have a set plan in place in case this were to happen. Make sure you have someone you can call who is close at hand in case there were an emergency. This could be a flat mate, or if you're in student accommodation someone who lives close by. It is advisable to call your parent/guardian to let them know what's going on so they are aware. Be aware of your local emergency number (this is more for people who move to a different country). Have directions to your local hospital and know how to get back from the hospital as often people are discharged from the hospital 4-6 hours after their reaction if they are stable. Have a plan of how to get home if this were to happen for example: taxi, calling someone to take you back etc. If you were to go back yourself in a taxi it is often a good idea to call someone to come and meet you at the hospital to make sure nothing were to happen when going back. It's a good idea to have an emergency amount of money, enough for a taxi fare, so you will not be struggling to get home.

12. Don't share cooking utensils and cleaning products
Have your own stock of things like crockery, cutlery etc. Also have your own sponges, dish towels etc. A tip can be to have your own basin to wash your things in which you put in the sink. Rubber gloves can also be a good idea to clean things with as well as when you're doing things like taking the bins out or cleaning things like worktops and such.  


Thank you Nicole for your tips :-)  Have a look at our YouTube film too which covers going to uni with an allergy. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Travelling with allergies part 14: A new chapter

After travelling the world for 8 solid months, Stephen gives us his final update and feelings on passing on to pastures new...


“Hello there!

Having spent most of the summer catching up with friends, working and desperately trying to settle back into the somewhat ‘dull’ UK lifestyle I’ve finally found a moment to reflect on the past 8 months which summarised briefly have been the best 8 months of my life learning so many valuable lessons and experiencing so much.
Moscow seems so long ago, I can’t believe it’s approaching the year mark for when we departed…eeek! Reflecting on the trip with friends and family I’ve hardly mentioned my allergies or even thought much about them as although very present throughout the trip they didn’t affect anything I did or ruin any enjoyments for me.

The most common question I’ve been asked is what was the best part and where would you go again? Each country had its own special or unique moment in the trip however New Zealand did come up trumps for overall experience with its incredible geographical features and landscape experiencing glacial walking, Christchurch earth quake rebuilding, 15,000ft skydive and more! Other highlights along the way include the Trans Siberian Railway, Elephant riding and seeing wild kangaroos! I’d also love to return to Mongolia one day and explore it further.

I can only encourage other people like me to get out there and see the world for yourself, however worried you are about your allergies you will be pleased you did it. Of course there is a fair risk in some countries, but life is a risk and as long as you take precautions to minimise the risk then you can get exploring!

I would say translation cards are a MUST, I’ve used them many times before when visiting foreign speaking countries and would be really lost without them. YellowCross provided most of my cards, which are clearly worded and did the trick. A cooling pouch for the warmer countries gave me piece of mind that, should I need my adrenaline Auto-Injectors, they would be in good working condition.

If you are worried about travelling to a foreign speaking country, my advice would be that it is perhaps best to start off closer to home in a place where you feel less out of your comfort zone and maybe go to self-catered accommodation allowing you to eat out if you’re feeling up to the challenge, but also giving you the option cook something for yourself which you know okay.
Overall it was a fantastic trip which I cannot believe has gone so quickly! I can already feel another trip in the wings, perhaps South America in a few years...but for now, the next stop for me is sunny Bournemouth University which I start this September studying Geography – so excited!

I hope I’ve been able to encourage others with anaphylaxis to get exploring!

For now, happy travels…

Stephen :)


P.S. Keep a look out for an update on my experience of studying at university with my allergies…”

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Don't let this mistake be your last



We asked Anaphylaxis Campaign Communications Assistant Issy, 23, to tell us why the Anaphylaxis Campaign's crowdfunding campaign for a short film is so important to her...

"I made some pretty stupid mistakes in my teenage years. Confessing my everlasting, undying love for Lewis Pearce aged 14 only to find out he didn’t exactly feel the same? Stupid mistake. Failing to revise for my French GCSE oral exam and subsequently telling my examiner my hobbies included horse riding in swimming pools? Stupid mistake. Applying to universities based on the boy to girl ratio? Stupid, stupid mistake. (It’s quality not quantity, clearly). 
These are all undoubtedly mistakes made under the skewed rational of an adolescent mind. Thankfully the worst outcome of these were red cheeks and worse than anticipated dating prospects. But what if my teenage mistakes had permanent or even fatal repercussions?

I see now that is the reality for young people with severe allergies at risk from anaphylaxis.

For anyone affected by anaphylaxis, your worst mistake could be as trivial as forgetting your adrenaline auto-injector, or thinking you’ll be fine without it. And what’s worse, this one simple mistake could end up costing you your life.

While I don’t have a severe allergy myself, one of my very best friends is allergic to peanuts and I have even dated someone while in university who also had a severe allergy. Knowing what I know now, I think back to all the times we naively put those friends at risk by eating at curry houses, going on nights out and sharing drinks – all without either of them knowing where their adrenaline auto-injectors were or even what to do with them if something were to go wrong.

