Allergic responses call for constant vigilance

BE AWARE: Charles Eldridge (left), who suffers from allergies, with his dad Tim.
BE AWARE: Charles Eldridge (left), who suffers from allergies, with his dad Tim. Geoff Potter

PARENTING is a 24-hour-a-day seven-day-a-week occupation but for Sunshine Beach's Tim Eldridge and his wife Ann it means living in a constant state of hyper-vigilance.

Their 12-year-old son Charles lives with several food allergies and intolerances and is in danger of going into anaphylactic shock.

A recent survey of more than 1000 parents by Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line found that 41% of Queensland parents would not know what to do if their child suffered an allergic reaction and 34% would not know how to identify telltale signs.

Mr Eldridge, who became a de-facto campaigner for food allergy awareness as a result of managing his son's condition, said he believed the study overestimated people's awareness.

While living in New York he worked with public schools to develop a response protocol for when a child suffers an allergic response.

He urged parents to be aware of the needs of children with allergies and to be prepared to respond in the case of a reaction.

"My son has had two (anaphylactic reactions), the first when he was three or four and both involved going to hospital," he said.

"The first happened when he ate a pistachio which had fallen into a dollhouse.

"He was very little and playing with friends and he picked up a stray pistachio."

Charles is allergic to all shellfish and several nuts and legumes.

Pauline O'Sullivan, along with fellow Coast mum Michelle Kazukaitis, established the Allergy Menu, a service aimed at providing recipes for parents with children with food allergies.

"My daughter (Manny, 12) has multiple intolerances but thankfully I've never had to deal with an anaphylactic reaction," she said.

"Accidents can happen and mistakes are made. It's a constant worry.

"For the families who have to deal with it, it really is a situation you are living with all the time. You have to be hyper-vigilant all the time."

Topics:  allergies medibank

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

BYRON ARREST: Police feared for their safety

A still from a Facebook video showing police atttempting to arrest a woman near the Wreck at Byron Bay.

"THE footage didn't look the best for police at the time"

Liz Ellis shares the heartbreak of infertility


Her book is called If At First you Don't Conceive

Graffiti stirs up deeper issues among residents

It might have a clear message, but who did it remains a mystery.

These two words have evoked debate among residents

Local Partners