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Q&A about allergies with Sense About Science - ANSWERS BACK

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BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 08-Jun-15 14:21:34


This week we are running a Q&A with Sense About Science about allergies. Sense About Science have just released a new guide which aims to make sense of the causes, diagnosis and treatments.

The guide tackles topics ranging from whether allergies are becoming more common to how to get an accurate diagnosis to allergies that can come and go.

Here’s an opportunity to hear more about the facts from a panel of experts arranged by Sense About Science.

The experts answering the Q&A will be:

Dr Paul Seddon, a Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton. His research interests include lung function measurement in infants and preschool children, wheezing disease and asthma in early life.

Dr Adam Fox is a Consultant Paediatric Allergist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospitals Foundation Trust in London, the UK’s largest specialist allergy service. His clinical role involves the management of children with food allergies, asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis as well as children with difficult eczema where food allergy plays a role.

Dr Tariq El-Shanawany is a Consultant Clinical Immunologist. His interests are in anaphylaxis and the implementation of new laboratory techniques to improve the diagnosis of allergy.

Dr Samantha Walker is Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director for Research & Policy at Asthma UK. Her research interests include the mechanisms of allergic inflammation, the impact of allergen immunotherapy on clinical and immunological outcomes and the impact and management of allergic rhinitis.

Please post your questions on this thread until Sunday 14 June. Our expert panel will have answers ready on Monday 22 June and we’ll post them here.



Katymac Mon 08-Jun-15 14:28:02

I have many & various skin/contact 'allergies' but my GP has told me that contact allergies aren't real allergies - if they aren't why do they often respond to antihistamines? & could it be possible that my IBS is a 'contact' allergy internally?

WouterHavinga Mon 08-Jun-15 15:20:37

I am concerned that the effects of vaccines are ignored in studies of the burden of disease due to NCD (non-communicable diseases) such as asthma, eczema and allergies. The ISAAC studies have shown an endemic of these NCDs in the developed world but do not mention vaccines as "environmental factors". (could it be due to the timing of vaccines: )

Due to vaccines, do we now have a greater burden of chronic (life-long) NCDs than the burden of disease from prevented acute (temporal) infectious diseases?

Please find here a list of my concerns on BMJ Rapid Responses and here a 4 minute video summary as recorded at Evidence Life in Oxford April 2015:

Considering the endemic increase in allergies, how can this concern be taken up by the research community as a matter of urgency?

lmnz Mon 08-Jun-15 19:34:15

Hi. I'm interested to know the latest thought / research on how stomach bugs like Norovirus may impact on likelyhood of becoming sensitised to an allergen.

lmnz Mon 08-Jun-15 19:36:42

How common and severe can skin contact reactions to foods be? Proving a real problem with school and integrating with rest of society

DoJo Mon 08-Jun-15 19:40:12

I would love to know if there is ongoing research into the efficacy of using hookworms as treatment for allergies, and indeed other immune system malfunctions? I have read and heard a lot about unofficial studies which sounded promising, but is there ongoing research that could actually lead to a controlled 'dose' being administered for treatment purposes?

Loraline Mon 08-Jun-15 19:45:01

I have a severe allergy to tree nuts (have been in anaphylactic shock) and to a lesser extent peanuts. My son is just about to turn 2 and so far we've kept him away from nuts. My husband has hayfever but no more serious allergies.

How and when would you recommend introducing our son to nuts? He has no other issues with any food and only very mild, eczema - like dry patches of skin behind his knees.


bananaandcustard Mon 08-Jun-15 22:45:41

my 15yr old daughter developed a mild milk allergy at 13 with a small positive skin prick test.

Her symptoms have always been feeling sick with facial swellings and so we avoid.

Her older brother has a list of food allergies since birth and both of them have all environmental allergies.

what are her chances of out growing milk allergy?

what are her chances of developing full blown anaphylaxis and would you advise carrying an epi pen as a precaution?

fozzybear22 Tue 09-Jun-15 09:12:35

My son was diagnosed with cmpa at 5 months. After regular testing his allergy had reduced by 20 months so we were given the go ahead for a milk challenge.we've never got passed the baked milk stage as his behaviour deteriorates massively. I spoke to the allergy nurse about this who said there was no link between allergy and behaviour and to keep with the milk ladder however we have stopped every time as it is extremely distressing for him and the rest of the family.
My question, which I've never found the answeer to, is do we keep moving up the milk ladder, and if we do this will he become sensitised to the milk protein over time and his behaviour be less affected? We are unwilling to try unless we know it will help as he is so distressed that we feel it's unfair to him. We are losing hope however that he will ever be able to have any milk products? Thanks in advance for any comments.

fearofmusic Tue 09-Jun-15 10:04:32

Can you explain why AllergyUK promoted IgG food intolerance testing for many years?

Why did Allergy UK give a consumer award to an IgG testing service?

Why has Allergy UK never publicly apologised for this?

Why are several of the people who allowed this still involved in Allergy UK?

How many children do you estimate have been malnourished as a result of IgG food intolerance testing promoted by Allergy UK?

I understand Dr Fox that this was before your time at AllergyUK and you are to be commended for cleaning it up. But I can't understand why some of the old guard are still there.

lmnz Tue 09-Jun-15 11:25:41

Your docs says that an allergic reaction doesn't make next more severe. Does sensitisation stop once sn allergic reaction occurs?

ronap23 Tue 09-Jun-15 12:00:38

My 10 year old daughter has asthma and has tested positive for various airborne allergens. She is recommended to take antihistamines daily. Her asthma is stable and she isn't showing signs of irritation so I am reluctant to give her this medication daily. What are the long to effect from daily use of antihistamine?