I recall one night where a group of us went for dinner at our local curry house. About 10 minutes in to her meal and after a few beers, my friend said her lips felt swollen and her tongue tingly. We ran back to our house, a good 15 minute jog away, to retrieve her medication. Alcohol, curry and exercise…we really did everything wrong!
But, as an allergic young person, she didn't know that because no one had told her. And if she didn't know, how was I to? 
"A young life lost leaves a gaping hole in a family and group of friends"
Thankfully she recovered and now at 23, those friends have come full circle and are religious in always carrying their adrenaline. The older you get, the more aware of your own mortality you become and see in so many ways just how much risk you put yourself at as a young person.

While any death from anaphylaxis is a tragedy, when I hear of those of my age or younger who have died, it really hits home. I feel an immense sense of sadness, unable to stop thinking about the huge, gaping hole a young life lost leaves in a family and group of friends. So much potential and ambition, snuffed out before life’s even begun.

The sad fact is that anaphylaxis deaths in 15 – 25 year olds continue to happen. And what’s worse is that many are even preventable were it only for some simple but life-saving knowledge and insight.

That’s why I’m asking everyone to support the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s film project. This film is an unprecedented project and will see the Campaign working with top industry professionals to produce a high impact, shocking film to deliver our message – carry your adrenaline auto-injector or pay the price. We will target allergic young people, their friends and show the general public just how devastating this condition can be. 
So if you want to be part of the revolution and stop naivety and ignorance becoming a killer, donate, share and shout about our crowdfunding campaign
Don't let a simple mistake be someone's last. Your support could save a young life."


Get involved and support the project now:
  1. Donate via our website at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/donate 
  1.  Text FILM06 £3 to 70070 for a quick £3 donation (or change the amount to anything up to £10)
  1.  Donate via our Crowdfunding project page here


Friday, 4 July 2014

The Great British (allergy) guide to festivals this summer

With the almighty Glastonbury last weekend and many more to come, the festival season is now well and truly underway and we thought how better to get you in the mood than with a guide to managing your allergy while enjoying the music, fun and (hopefully) sunshine.

We asked Anaphylaxis Campaign supporter and and awardwinning allergy blogger Leo for his thoughts on festivalling with an allergy. He said; “I have been to festivals and have had to face my allergy during them. I love festivals and wouldn't let my allergy stand in my way of going.”

There’s no reason why having a severe allergy should stop you getting your wellies on and getting stuck in to a great festival this summer. So here’s 6 things you should know before you go:

Before you go


Festivals often have security measures in place on entering the venue or site. This can mean bag checks as security staff will be on the lookout for anything dangerous or unusual.  As with going on holiday, it could be useful to get a note from your GP explaining exactly why you need to carry your adrenaline auto-injector, in case any misinformed bouncers want to take it off you thinking it’s something much more untoward!

When you get there


Do a quick scan on the site or a site map, locating and keeping in mind the nearest medical tents to your chosen camp site and be aware of where you are in relation to these whenever possible.
On arrival, it may be worth taking a trip down to the nearest medical or staff tent to your campsite and introducing yourself to the team, explaining your condition. This means you’ll be on their radar if anything happens, which can never be a bad thing.

Medication


Always carry two prescribed adrenaline auto- injectors (Emerade, EpiPen or Jext) on you at all times. Try not to leave them in your tent if you’re camping for the weekend, but instead carry it around with you. There are a so many cool carriers and cases that allow you to clip it on to belt loops, clothing  or keep it safe in bags if you’re stuck for where to keep it, but for Leo, the old favourite is still a winner. “Bring a backpack - it can be a pain carrying adrenaline around with you at a festival, but I found that the best way that it could be managed was to carry a backpack, which means you can also carry your antihistamines, food, water, money and all the other essentials too.” This might sound optimistic, but some types of adrenaline auto-injectors need protecting from extremes of temperature. Check out our medications page to find out about yours.

Keep your friends in the loop


Make sure the friends and people you’re going with all know about your allergy and how serious it can be. This way they’ll know to be extra careful and be better able to help you if something does happen.
Bear in mind that festivals can be extremely busy places and getting lost and separated is always a possibility. Preparing for this is all about thinking ahead. The best thing you can do is to wear medical alert bracelets or jewellery displaying your allergies and treatment, or carry a card with this information in your pocket or wallet in case you’re in need and can’t find anyone you know. Having an emergency contact both at the festival and one who is not but would be able to help, like a family member, is also useful, so make sure to list their contact details alongside your other information, too.

Eating


Finding something to eat at a festival can be tricky if you’ve got a food allergy but there are things you can do to help prevent an accidental reaction. You could contact the festival’s organisers beforehand and see if they can provide you with a list of food suppliers who will be there on the day. That way you can scope out if there’s something you can chow down on when you’re there.

Alternatively, you could take your own food. Nut allergy sufferer Leo says, “It’s really hard to find festival food that doesn't contain or may contain nuts!  It's generally ethnic food and a lot of it is vegetarian and nutty.” So what can you take? Depending on what you’re allergic to, try instant noodles, sandwiches, or your personal safe snacks like crisps or even fresh fruits – anything that you know you can eat.
At festivals where there is a town nearby, try heading away from the crowds to find fast food joints or supermarkets where they should be able to tell you what’s in what.

