Category Archives: Life

Survey Results Update

It’s been just over a year since the survey was put online and I’ve had 70 responses to date.

Responses are from:

Australia           16
Canada               4
England              6
Germany            1
Ireland                1
Israel                    1
New Zealand      3
Singapore          1
UK                      4
USA                 33
Male           53%
Female      47%

14 respondents had no sibblings

Of those with sibblings approx 1/3 also have allergies

65% of respondents observed symptoms before the child was 6 months old.

38% of respondents were not diagnosed with  food allergies when symptoms first presented.

No great surprises in the main allergens….

Food first diagnosed subsequently diagnosed allergic to now
Cashew nut 14 8 16
Chicken 1 0 1
Cinnamon 3 1 2
Egg 42 18 37
Fish (e.g. cod or salmon) 8 8 13
Hazelnut 10 8 13
Lamb 1 2 0
Milk 43 8 28
Peanut 24 19 26
Rye 4 2 3
Sesame 8 5 7
Shell Fish (e.g. prawn or lobster) 7 6 8
Soy 7 9 10
Wheat 14 6 8
Other 15 15 18

21% of respondents noted their child has been victimised due to their allergies!

Opinions were split on whether child-care schools had appropriate training – however 82% of respondents felt the general community (including restaurants etc.) were ill informed about the dangers of food allergies. This response was consistent across all countries.

Most answers to other questions were roughly in proportion with responses you would expect from the general population – i.e. nothing particularly significant. If there is specific information you would like to see, please drop me a comment – I’m more than happy to share.

Thank you all for your comments. There are too many heart breaking stories and far too much frustration amongst this community. I’ll keep providing updates as more surveys are completed.


Allergy Survey Results


Here are some take outs from the first 10 responses I have received.

If you would like to add your input  – the online survey is here.

Responses – 50% female; 50% Male

2 adults; 8 children

average year of birth of children 1999 (10 years old)

average of all respondents 1990 (19 yrs)

Family background

Only 1 respondent has a parent with food allergies

50% of respondents have a sibling with food allergies

60% of respondents who were diagnosed because of a major reaction –  had the reaction to milk (or milk based formula)

90% have restricted diets

90% have an epi-pen on hand for emergencies

40% of respondents has been victimised due to allergies

100% of respondents consider the they are in normal health except for allergies

Milo’s Glasses

Milo’s teacher asked us to take him for an “educational eye test”. The test does not assess the long or short sightedness of the eyes, nor astigmatism. It assesses how the brain directs the eyes and the way the brain interprets the information it receives.

At a young age, many children haven’t developed sufficient control over their focusing systems especially for close work.  Some children can’t sustain sufficient focusing for an extended time period, so after a while print begins to blur. Others can’t make fast focusing shifts from one distance to another, e.g. from the board to their desks, so any time they look away everything is blurry.   Others tend to over focus, causing eyestrain and headaches.  The additional tension from over focusing make the eyes turn too far inward, causing double vision. Finally, close work places more stress on the visual system than distance viewing, which is translated into physical symptoms—back and neck tension; headaches; constriction of perceptual fields and a reduction of visual space; a tendency to develop nearsightedness and hence a tenancy to avoid reading.

[above is para-phrased from Children’s Vision Information Network]

Myles’ teachers observed his tenancy to avoid close work, get easily distracted; struggle with fine motor skills; avoid bi-lateral activities – i.e. moving his right arm across the left side of his body (and vice versa); poor concentration and poor work in general that did not match his apparent intellect and verbal capability.

In the past, we had wondered whether he was ADD. Fidgety, poor concentration, easily distracted, didn’t want to read or do work. I went to a web site and read the description of the symptoms of ADD. These are not all the symptoms…. however these bare an amazing resemblance

  • Doesn’t pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes
  • Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to
  • Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
  • Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
  • Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items

Fortunately, we did not bolt down the ADD treatment path… and it makes me wonder how many other kids with similar issues have been mis-diagnosed?

From the diagnosis performed by the optometrist, Milo’s issues appear to be mostly “tracking“. You can see what this does to his reading from the link here.