Also can she grow out of these allergies? Or are we looking at long term ?

Feckinlego Tue 09-Jun-15 16:50:15

My son is 7 and daughter nearly 2. As babies they both had reflux and eczema. My son has asthma. They both suffer chronic constipation. Their dietician suspects milk allergy, so we're on a trial of dairy free atm, and both children's bowels are working normally. Their paediatrician has said there's nothing to indicate milk allergy and to stop the dairy free diet. How likely is it that they are allergic? No improvement in eczema or asthma. Thanks smile

lmnz Wed 10-Jun-15 01:22:20

So many questions, thanks for running this!
I've read about the research with large quantities of lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and peanuts in Australia. Am giving my 7yo son (hospital confirmed peanut, cashew, pistachio, egg, kiwifruit, dust mites, grasses, cats) a probiotic with this in daily (recommended amount only). Wondering if there is any evidence this is helpful / harmful?

lmnz Wed 10-Jun-15 01:23:52

Immunotherapy for dust mites / grasses. Chose sublingual for my 7yo to make it less traumatic, what's the latest evidence on effectiveness, and could this help other existing allergies, or avoid further sensitisation? (fingers crossed)

lmnz Wed 10-Jun-15 01:42:05

Can you have sensitivity to an allergen in one organ (e.g. skin) without other organs (lungs / digestive system)? Will digestive system sensitivity always be more severe than skin contact? Do we understand why some allergens seem to react to different organs (e.g. dust / pollen in lungs)

LatinForTelly Wed 10-Jun-15 11:13:33

My son was hospitalised for an anaphylactic reaction to Brazil nuts when he was about 18 months old. It has been fairly easy to keep him away from Brazil nuts since then.

He is fine with peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts.

He gets stomach pain when he eats baked beans, lentils and chick peas. He gets a rash on his face when he eats tomatoes and some other things, and has one most of the time at the moment on his face (pollen?). He had moderate to severe eczema as a baby, which is now mild.

When he was in hospital, we were told he would be referred to an 'allergy clinic', but this never happened.

Generally, he is a robust and healthy boy, growing well and able to put on weight. I have never had his allergies further investigated, mostly because he is generally well, and partly I suppose because his brother has a complex disorder which demands a lot of time and hospital visits.

Should he be further investigated, or given he is generally well, is it just one of those things?

Lovepancakes Wed 10-Jun-15 21:03:22

Is IgA and IgG combined testing reliable? I Am convinced something called a Cyrex test helped me as it suggested odd intolerances (to wheat which I knew about, but also rice and corn) and as I didn't trust it I've repeatedly eaten one of those foods to find all my symptoms come back. But I would rather know from a doctor not a naturopath it's ok as sure our son has similar issues to me and DD but all doctors say is that he tests negative for coeliac therefore fine to eat wheat (he's hardly growing, moody, swollen belly etc)

Also regarding these what I think are non-coeliac food sensitivities why has it taken me and DD years of illness to find out about it and do doctors get enough training in this area? Or are there very few of us with this?

ssunniebear Thu 11-Jun-15 04:54:05

I have IBS D symptoms with consultant treatment. I have tried a low FODMAP diet but found that certain symptoms got worse particularly burning feelings in the tummy and I started to vomit. I get rashes on my chest and a saw mouth with ulsers. The dietitan suggested that these symptoms could be caused by aergy. I have not noticed any obvious food triggers and the GI seems relluctant to concider this. Could these symptoms be alergy related and if so how would I go about finding the cause?

AllergyMums Thu 11-Jun-15 13:04:08

What is the relationship between Reflux and Allergies?

Is there any new information on the causes of Urticaria?

Is patch testing accurate?

For intolerances - is there any test or is it down to the patient to figure it out?

AllergyMums Thu 11-Jun-15 13:04:41

Can probiotics help those with confirmed allergies?

SirVixofVixHall Thu 11-Jun-15 13:09:53

I have a wasp sting allergy, which I find really stressful. unlike a food, I can't avoid wasps completely, which means I worry about it. I did wonder about desensitisation treatment, but I live hours from the hospital and with youngish children it would be very tricky to go through the treatment as it is so lengthy. Is there hope on the horizon of any other treatments?

mandmsmummy Thu 11-Jun-15 22:51:58

My four year old daughter has had what the gp says is eczema for ages. It's only in the crease of her elbows and comes and goes. I'm wondering about an allergy, possibly wheat. Is this a possibility?

codandchipstwice Thu 11-Jun-15 23:00:37

Hi, my nearly 10 year old has many food allergies stemming from his massively severe birch pollen allergy (no celery, apples, carrots, peaches etc). He is also allergic to some nuts, inc peanuts. His hay fever is just awful at the moment too, and has actually tipped into asthma this summer too.

Two questions if I may:

Will eating food he's allergic to actually cause him harm? He does love the food he avoids (oral allergy didn't develop until about 6 although when weaning he'd develop hives which we though was tomato) - plus many adults don't 'get' that's he's allergic to fruit and veg and just think he's trying it on.

Secondly, what more can be done to educate as to the impact severe hay fever can have? School's first reaction to the wonderful weather is take all classes outside and it is just so awful for him come evening time.

Thank you


MrsDeVere Thu 11-Jun-15 23:01:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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