Meet My Family
I have a five year old boy named Thai. He was allergic to egg, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy, shellfish and strawberries.
From 8 weeks of age our healthy baby stopped sleeping day and night. His skin, although in appearance didn’t look that bad, was extremely itchy.
We couldn’t have him naked; he would just squirm around and scratch.
Nine months later after many problems such as sleepless nights but failing sleep school, unexplained diarrhoea, and many tears, I had reached the end of my tether. Finally, for the first time, a doctor spoke the words ALLERGIES!
A blood test at nine months confirmed this and we started our journey with food allergies.
Knowing nothing about food allergies, I breastfed as long as I could, thinking it would be best for him as he couldn’t have dairy. Unfortunately it wasn’t; allergens are passed in breast milk.
It wasn’t until I stopped breast feeding at 15 months that Thai had his first night of unbroken sleep. He looked healthy and was so much happier.
We got very little information from the doctors and a local pediatrician would not prescribe an EpiPen. “Let’s wait till he has a reaction and see if it’s needed!” As a mother this was not acceptable, putting my child in a life-threatening situation and hoping for the best! I later found a great allergy specialist and armed myself with as much knowledge as possible.
As others will know, living with someone with a life-threatening allergy means CHANGE. Peanut butter was removed from our house when Thai was little. We often cook two meals at dinner time. Going out for the day or even a few hours means always planning ahead, making sure we have food for Thai and we always carry two auto-injector, we use an EpiPen.
Birthday parties, childcare and now school have been our greatest challenges. There are still people that don’t understand allergies and it can be very frustrating dealing with policies at school that simply may not be best for your child.
I never realised that nuts, milk and egg are in so many of the foods we eat. There is not much that comes from a packet that Thai is able to safely eat. In spite of his restricted diet, Thai is very healthy. He loves fruit and has a balanced diet of ‘real foods’. We have plenty of fun together making new meals, cakes and treats that are allergy friendly.
We also have an eleven year old, Finn. He was diagnosed at the same time as Thai to be allergic to grass and dust. He takes a nasal spray and eye drops to control these allergies.
We are still a fun, healthy, happy family. We go to restaurants, birthday parties and take holidays. With simple changes we have created a safe environment for Thai. We have also given him the skills to begin to handle his own allergies, by teaching him not to share food and drinks and learning to say ‘No’ if food is offered to him.
We hope you enjoy these books and they help raise awareness in the community around you. As many reactions occur in preschoolers, we felt there needed to be a fun, interactive book that can help young children understand their allergies and teach them simple skills to enable them to stay safe. I hope the stories get you and your child talking!
THANKS FOR BEING A FOOD ALLERGY FRIEND
To create a fun and visual way to learn about food allergies. Creating resources that help young children with allergies as well as educating those without.
Helping parents, childcare educators and teachers discuss food allergies in a fun, interactive way helping to create a safer environment for everyone.
We want children to know that food allergies are just a small part of what makes them special, they do not define them.
MEET THE FAMILY
Allergies to grass and allergic rhinitis
Allergies to egg, dairy and cats. Allergic rhinitis, mild asthma and VKC.
Allergies to grass, cats, dust. Allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Allergies to grass and dust. Eczema, allergic rhinitis and mild asthma.
FOOD ALLERGY FRIEND, JACKIE NEVARD
Allergy awareness advocate, mum of two and author of the educational series My Food Allergy Friends
Realising the need for allergy education Jackie launched My Food Allergy Friends. Her Mission – To create a fun and visual way to learn about food allergies.
Jackie has passionately produced four books in her educational allergy series with another two books in the pipeline, a string of educational resources and her popular allergy awareness sessions.
Navigating the challenges we all face being a food allergy parent Jackie has turned this to her advantage and uses her real life experiences to help others.
Jackie still manages to find time to travel around Australia and New Zealand and hold her popular allergy sessions aimed at all children. You can contact Jackie here or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the old fashion way give her a call!