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A general question for mums with allergies/allergic children:

(7 Posts)
Chandra Tue 19-Jul-05 12:52:52

Are allergy guidelines accurate? Should more emphasis should be placed in informing the general population about them?

I have been wondering about this for some time and the last Bobbybob's threads are driving me to ask if you have also thought about the following:

Do you ever wonder how accurate is the information/facts given by the NHS and other organisms' guidelines? Considering the very limited number of allergists available and the wide number of allergic population of the country, AND that most of the allergic population is unsuccesful in getting treated by an allergist unless the allergy is very severe, I wonder if there is more to the facts than what is published or advised.

With such a big segment of the allergic population being uncovered by proper allergists, it seems to me that the pool of information from which statistics are drawn and guidelines developed may not be exactly representative of the real problem. In other words, things may be worse (or better, which I doubt) as only the most severe cases are studied leaving on the side other mild, not life treatening allergic reactions which may have been avoided by more accurate guidelines, by a more efficient information campaign or maybe by being provided in a regular basis by the HV.

What's your opinion about that?

As you may already know I don't have allergies nor DH, and most DS's allergies are virtually unknown in our respective countries. I supose that because of that we were not informed of risks or guidelines. Actually, I only heard of the guidelines after talking with some other mumsnetters once DS's eczema went out of control. Before then, the only related info I got from my HV was to avoid eggs during the first year, and when asked my GP about foods to avoid he told me to ask the HV who, to be honest, told me that DS could eat whatever he wanted, and if he wanted to eat only fish fingers, so be it and nothing would happen to him. Not that I followed that advice though, but it serves to illustrate the point

FIMAC1 Tue 19-Jul-05 16:00:52

Have found conventional medicine very uninformed and have basic grasp of allergies and related symptoms - in the UK

If you child had suspected Eczema and or asthma in the USA they do allergy testing as the first line of diagnosis - found the UK system very sceptical of allergies actually causing health problems, and unwilling to test

Have tried both and found that Complimentary medicine accurate and helpful with allergies - blood tests were innaccurate, painful (for dd) and took ages to get results from

It all depends on what you mean by 'proper allergists' too? The Kneisologist that I see is also a qualified Nutrionalist which was great for finding similar food groups that were not allergens - I consider her a proper allergist - Conventional medicine has very little to work from, and some of it is not accurate (we found)

Chandra Tue 19-Jul-05 21:59:23

Yes, I agree with that. I believe that in most countries the first line of action is to test for allergies but given the limited number of allergists in England, being tested for allergies could take years in some areas, and that if you ever manage to get a test.

We have paid for an ELISA test which was the only test that we were able to access privately in the short term, but the results are puzzling and given how divided the opinion is about its reliability I wonder if we are worrying a lot for DS for something that is not really that bad.

Unfortunately, the only way to confirm the results would be to have further tests but we have been in the waiting list of a paediatrician who has an "interest" in allergies for months and even when tried to go private the GP couldn't find any allergist that could see us privately before DS is 5 yrs old (in 3 yrs time). Another thing I found a bit puzzling is why, given the need of testing, most allergy clinics (at least in the north of England) only operate in a once a week basis.

What I find worse of all this process is that I have found most gp's and paediatricians we have seen, not exactly well informed about allergies, but then, they don't have to be because they are not specialised in that.

bobbybob Tue 19-Jul-05 22:41:03

There aren't even any figures in NZ for the incidence of nut allergy (it's estimated at 1 - 2%) and it would be nice to know how over represented peanut allergy is in children.

I think the labelling of jar food is partly to blame as they completely ignore suitable ages to introduce things and have egg custard marked as being suitable from 4 months.

Chandra Tue 19-Jul-05 22:47:13

That's true, something I noticed while weaning DS was that at certain point my only guidelines were provided by the baby food packaging and some of them had glutten or orange in them before the recommended ages.

I believe that the fact that peanut butter is not labelled as not suitable for early ages is irresponsible, though I can't understand yet why this product has escaped the warning labelling systems.

tatt Thu 21-Jul-05 09:42:26

the problem is, as usual, money. Until the NHS realises that it is spending a fortune treating the symptoms of ill health in people who could be avoiding drugs altogether there is no incentive for allergy services to improve. With poor advice available about allergy many people suffer avoidable ill health and don't realise it. I've known several people who have had lots of money spent on investigating/ treating symtoms of illness before it was eventually found they had a food intolerance. Must try and look at what is spent on eczema creams - some of that would certainly be saveable!

The thing that really, really annoys me is that families with allergies can't get good advice. If every mother with a family history of allergy took probiotics when pregnant we'd have a lower level of misery. They ought to be prescribed like folic acid.

Chandra have you asked your gp if he'll take some blood and send it off to a lab for screening? The labs aren't as busy as the consultants, you could ask for tests for the foods it's most difficult to avoid and it would at least be a start. Most gps don't know they can do it so they never suggest it.

Chandra Fri 22-Jul-05 01:33:13

Hi Tatt,

That's what I believe, they spend lots of money in diprobase, hc, gp consultations, eczema hv, eczema allowance, etc. when an allergy/intolerance test may solve the problem and would cost proabably as much as a month's supply of cream. How much moeny would they save if they were more proactive in informing about the guidelines rahter than tell you about it once that the problem has started.

PS Regarding creams... There was a point during DS's eczema that we were spending about 80 pounds per month in creams and that without considering the HC and Fucidin that we got on prescription.

Regarding DS. We have asked about the tests, and the GP knew it was possible, but he needed to check some things (now what???). So we are waiting (again). But thanks for asking and for providing that info

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