In an emergency


If you think you’re having a reaction then follow these tips:
  • Stay calm and stay with friends – don’t take yourself off on your own but stay with others who can help you
  • Get a friend to look for a member of the festival staff – stewards or security would be best, but this could also be programme sellers or bar staff – as they will likely have a walkie talkie on them to contact the medical tent or have a good knowledge of the site and how best to get medical attention. If you’re feeling dizzy/faint, you should stay where you are and lie down
  • If in doubt, use your adrenaline! Adrenaline may be artificially manufactured as a treatment for anaphylaxis, but it is first and foremost a natural hormone present in your body in a variety of situations, from mild nerves during a class presentation to exerting yourself through exercise and sports, so you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Just remember to always call 999 and seek medical help after use

General festival tips

  • Try taking baby wipes and antibacterial gel – best for when you can’t find a sink to wash your hands or a shower to get clean in!
  • Don’t eat or drink anything that you don’t know where it came from – or what’s in it… take it from us, that’s just a good general life principle, but doubly important if you also have allergies.
  • Make plans for where to meet friends if you get separated and always carry your mobile phone on you in case of an emergency.
  • Most importantly…have fun! Festivals are there to be enjoyed, so do the right prep and there’s no reason why you can’t get in on the action!


Click here for a list of festivals and get looking for onthat takes your fancy!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Don’t worry, eat happy


"My name’s Jenny and I’m a foodie. I love nothing more than going out for dinner after a long week at work, but having food allergies can at times make this a bit of a challenge…

At 23, I recently took the plunge and started my own blog, AllerJenny, to post my reviews of restaurants, cafes, products, allergy-friendly recipes and my tips on all things allergy for other people like me with allergies.

I’m allergic to the majority of the most common food allergens with a couple of random ones thrown in there for good measure; dairy, eggs, nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, banana, kiwi, melon and avocado. My allergies have always been a part of me, but I try my best not to let them define or limit me.

When I was younger, my parents did the food shopping, cooked my meals and were there when we went out for dinner. However, as I got older and started to become more independent, I had to take more responsibility for my allergies. I started to go out – and eat out – with my friends a lot more.

As an awkward teenager you want to fit in with the crowd so I hated that my food allergies attracted unwanted attention. At first I was embarrassed to make a fuss about them when I went out for dinner, so I would play down how bad they really were. But, after landing myself in a couple of far from ideal situations (including when I swelled up like a puffer fish on my first date with my boyfriend…!), I realised that being open and practical when it comes to my food allergies makes meals out far easier - and more enjoyable - for everyone involved!

With this in mind, here are my top tips for eating out with food allergies:
  • Phone ahead to warn the restaurant about your allergies. It’ll only take 2 minutes and it could make your experience a lot easier and more enjoyable. I know from working in restaurants that chefs appreciate it when they know about customers’ allergies in advance instead of it being sprung on them during a busy dinner service
  • Don’t be embarrassed to bring up your allergies in front of your friends. Generally they’ll be understanding and supportive and anyway, it’ll be a whole lot more embarrassing if you start swelling up in the restaurant….I speak from experience!
  • Don’t just take the waiting staff’s word for it. Always ask them to double check ingredients with the chefs rather than accepting their ‘I think it should be ok…’
  • You don’t need to go into the gory details of your allergies but make sure the waiting staff are aware of the severity of them. Let them know that even if the dish itself is safe, you could become ill if there is any cross contamination in the kitchen e.g. pizzas being cut with pizza knives already used to cut cheesy pizzas, ladles being used for more than one soup, shared chopping boards etc.
  •  Make friends with the staff in your local café/restaurant. If you’re a regular and you’re nice to them they may be more likely to do you favours, take your views on board and alter their menus
  • Be aware of staple foods in certain cuisines e.g. the use of fish sauce and nut oils in Thai cooking
  • If you decide on a whim that you want to go out but you haven’t booked anywhere and therefore you haven’t had the chance to phone ahead, chains like Zizzi, Pizza Express and Wagamama are relatively safe options as they have good allergy protocols in place. Recently I went to Zizzi and they provided me and my friend Lorna, who is coeliac, with a separate menu with all the allergens present in each dish…winner!
  • Fingers crossed that you shouldn’t need to use it but remember to always carry an your adrenaline injector, inhalers, antihistamines and any other medication you’re prescribed whenever and wherever you go out and about, even if you’re not expecting to be eating out

The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn't be afraid to eat out with food allergies. As long as you’re sensible, you should be able to enjoy eating out like everyone else, with a few extra precautions and some forethought."

For more from Jenny, take a look at her blog AllerJenny Featuring her reviews, recipes and tips.

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Travelling with allergies part 13: New Zealand and the long trip home...

"Hi everyone!

It's been a while since I last wrote, so I have loads to tell you...

The final two months of the trip were spent in in the lovely green, hilly and sheep filled country of New Zealand. I spent a month in the south exploring using the kiwi experience bus which is set up for travellers allowing them to hop on and hop off around the island making travel really easy. With the language here being English there were no problems with reading ingredients or asking in shops about my allergies.

I took the bus around the southern island and with the climate here cooler I no longer needed my cooling pouch for my adrenaline. A high light of the trip was Franz Josef, where I completed a 3 hour glacial hike and helicopter ride onto the glacier. This was one of the trip highlights, with traditional techniques used for walking including pick axes and ropes.

