Experts call for more awareness of allergies

Coeliac disease sufferer Kyra Wood is encouraging people to get educated about allergies as part of Food Allergy Week.

Ignorance towards food allergies is “costing lives”, as recently released data reveals four out of five Australians wouldn’t be able to recognise a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

As part of Food Allergy Week which ends tomorrow, Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia CEO Maria Said is urging people to become more allergy aware and is pushing for training in the use of an adrenaline auto-injector, to become as common as CPR first aid training.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the developed world and it is increasing at a frightening rate. One in 10 babies born today will develop a food allergy,” Ms Said said.

Local teacher and coeliac disease sufferer Kyra Wood has been diagnosed for over 10 years now and said more education and understanding towards food allergies could lead to people getting a diagnosis of a pre-existing condition.

“After I was first diagnosed and I stopped eating gluten, the difference in my health was incredible,” she said.

“I had all of this energy and actually thought, is this what normal people feel like? It was a huge relief to know what was going on.”

Kyra has had a number of experiences where she has received food that is not gluten free while eating out, and while she said it’s often by accident or simply not understanding, it can dramatically change how her day goes.

“Having coeliac disease is often misconstrued as a food trend or a lifestyle choice. This can make it quite difficult for people to understand the seriousness of the allergy,” she said.

“While it is a not life threatening allergy like anaphylaxis, it does affect your daily life and can have long term effects.”

For more on this story see Page 7 of The Advertiser, Friday, May 19.

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