For advice on severe allergies, visit the Anaphylaxis Campaign website or drop us a line / 01252 542029 /@ACOutthere/@Anaphylaxiscoms

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Amie Bedford

Fourteen year old Amie Bedford describes the terrifying moment she started going into Anaphylactic Shock after tasting rocky road.

I was making a rocky road in school. I had been shopping the previous night for ingredients. The ingredient list said to get Brazil nuts, but as I couldn't find any, I got cashew nuts. I had finished my rocky road and me and my friend decided to taste some. Immediately, my throat started to really hurt very quickly and I could feel my throat starting to close. My parents were called to school and shortly after, I was violently sick. I was having a panic attack and felt a sense of impending doom. I was taken home where I was violently sick again.
Soon after, my mum took me to A&E at Bournemouth Hospital. On the way my face started to swell, my eyelids went white and bumpy, my lips went swollen and purple and I had generalised facial swelling. I have asthma so that made my chest a lot worse. At the hospital I was taken straight in to recuss. My blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels dropped very low. After having oxygen, a nebuliser and lots of medicine through a cannula, I started to feel a lot better. I couldn't thank the nurses and doctors at Bournemouth enough.

Living with a nut allergy and any other allergy can be extremely hard; asking what's in your food all the time can be quite embarrassing! After having allergy testing, I found out I was allergic to cashews, pistachios and peanuts but I have been told to avoid all nuts as it could change. However, with Epipens and avoiding the allergen, anaphylaxis can be handled. I found out I was allergic on the 18th of December 2013 and I haven't had an anaphylactic reaction since!

Teenager transforms allergy community with innovative new Allergy Me apps

Adam Foot, 16, is the mastermind behind Allergy Me, a line of apps which are designed to help allergy sufferers.
Adam has suffered from a peanut allergy all his life, having been diagnosed at three years old. He recently undertook the BOPI (Boiled Oral Peanut Immunotherapy) research trial at St Mary’s Hospital in London. Unfortunately, Adam was unsuccessful in getting through because he reacted too much to the small doses of boiled peanut being administered. This disappointment spurred him on to look for ways he could help other people with allergies.
Allergy Me: Medical ID and Allergy Me: Translate were born from this. Allergy Me: Medical ID allows the user to enter personal data and information such as: allergies, the severity of the allergy, the reaction signs to look for and emergency contacts. The information can be accessed whether the phone is locked or unlocked, meaning anyone could access your information in an emergency situation. An alarm feature is also enabled so that people nearby are alerted if you are having an allergic reaction; it then explains how to help.
Adam said, “Originally, I decided to make an app that showed just my allergies on my phone and Apple Watch but, I then decided that this app could benefit others. I had a quick look on the App Store and found that there were only Medical IDs on there that didn’t go into enough detail for what I wanted. So, I decided to make my app so that others suffering with allergies could benefit from it too.”
Allergy Me: Translate has been designed to make travelling abroad a breeze. The app translates simple phrases between English, French and Spanish so that people with allergies can communicate their needs more easily. The user can choose from a list of common translations and restaurant staff can reply with a response from the list.
Having started to learn computer programming at school using a programming language called Python, Adam soon found that to learn how to make iOS apps, he would first need to learn how to use a different programming language, Swift. Schools don’t provide this training, so Adam was on his own to learn how to use it. Using resources from home such as iTunes U and YouTube, he was able to build his confidence in programming and ultimately in building his apps.
When discussing the benefits of using these apps, Adam said, “I think that this would help benefit allergy sufferers as they would feel safer knowing that if they were to have an allergic reaction, then people around them would know what to do. By having the information on your phone or Apple Watch, people around you and paramedics are going to know what to do sooner, minimising the effects as much as possible. I have added an emergency alarm into the AllergyMe: Medical ID app as it will reassure people if they were having an allergic reaction on their own and required emergency attention from someone around them.”

Allergy Me: Medical ID and Allergy Me: Translate are now available on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, and Android.

Verity Powell

Twenty three year old Verity Powell, who has a severe nut allergy, shares her experiences.

Aged 13 (ish!) I had my first allergic reaction to a brazil nut in a chocolate box. Prior to this I had eaten lots of different nuts and never had a problem. Luckily, I was with my Nan at the time who knew exactly what was happening and gave me an antihistamine. After that, my habits didn't change and I ate what I wanted. 10 years on I am now 23 and it's fair to say the allergic reactions have become more frequent and it's not just Brazils anymore. With this I have become very anxious and wanted to write a blog post to reach out to anyone who feels the same. 
I think my anxiety has come from two main things. First, being scared to use an Epi-pen if I ever needed to as I hate needles and second, eating out. Last year when out in a restaurant I had explained to the waiter that I had a nut allergy and yet when the food came out it was actually sprinkled with almonds. It's the 'fear factor' and not being able to eat what you want... it affects your quality of life. So I decided to investigate and get all the facts so I could become more confident. I went to my GP and explained my difficulty and he referred me to an allergy clinic at a nearby hospital. I cannot recommend enough that anyone with allergies has a skin prick test. As you can see in the picture, my
reactions were severe but I was able to learn the exact nuts I am allergic to and surprisingly, ones that I am not. It was quick and easy and they wait for 15 minutes and then measure the lump to see how severe the allergy is. The worst reaction was to Brazils (number 8) where the lump that came out was 12mm.

Not only this, but the consultant answered all my questions and I learnt how my eczema, hay fever and lots of different factors actually all relate together. It wasn't rushed in any way and I felt so much better talking it through with someone. I also received proper Epi-pen training and I would now feel confident to do it if I had to. I learnt so much and I feel anyone suffering with food allergy anxiety could benefit like me, as long as you are clued up you can feel confident to treat yourself if and when you suffer a reaction. Life is to be enjoyed and we can't let allergies get in the way of our adventure.