I had a great time in the famous Queenstown, which was pretty good but is given so much 'hype' I was expecting something out of this world!

I visited my god father in Dunedin, he knew about my allergies of course so was a simple task of reminding him and checking ingredients once I arrived. Cooking and eating in this country is just like back home, however I still need to check everything as the Bounty chocolate bars still have peanut in over here! I'm now very much looking forward to a peanut free one in the UK...

Back to Christchurch, I had a few days here so stayed with some friends making a nice change to be in a house. Having studied geography for A level and will looking forward to studying Geography at university, I was given a fascinating tour of what remains of the city after the devastating earthquake that hit in 2011.

I explained my allergies to our friends in Christchurch before I arrived, however reminded them that I had no issues in China and Thailand which are much  riskier places for people with allergies to eat, so to be aware but not to be too on edge!

I flew to Auckland for the second month where I was met by three friends from my secondary school who are working as gap year students at a school here and it was so  fantastic to see familiar faces! Chris, one of my friends, had purchased a car while here so I planned to do a two week road trip exploring with him and other friends, which was fantastic.

Of course my friends knew all about my allergies having spent years with them at school and having my allergy meals at school. We were all on a budget so stayed in hostels of course. By doing our own cooking I was able to easily monitor what we cooked and the ingredients ensuring I had a great (and allergen free) time!

We visited Rotorua first. This volcanic area results in a strong eggy smell from the sulfur but we had a fantastic few days here. We swam in a hot river, heated from a underground spring the river really was hot and to hot in places - such a strange and lovely experience. We then headed north where it was lovely and sunny so the shorts were a must! We visited Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach which was also amazing. Here at low tide you dig holes in the sand and they fill from a underground spring but its hot water - too hot in places!

Paihia at the Bay of Islands was our next stop. We took the foot ferry to Russel and tried our hand at fishing but resorted to the supermarket for dinner unfortunately. Our second day we completed a 15km walk which was fantastic, making ham and cheese sand wedges for lunch to keep us going. We drove to the famous 90 mile beach, this state high way can be driven on at low tide so we took the car for a spin! The roads are very empty and winding but eventually we reached the northern point Cape Reinga just 18,000km from home.

I spent a week in the very windy Wellington in the south which was fantastic and loved it. I was staying with my sisters god mother and her family so was looking forward to staying in a house again. I've stayed with them before in the UK and they are well aware of my allergies so just a case of the odd reminder. It was great to enjoy home cooking and even a roast chicken at the weekend - what a treat! I was treated to lunch out a couple of times while there for a week and when ordering, just like I would at home, I checked there was no nuts, eggs or shellfish used and made sure I drilled it in to them just how severe my allergy is!

I was taken to a music show one evening while in Wellington which was fantastic, followed by a meal out in an Asian restaurant. I was very impressed with their allergy menu which I asked for as it stated the allergens used in every dish on the menu so I was able to order my dish knowing it would be nut, egg and shellfish free...hurrah! Great right? Well...Having praised them so highly, I was shocked when I received my food and on top i spotted a nut shaving of some sort...! I asked Lola to try is for me and she confirmed it was a nut so I let the staff know, unfortunately they said it must have come from a garnish being put on another dish as mine was nut free. So I received a fresh dish which was fine, but it just goes to show you can never be 100% sure and there is always a risk. Ironic that I had no issues in China and Thailand and get my closest shave yet in New Zealand! Its just part of the risk of eating out I guess, a calculated risk you take if you want to experience life to the full unfortunately. The meal was lovely once I received one without a nut on the top!!!


One of my final stops was in Taupo where i completed a 15,000ft skydive! With one week to go until my flight home, I FINALLY completed my very own sky dive! The plane lifted to 15,000 feet, which was scary high however after about 8,000 feet 15,000 doesn't look much different! We were given oxygen for the final part before the hatch opened. After just a few seconds I had reached terminal velocity traveling over 200kph! I felt strangely like I was floating! Free falling for just over 60 seconds went so quickly but as you can see in the pictures I had a fantastic time. The parachute was pulled at 5000ft and we slowly, peacefully descended to the ground. Smiling from ear to ear, I wanted to do it all over again! One of the best 60 seconds of my life, absolutely loved it!
Who says you can't live life to the full with allergies?!

Back to earth, I spent a final day with a friend from prep school who lives here in Hamilton. We had a great catch up and ate out for dinner at a pub. I enjoyed lovely nachos and a few beers while catching up and sharing my many stories.

Returning to Auckland I had just a few days before my flight HOME (!!!). It's all gone so quickly and I remain unsure as to whether I want to head back to 'reality' or continue. I've had such a fantastic time and can't wait to reflect on my trip as a whole when I'm back in the ol' UK...stay tuned for the final chapter!


Stephen :)"

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Travelling with allergies part 12: Farewell Australia...

"Hi guys!

With my friend Jake arriving from the UK as soon as work ended, I quickly settled back into the 'tourist' lifestyle. We spent a few days in Brisbane visiting Lone Pine Koala sanctuary which was a highlight along with the XXXX beer factory and South Bank. I held a koala and fed kangaroos, what more could I ask for! Just watch out for their sharp claws!

