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Where to find support as an allergy parent

Guest Blog by Amy from The Allergy Mums Club

The Allergy Mums Club is a website which supports the families of children with allergies by providing a space to share recipes, tips and information. The site is run by Amy Lloyd, mum to two children with multiple allergies. 

There is no question about it, being an allergy parent is hard! Whether you’re a new mum trying to establish if your baby has a dairy allergy, or the parent of an older child who is starting school (or university!) with allergies, we all need some extra support every now and then.

Unfortunately, finding the right support can be a challenge. Access to allergy services is variable and frustratingly slow at times. In particular diagnosis of allergies in babies is notoriously challenging; it can take multiple appointments to reach a diagnosis. This can leave new parents unsupported at one of the most venerable times in their life.

Then there’s the emotional side of things. The mental load of caring for a child with allergies is significant, and constant. At times, many of us will struggle to get the understanding we need from friends and family. No matter how supportive they want to be, it can be difficult to truly understand what an allergy parent is experiencing unless you’ve been there yourself.

Luckily there is a lot of help out there. Trusted information from professionals, free helplines, webinars and camaraderie from other allergy parents – it’s all out there, once you know where to look. Read on for all the details:

Charities with free helplines

  • Allergy UK has a huge amount of free allergy resources and fact sheets, verified by their health board. They have a helpline that can provide advice and support. As well as the helpline, there is a live web chat option, or you can email them for support outside the helpline hours.
  • Allergy UK also has a dietitian service for those with younger children who need some support. They describe this as “specialist allergy advice to help inform and guide parents of children from 0-5 years old who are presenting with symptoms of food allergy, and have not been referred to a dietitian”.
  • Anaphylaxis UK has lots of information and resources on their website. They also run a helpline to provide support for anyone at risk of anaphylaxis, a serious and potentially life threatening type of allergic reaction.
  • The National Eczema Society is a really amazing resource to support parents in managing their children’s eczema. They have a helpline for those living in the UK and many helpful factsheets.They have also been running a series of free webinars on a variety of topics which are run by experts and are available to watch on their YouTube channel.

Virtual support groups & support from other allergy parents

Virtual meet ups

  • The Allergy Team arrange virtual meet ups for allergy parents which are free to attend. They also run webinars with input from some top allergy experts. These cover topics such as weaning babies with allergies, outgrowing allergies, and Q&As with allergy specialists. These are not free, but the costs are kept low. I have attended some, and they are an excellent way to ask questions and get information from some of the top experts in the UK.
  • Manpreet from Food Allergy Fit hosts monthly virtual meetups. These are open to parents and carers of those with allergies, as well as anyone who suffers with allergies themselves. She describes these meet ups as “a place to offload, meet people who understand more than most, make new friends, and remember that you are not the only one!”. You can follow Manpreet on Instagram to find out the dates for upcoming meet ups.

Allergy parents sharing experiences and tips

The Allergy Mums Club stories section of my website is a great place to learn from other parent’s experiences. Allergy mums have shared their diagnosis journeys, top tips about living with allergies and favourite recipes. The stories cover all different sorts of allergies including those in the top 8, and those which are more unusual. It’s a great resource for other allergy parents, and I’m so grateful to these mums for sharing their knowledge and advice.

Support through social media

Social media can be a scary place, but look in the right places and you will find a great community who want to help and support each other.

  • Instagram in general is an amazing place to get support. There is an active community on there who share recipes and information. Searching for hashtags such as #allergymum #cmpafoodies, #weaningwithallergies can be a good way to get started in finding accounts to follow. And of course, you should join The Allergy Mums Club Instagram community!

  • There are a number of Facebook support groups which are very active and supportive, with loads of other parents willing to share their experiences and suggestions. For example:

    • Official Allergy UK Support Group
    • CMPA Support
    • UK kids with eczema – parent support chat

Remember that these are people sharing their own experiences and not medical experts; always do your own research before following advice.

Allergy professionals on Instagram

There are some fantastic dietitians and clinicians specialising in children’s allergies who share their expertise on Instagram. They are all very experienced and share exactly the sort of info allergy parents need. For example, guidance on the milk and egg ladders, meeting calcium needs, and comparisons of dairy alternatives.

They will often answer questions on their posts and carry out Q&As, but can’t give individual advice (although some do provide consultations you can pay for).

Here are some in particular I would recommend:

All of the resources above can provide you with much needed additional support and information, but none can replace individual medical care. You should talk to your child’s medical professional about any concerns. 

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