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During the event on Thursday 20 June, from 1pm to 2pm, the Trust’s world expert in paediatric allergy, Professor John Warner, who is also a member of our Clinical and Scientific panel, and Karen Brunas, a mother of a child with food allergies, will be on hand to answer all your questions. Moira Austin, one of our Allergy Aunts, will also be attending the web chat to provide advice and support.
Whether your child has been diagnosed with an allergy or suffers unexplained symptoms, here is your chance to put your questions to Professor Warner on everything from symptoms to treatment, while Karen will provide advice on the difficulties faced by parents of allergic children. Her six-year-old son has been receiving treatment at the Trust’s St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington for allergy to eggs, nuts and peanuts.
Everyone is invited to submit questions related to children’s allergy, and all questions can be submitted anonymously. Go to http://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/allergy-web-chat on 20 June. A link to start submitting questions will be available at least an hour before the live chat starts at 1pm. You can also submit questions on Twitter using @ImperialNHS and the hashtag #KidsAllergy.
Professor Warner, a consultant paediatric allergy and chest physician at the Trust’s St Mary’s Hospital and professor of paediatrics at Imperial College London, said there had been a dramatic increase in emergency hospital attendances for food allergy and anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) over the past 10 years.
He said the key was to identify the cause(s) of allergies so that medical experts can introduce effective avoidance strategies and prescribe the correct treatment for allergic reactions. When food allergy is involved, a dietitian should also be consulted.
He said: “Diagnosis can cause emotional stress for families but this need not be the case if timely and effective medical support is provided. Research is beginning to identify new treatment approaches which in the not too distant future could even lead to prevention of allergic sensitisation and cure if it has already developed. Web chats are a very useful way to gain knowledge and understanding of allergies which should give families greater peace of mind.”
Karen Brunas added: “'Severe allergy can affect all aspects of life, and it's not just about putting safe foods on the table. It affects family life, not just that of the child's. There is such a spectrum of severity in allergic reactions which can colour public perception of allergy as fussiness. We could really benefit from more education and awareness about severe allergies as well as the practical and emotional support we would welcome to live a more normal life.”
Professor Warner is president of the Academic Paediatric Association of Great Britain and Northern Island and also a member of the Speciality and Training committee of the World Allergy Organisation. His research has focused on the early life origins of asthma and related allergic and respiratory disorders. He is currently working on a programme to improve knowledge and co-ordinate the management of children with allergies in general practices, nurseries, schools and home(for more information see www.itchysneezywheezy.co.uk ).