We met my friend Ashleigh for a final BBQ in Brisbane one evening enjoying fantastic home made burgers, egg free of course! I had to say my good byes to my fellow door knockers which after 5 weeks together we had become a pretty close team. The last evening in Brisbane a few of us took the free ferry along the
river giving a fantastic view of the city at night.

Kangaroo selfie!
Surfers Paradise was a short coach journey south, made up of just a couple of sky scrapers, big waves and of course sunshine! We only spent  couple of days here with the food highlight being our discovery of a $2 meal in an Irish pub ...yep $2 for a steak which was fantastic and plain grilled so no allergy issues there. It really was worth the expense...! On our full day in Surfers we visited a huge water theme park called Wet'n'Wild which was excellent fun.

Our next stop was Byron Bay, which I'd already visited on my road trip with Ashleigh but was happy to return to. I unfortunately hurt my ankle playing football before leaving Brisbane and was in a bad state so had to visit a hospital where they fixed me up on crutches and strong pain killers - luckily nothing broken! This put a dampener on our Byron days and resulted in me missing my skydive...but I will now jump in New Zealand! I still could make it to the beach for some sun bathing which was great as usual and we played card games to pass the time. I managed to hop around the centre on our last day browsing the shops and enjoying Australian coffee. The heat was still way over 25 degrees here so I'm still maintaining my Frio® cooling pouch for my adrenaline. 

Each evening we cooked dinner. Well, Jake cooked dinner as he was working as a chef in the UK before arriving here...handy! Of course having known him for years he is well aware of my allergies. He cooks a fantastic chicken and noodle stir fry and made many other great dishes which we both enjoyed for a modest backpacker price.


On our way to Sydney we stopped of at Coffs harbour as Jake had to visit the giant banana! We spent two nights here before the long 8 hour coach to the world famous city Sydney.

We went on a fantastic free walking tour of Sydney, which was a great way to get our bearings and learn about the cities interesting history. Visiting the town hall, old hospital, Hyde park and underground malls we finished the tour at an area called The Rocks, an older part of the city. Of course the highlight was seeing and learning about the Sydney Opera house and Harbour Bridge both world famous structures.

We couldn't resist having coffee and 'chocolate lick' in Max Brenner chocolate bar! I checked no nuts were used before tucking into my little chocolate pot! Sydney also has a huge market called Paddy Markets whee we spent many hours. That evening we cooked (well chef Jake cooked) chilli con carne as we purchased a fresh herb and spice mix from the market. One of the best I've ever tasted!

Sydney is a trip highlight...having a great time visiting Manly beach, taking a harbour ferry, crossed the Harbour bridge and enjoyed fireworks at Darling harbour on the saturday along with a night out. I'd also looked at the online ingredients for a shop here called PieFace discovering the pies were suitable for me so lunch one day was a steak pie.

We loved Sydney and our week there flew by! We soon arrived for an overnight stop in Canberra which for some crazy reason is the capital. The strangest city, few cars, empty pavements and its attractions...well we didn't find them attractive, I can tell you now! 

Anyway, we took the Greyhound for one final time for 9hrs to Melbourne, our final stop in Aussie where we have two weeks. The weather here was much cooler at only 18-23 degrees so I stopped using mg cooling pack, lightening my day bag. We spent the first 4 days at the Melbourne Formula 1 race which was fantastic and great to walk on the track at the end!

While there, we went on a great ocean road and twelve apostles tour which was fantastic and just down the road from Melbourne! My friend Alaistair is working in Melbourne and in our hostel so he is showing us around. The Eureka sky tower which is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere gave us a great overview of Melbourne.


Our final meal together before leaving Aussie we cooked (I did help Jake a bit...!) - Kangaroo fillet in a red wine and garlic and sea salt marinade served with chipped sweet potatoes...a fantastic feast to end to our time together and 3 months in Australia.

Next stop New Zealand for two months and with any luck....my skydive!

Until next time...

Stephen :)"

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Travelling with allergies part 11: Working 9 til 5...

"Hello strangers!
Knock knock!
So you might all be wondering what I've been up to in the past few weeks...well to sum it up briefly I've knocked on over 3000 Australian doors!

Short on cash, I managed to find a job working for a solar company is Brisbane and my job has been quite simply to .knock on doors in certain areas and book 'consultations' with homeowners for an expert to chat to them about installing solar panels on their home.

I've worked 5 to 6 days a week for about 4 hours each day on a commission basis. For every appointment made I received $50 so the money soon started stacking up!

Each day we would have lunch in the park, with me eating homemade ham and mustard sandwiches which were easy to make and gave me enough energy for a good solid 4 hour knock-a-thon. Breakfast has mainly consisted of having a large bowl of porridge each morning in an attempt to remind my body that although it's over 30 degrees here most days, it is in fact Febuary and I should be eating warming winter foods!

The relentless heat does have its downsides however, as it's required me to ensure my adrenaline cooling pouch is always in good condition and to keep my auto-injectors cool while out and about. Every couple of nights I put it in a sink with water and leave for a few minutes...seems to do the job and isn't too much hassle at all. 