Milo now has bi-focus glasses that he uses in the class room and when he is doing close work. This relieves the stress on his eyes and makes it “easier” for him to do close work for extended periods of time.

He is also doing a course of what I call physical therapy, to help make new – bi-lateral connections in his brain. It’s amazing the rate of progress we have seen on these very simple exercises.

Myles is also doing individual English tutoring at Numberworks, thanks to his class teacher from last year.

So – the verdict.

We kicked off all the activities at the start of the school year – and the improvement is noticeable already.

Milo’s handwriting has improved enormously. Better spacing between words. Better letter formation. When writing on blank paper, the sentences form straighter lines.

Milo’s spelling is also improving. I particularly noticed a massive improvement in his ability to recognise patterns when spelling.

And best of all, Myles’ confidence is improving too.

Would he have improved without the the physical therapy and tutoring? Maybe, maybe not – and that’s the question we will never have an answer to.

Are we happy we took the steps we did? Yes.

Off to South Africa Again!

Who would have thought I’d have two trips to South Africa in just over six months! Sunday morning at 7am I’m off again, however this time with my hubby in tow.

I’m feeling very guilty about heading off without the kids, but we consider this to be our honeymoon (it’s only taken 10 years!!).

My wonderful mum is coming down to brave my cluttered, unstructured house, for which I am enternally grateful. I was not expecting this to be possible! What a selfless wonder-woman! Myles is so excited to spend time with Dizsh – who he loves lots and lots (he keep telling me). Thanks Mum.

Already, Pete is turning this form a corporate stilted 5 star event into what exploring Africa should be about. Maybe this time I will come home with a different view; new appreciation and understanding. Time will tell.

I will report back when we get back next week.

Fare thee well.


My Own Allergic Reaction

Thursday morning I got up as usual, took my thyroid medication and my antibiotic (treatment for an intestinal infection), showered, dressed and caught the train to the city. Half way into the city my hands started to turn red and itch. I must be coming onto money I thought and smiled to myself as I scratched my hands.

The itching became more incessant and my palms continued to redden. Mmmmnot good. Then I noticed my neck and face starting to itch. At this point I thought I might be having a reaction, but was still uncertain. My face started to feel hot and I turned off my ipod as my anxiety levels increased.

Obviously, I am well versed in the potential issues of an allergic reaction, but I was confused, embarrassed by my location and unsure as to what to do.

I reached out to the guy next to me (the train was fairly empty). I asked him if my face was red a blotchy, he looked at me like I was a loony, said no, and proceed to ignore me. Great. That felt good. Maybe not try that again.

I pulled my mirror out of my handbag and saw welts on my face.  I rolled up my sleeves and saw the welts on my arms and insides of my elbows. Good god. What to do now? Breathing ok. No wheezing. Just high anxiety. Hang tight nearly in the city.

I hopped off at Spencer St Station, or Southern Cross  as its now known and called my hubby. He told me not to risk it and get to a hospital. It was before 7am and no Dr or chamist was open. I asked a guard at the station where the nearest hospital was, he couldn’t get away fast enough. No hospital near by – so I called an ambulance.

I wandered down to the front of the station to wait. Fortunately, there was a couple of people handing out flowers to promote Melbourne. I told them I was having a reaction and could they watch out for the ambulance and keep an eye on me. They were great, the girl got me a cup of water, which really helped as my mouth was dry and pasty from the reaction.

The ambulance came in 10 minutes or so. By that time the reaction had plateaued, although they pointed out the rash was all down my chest , which I hadn’t noticed.

They checked my breathing and blood pressure, all good. I certainly felt better knowing I was with people who could help if required. They drove past a couple of chemists so I could buy antihistamine – but nothing was open. Fortunately, one of my colleagues was already in the office, so the ambo dropped my off there. After an hour or so, you would never know I’d had a reaction, except for the scratch marks on my arms.

I called the Dr and went for a visit. She thought the antibiotic was the culprit. And it turns out that it was.

It was a scary experience, being alone and unsure what to do. Something I hope not to go through again. I doubt my anxiety would have been as high if I had not experienced Bella’s food allergies. It will certainly make me more cautious about how I take medication in the future, especially antibiotics.

Seems genes may play a part in allergies……

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