As a mother of three, I’m caught up in the daily chaos of life: juggling school runs, extramurals, play dates, and homework. For years a dark cloud hung over me, dictating my moods. It increased my anxiety, and changed the way I live my life and manage my family. But thanks to oral immunotherapy (OIT), these dark clouds have slowly started lifting.
When she was almost two, my daughter Beatrice was diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and hazelnuts. We became aware of the problem a few months earlier when an unknown egg allergy resulted in a trip to the emergency room. The eggs caused her to turn bright red, balloon to twice her normal size, and vomit excessively. The symptoms subsided after she received antihistamine at the hospital. We were advised to avoid eggs and given a referral for more allergy tests.
That paediatrician’s appointment over eight years ago was the turning point in our lives. We found out Beatrice was not only allergic to eggs, but also had a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and hazelnuts. We had to carry adrenaline, in the form of an auto-injector pen, in case of accidental exposure. I started scrutinising labels and monitoring food at birthday parties, and had to explain over and over why she couldn’t have the birthday cake or eat foods that ‘may contain nuts’.
As soon as she could understand, we taught Beatrice about her condition, the importance of checking food labels, and not to ea