Cooking in the hostel I'm staying in has been pretty easy, I just cook meals I feel like and that are easy to make. A favourite is chilli-con-carne - partly because I can cook it and partly because there is enough for another cheeky night's dinner so saves me having to cook again! The hostel kitchen is cleaned daily but I do always wash my own pans before using them even if they look clean as people cook eggs and all sorts of things in the pots and I don't always trust them 100% to do the best job of cleaning them up.

Although you may still be laughing at the fact I'm currently a professional door knocker (and yes, I never thought I'd be one either!), it's given me money which I could only dream of getting in 4 weeks. I've been with a great team of 11 people in my van and you all become good friends when you spend 6 days a week together. I have also visited many different areas giving me a great opportunity to experience the real Australian neighbourhoods along with meeting some very interesting people...and noisy dogs!


Ooooh London!
My friend Jake will be arriving pale skinned from the UK in a few days time. Soon it will be more play than work again as we will be making our way down the coast towards Melbourne stopping along the journey, so check back soon for exciting pictures and updates including me jumping out of a plane...Eeeeeek!

Until then...


Stephen :)"

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Travelling with allergies part 10: ROOOOOAAAAD TRIIPPPP!!!

"Hi again!

Soooo where to begin since I last wrote...


Hmmm, well, we began out road trip with a day trip to Stradbroke island, where after a short ferry we spent the day enjoying the sun before cooking dinner. We had brought an eski with us which is a common sight here as these cooler boxes somehow keep out food cool for the day so we could enjoy a delicious BBQ as the sun set. Cooking our own food has been so simple and I can see exactly what's safe to eat by cooking  fresh meats and salads which are delicious....mmmmmmm!

From there, we headed south from Brisbane the following day to Byron Bay taking a route through mountains with stunning views where we walked down a gorge to a waterfall for a swim before arriving at the hipster seaside town of Byron Bay where we assembled our tent for the first time. It was about 41 degrees and at times just seemed too hot to do anything...I'm sure I almost melted!

After a session trying to erect our tent, we headed to the supermarket to get dinner which we cooked on one of the many BBQs around. Tucking into chicken and wraps was delicious and an easy meal before the not so easy task of attempting to sleep in the humid 34 degree heat. Byron was an awesome small town with a very relaxed, hippy feel, were life seems to run at its own pace, so we enjoyed a couple of days there, seeking out some stunning golden beaches and bays.


A few hours further down the Gold Coast we arrived at Moonee Beach, which was the most incredible looking stretches of coastline I've ever seen. We couldn't resist a stay here so set up camp right away. After a refreshing swim, we cooked a dinner of pork kebabs and vegetables which we made our self. Dining out in Australia is expensive and considered luxury so for us road tripping and backpacking, cooking for yourself is the easiest and by far cheapest (and most fun!) way to eat. For breakfast before setting of to our next destination we had cereal (checked for ingredients of course) in cups with UHT milk which was a fine start to the day.

We went on for a brief visit to Coffs Harbour on the way to Port Macquarie, where we pitched camp for two nights. This camp was in a perfect beach location and we completed a 6km walk along the coast enjoying sandwiches at a viewpoint before walking back. The weather had cooled down with even the odd cloud in the sky, so we went to town having cooked sausages, bacon, tomatoes enjoyed with a fresh loaf of bread.

We continued further south settling for two nights at Hawks Bay, which was about as far south as we travelled. We watched dolphins in the bay as the sun set both evenings which was outstanding. We enjoyed tacos and beef one evening and a chicken marinade the other. Eating here is just like being back in the UK in terms of reading ingredients and checking for my allergens, so it's been a real break after some of those more tricky to navigate. 

Leaving Hawks, we headed inland to the famous wine territory of Hunter Valley. We visited a number of vineyards and stunning sceneries before setting off in the afternoon on the New England Highway to head back to Brisbane where Ashleigh lives. We had little intention to see anything on our way back so this straight fast road was the perfect return journey and gave me a perfect view of  true Australian countryside. We stopped for one night and snacked through the day on our way back enjoying our road trip music sing-a-longs and snacks galore.


All in all, a wonderful two week road trip, with some excellent spots visited on the way! I'm really enjoying my time here and will now be looking for work for a month with my friend Josh who I was with in Thailand. We hope to find fruit picking or restaurant work around Brisbane so I'll let you know how that goes.

Return soon for an exciting update (and hopefully work filled) entry!

Stephen :)"

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Travelling with allergies part 9: Down under for Christmas & New Year

"Happy belated Christmas and New Year everyone!

Sorry for my silence, been in the wilds and unable to get some posts out, but I promise they're worth the wait!

After successfully managing my allergies through some of the hardest countries in the world I was looking forward to English for the remainder of my trip!

I arrived in Cairns where I spent a couple of days. I visited a large lagoon and public pool on the sea front giving my a feel for the Australian sun which is....HOT!

<3 !
Minus Ollie, I flew into Brisbane just before Christmas where a met a good school friend of mine, Ashleigh, who now lives here with her family. I was quickly made to feel like part of the family - they knew about my allergies from back in the UK so it was just a case of checking ingredients when asked to. Being back in a fully English speaking country felt so good and everything became much easier...finally!

Ashleigh and I went on one day to do some Christmas shopping. I purchased some sweets and chocolate before seeing my first wallaby which was hopping around. I was thrilled to have seen my first wallaby and one had a baby roo making them even more entertaining to watch hopping around the fields!

