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Oct 18

Mother gives Insight on severe allergies

NOT NUTS, NO EGGS: Mum Kristin-Lee Campbell makes sure her fridge is free of foods that could kill her children. Picture: Michael FrogleyONE splash of egg, a crumb of hazelnut, or the sting of a bee could kill two members of the Campbell family’s clan of five.
Nanjing Night Net

“It rules our lives,” mum Kristin-lee Campbell said, of the life-threatening anaphylactic reaction her two youngest children have to common foods.

Weston, 2, may only just be grasping speech, but one word is always on the tip of his tongue – eggs.

Mrs Campbell tonight stars in SBS’s Insight program Fixing Allergies: Are we any closer to finding a cure?

She joins a panel of experts and parents who discuss one of the biggest health issues in Australia.

She hopes the show will make more people aware of the life or death limbo the family face and understand how important it is to take anaphylactic food reactions seriously.

Ruby, 4, reacts so badly to hazelnuts that her whole body swells up.

The first time she ever reacted was on the night of the Wagga floods in 2012.

“I gave her a piece of Cadbury hazelnut chocolate and minutes later she swelled up,” Mrs Campbell said.

The Campbells are so terrified of exposing their children to nuts they rarely eat out and have not taken their children on a plane, since their allergies were exposed.

“There is a lot of difference between and intolerance, an allergy, and anaphylaxis,” Mrs Campbell said.

“Even trace amounts can kill.”

The Campbell’s fridge is covered with charts showing people how to administer the adrenaline filled EpiPen that must be given when a child suffers a reaction.

All of their family and friends know how to use an EpiPen in case of an emergency.

Weston’s latest reaction was a few weeks ago.

He had Heinz spaghetti out of a can that contains no eggs – however rather than having it in a large tin he had it from a small tin.

“Same food, different packaging – one is packed in Australian one is packed in New Zealand and the smaller one contained traces of eggs,” Mrs Campbell said.

“It’s terrifying.”

As the Campbell children grow up and develop into teens and adults their concerned mother is not sure what to expect.

“Sometimes I think, what if Weston kisses a girl and she’s had wine with traces of eggs?

“Will he not be able to do that?”

“It rules our lives and we’ve lost friends, but we know who our real friends are.”

Senior community dietician from Wagga Community Health Services, Jackie Priestly, said qualified dieticians could help families come up with an action plan and assist to manage severe food allergies.

“We need to take all food sensitivities seriously,” she said.

“The bottom line is if you’re in doubt, don’t eat it.”

Ms Priestly said people need to be be informed and understand what’s safe.

Insight airs tonights on SBS at 8.30pm

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.