That evening I happened to check the Bounty chocolate bar I purchased to see it had peanut in its ingredients. This shocked and surprised me as they don't in the UK ingredients but do in Australia! Just goes to show that even though Australia is a lot like England, you can't be too relaxed!

There are free electric BBQs all around Australia, which anyone can use and are a fantastic idea. We enjoyed dinner all together watching the sunset a couple of evenings while cooking chicken, sausages and other delicious dishes.

Christmas lunch was a bit of a mission as it was down to Ashleigh and I to prepare, cook and serve. We spent Christmas eve purchasing the ingredients for 18 people including a trolly full of vegetables! In addition we purchased 5 chickens and 2 pork legs so spent the remainder of Christmas Eve chopping, pealing and getting everything ready to cook the next day.

Me and Ashleigh
Christmas down under began early with the children in the house ensuring we were all awake at 7am for present opening...thanks guys. Attention quickly turned to the mammoth task of cooking all the food. Everything was egg and nut free, which wasn't just for me as another family friend coming for lunch is also anaphylactic to nuts and eggs.

With military precision, everything was served at 2pm and was fantastic with everyone enjoying the meal. Christmas away from go! It was strange but I was made to feel at home and being I'm a lovely, cosy, family home made such a difference. The hot temperature was a very strange addition to Christmas, with not a snow flake in sight,  however the food reminded me nostalgically of home.

Ashleigh took me into Brisbane on Boxing Day which reminded me of London, with the river running though the city with the walkways on the banks called 'South Bank'...and there even was a London eye! We got sandwiches for lunch and I could easily see all the ingredients. On our way back we stopped at a woodland in search of my first koala sighting...mission accomplished!

The sunshine coast living up to its name
For New Year we headed to the sunshine coast to stay with one of Ashleigh's friends who lives there. Eating out in Australia is expensive so we chose to cook our own food which was great for me. We celebrated the start of 2014 in the rooftop pool of their apartment block overlooking the coastline and fireworks. It was spectacular, as you can imagine!

We have planned a road trip together from the sunshine coast to Sydney and back lasting about two weeks.

I already get the impression that Australia is similar to the UK, including its cooking and foods so with language no longer an issue its very similar to living with my allergies back in England. I encourage you all to visit and see this wonderful place and enjoy the wildlife as much as I have... <3 kangaroos!


Once again, happy belated 2014 to you all and check back soon for an exciting camping road trip entry...

Stephen :)"

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.

Travelling with allergies part 8: A big suprise

"Hi there!

Sorry it's been a while, but I've got so much to tell you....some very interesting developments have taken place!

We were fortunate with our stay in Singapore as friends of Ollie's lived there so we stayed with them...which for us travellers was a week of luxury being in someone's home!

Arriving in Singapore we were greeted with tall, shiny, clean and efficient buildings and services. After a short drive to Penny and Davis's house lunch was in order so we headed to a local food court where Penny who is Singaporean was able to take me through many of the dishes and their ingredients. I didn't have translation cards for here as Penny was more than willing to help when required.

Another luxury of Singapore was that the majority of people speak English which made everything a whole lot easier! We took the MRT which is a more efficient and cleaner version of the tube in London into the central shopping area giving us the chance to browse the many familiar shops found back in the UK. That evening Penny and David treated us to steaks at a top Singaporean restaurant which was one of the best steak meals I've ever had. The menu was written in English and staff were fluent English speaking making ordering simple. Top marks Singapore!
The city at night

The following day started English style with toast, marmalade and coffee before venturing out on the MRT with the first task to find the post office. I sent all my winter clothing to Christchurch in New Zealand to lighten my load so after some squeezing we fitted it all into a tiny box.

That afternoon we went in search of squash courts but only found a swimming pool so enjoyed a few hours relaxing in that before returning home. Penny was cooking dinner consisting of beef, potatoes, vegetables which was lovely and felt very British.

Day three we woke early to drive to get breakfast with David. We had curry and pork for breakfast which was a strange experience yes surprisingly enjoyable. We were able to ask if there were nuts used in the curry which there wasn't so after a warm spicy breakfast Penny and David took us on a drive to Mt Faber which allowed stunning views over the city.

The next day was my birthday but Penny and David had work so they treated me to an early present of lunch in a top buffet restaurant in Marina Sands Resort, a stunning 57 floor building with rooftop pool. I was able to ask the staff about ingredients used in the dishes and another benefit being the English speaking waiters. I was able to choose what I wanted to eat and with such a wide range of dishes there was lots to enjoy.

The afternoon finished enjoying the famous Singapore Sling at Raffels hotel. Dinner wasn't really required that evening as we had eaten so much for lunch, but we took a river cruse which was fantastic and offered a great view of the sky scrapers by boat.
Singapore Slings all round!


My birthday began with breakfast in bed with a huge bacon sandwich with candles in with Ollie singing happy birthday! After that wonderful taste of home we headed to Sentosa island for the day to visit Universal Studios. We had great fun there, reminding my self I'm still a child at heart. Dinner we enjoyed at Penny and Davids flat before going to watch the lights show in the marina. That evening Penny's daughter took us out to celebrate my 19th Singapore style in their bars and clubs.

Our final full day didn't begin in a hurry, we headed to the supermarket where we each purchased foods reminding us of home. All the products had English  ingredients reminding me life back in the UK. For dinner Penny had prepared a hot chicken curry, potatoes, duck and more wonderful dishes.

Out stay in Singapore had come to an end, we were very fortunate to have stayed with Penny and David who gave us a great tour of their city. We of course were spoilt a fair bit but couldn't complain after over two months ruffing it. It mad a lovely change to be in a home before continuing to Australia and New Zealand.

Although I had the luxury of being with Penny who is Singaporean, this country would be easily manageable without her help. Almost everyone speaks some degree of English and there is a wide range of dishes from around the world, making this one country you should definitely consider visiting if you're affected by severe allergy...and after all it is one of the top hospitals in the world should anything go wrong! 

Farewell Ollie :'(
So, what's this big development you ask? Well, after 4 long months of travelling together, my travel buddy Ollie has made the decision to return home to prepare for university. I've decided to keep going solo and have made even more exciting plans for my time in Australia. Don't expect me back any time soon England!

Let the adventure continue down under...

Stephen :)"

PLEASE NOTE: While the content of guest posts is checked for validity and accuracy at the time of posting, the Anaphylaxis Campaign is not responsible for the contents of, nor endorses the advice or information held within posts written by guest bloggers. Official information and advice can be found at www.anaphylaxis.org.uk.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Five simple new year’s resolutions that could save your life

While our weary traveller Stephen takes a break from blogging about all his amazing experiences and recovers from a New Year in Australia, we thought we'd kick off 2014 with some essential New Year's resolutions for anyone with a severe allergy of any kind; So here are some good old fashioned New Year’s resolutions that are easy peasy to do and could save your life...

2) Vow to become an adrenaline junky.





You don’t even have to jump out of a plane, swim with sharks or bungee jump to get your fix - all you got to do is carry your adrenaline auto-injector. Whether your doc’s prescribed you an EpiPen, Jext or Emerade device, just bloomin’ carry it! Why carry it you ask? Because it can’t save your life if it’s at home in that third box along on your top shelf or that drawer with all your other stuff in it, can it now? And while we’re on it, carrying it doesn’t just mean when you’re going out to eat or know you’re going to come face to face with your allergen(s), because the funny thing about allergens is they tend to crop up when you least expect it, rather than when you’re ready and waiting.

2) Remember to do your homework.




‘Cus everyone knows practice makes perfect. Learn how to use your adrenaline injector. The easiest way to do this is by watching our YouTubevideo but you can also read the instructions on the side of the device or go to your injector’s website formore information. Get yourself a trainer pen while you’re there – they’re free and if you’re anything like us, you can’t resist a bargain.
Spread the word and teach all your family, friends and even people in the street as who knows where and when you could need it. You could even do our AllergyWise online test if you really want to be top of the class. 

3) Use the force!

You’ve been given the force, now for god’s sake USE IT! (The force obviously being your adrenaline, that is).  Common misconceptions about adrenaline include:

Myth 1: It’s going to hurt or harm you in some way if you use adrenaline when it’s not needed
FALSE. Adrenaline is first and foremost a natural hormone and won’t harm you at all if you don’t need it. Did you know that in some countries they actually get children to inject themselves when they’re NOT having a reaction so they know what to do in an emergency?

Adrenaline injectors...they're just like light sabres.
Myth 2: You need to be on death’s door before you use your adrenaline auto-injector.
FALSE. You should ALWAYS use your adrenaline if in any doubt whether you need to or not. Some signs to look for if you need reassurance are:
-          Wheezing or finding it harder to breathe
-          Feeling faint, dizzy or super tired
-          Having difficulty swallowing, a persistent cough or your tongue is beginning to swell
If any of these appear in you, use your adrenaline immediately.

Myth 3: You have to go to hospital when you’ve used adrenaline because it’s dangerous for you.
Once again…FALSE! Well, you do always have to go to hospital once you’ve used your adrenaline, but it’s just so they can keep an eye on you, nothing else. Think about it, you’d have to go to hospital if you broke your arm, but you’d hardly be in mortal danger…duuuuh.

But remember, if in doubt, use the force…whoops, we mean your adrenaline!

4) Check your expiration date.




Just like you would check the milk before you slather your morning coco pops in it (okay bad example if you’re allergic to milk), check when your adrenaline ‘goes off’, or you could be in for an equally nasty surprise…no one likes milk chunky style.

An out-of-date injector may offer some protection, but this will be limited and sadly doesn't always do the job.

There are several free services available that will remind you when your adrenaline needs to be updated and even some apps that will do this for you from the comfort of your iPhone, so sign yourself up and make a vow never to let your adrenaline go past its best. 

Expiry reminder services:

5)  Support the Anaphylaxis Campaign!



…Oh come on you knew it was coming!
Get fit, go cold turkey, wear a wig or organise your veryown extra special event for us and we’ll be your very very bestest friend. (If you're feeling lazy, feel free just to make a one off donation!).

If you only make one real resolution that you stick to (on top of the 4 super important ones above!) vow to undertake one fundraising challenge for us in 2014. We’ve officially been supporting people with severe allergies for 20 years now and if you fancy giving a little back, check out how you can help us out here