The Allergy Show

Lydia at The Allergy Show, London

Have just spent a super weekend at The Allergy Show at Olympia, London with my daughter. We went there hoping to find some information that will help with her allergies and anaphylaxis.

It was fantastic to see so many allergy friendly products and so encouraging to see how things are moving in a positive direction. It’s not that long ago that the only products we could buy were from our local health food shop and that virtually consisted of bread that was like a brick and was so expensive that you nearly had to remortgage to pay for it!  It’s great to see that the major supermarkets are embracing this and were represented at the show. Marks & Spencer’s have a range of gluten free products and their sandwiches were delicious but sadly they aren’t available in all stores and when we checked there weren’t any that stocked the products within a 50 mile radius of where we live (Lake District). Tesco had a great range of products including a new rice milk from their own brand ‘free from‘ range which tasted really good (I’m not a huge fan of rice milk but was impressed with this one), Sainsbury’s sponsored the cooking zone and were busy whipping up some delicious treats during their live cooking demo’s.  Asda were also there displaying their “free from” choc orange buttons which we love. I was really excited to see that Ocado have over 550 ‘free from’ products which is the largest selection of any online supermarket, which is great news for both consumers and producers of ‘free from’ products. Unfortunately, they don’t deliver to our area (one of the draw backs of living in ‘The back of beyond’!).

There was also a fantastic choice of skincare products on display, some very innovative allergy remedies some of which we have brought home with us and an impressive selection of food manufacturers and homecare products.  My daughter’s favourite stall was Alpro Soya where she was in her element with their selection of products and she was also given some of their desserts to bring home.  I was particulary pleased to see that the North West region were represented by some marvellous businesses such as Enterprise Brands Ltd with their Bistro Express Meals (delicious vegetable chilli and sweet and sour chicken) , butterfly snacks (loved the onion bhajis) and Goody Good Stuff who are in a close proximity to my home town and make some fab sweets (check out their cheery cherries).

Lydia and Dr Chris Steele

We also met the extremely charismatic Dr Chris Steele from ITV’s This Morning who was on the Genius stand (lovely Naan bread by the way), he very kindly agreed to having his photo taking with my daughter.   I had to move on after I noticed there was an orderly queue forming behind us and I didn’t want to monopolize any more of  his time with my waffling on about Lydia’s allergies.  Lydia was really happy to have met him and couldn’t wait to tell her friends about meeting a celeb.

The general consensus of speaking to the various medical organizations and health professionals was that Lydia should carry an EpiPen with her at all times.  We had previously been told that as her lungs have never fully collapsed that she would have enough time to get to hospital with the other medication that she has (prednisolone, inhaler and antihistamine).  My gut feeling was that she should have an EpiPen but as the person who would prescribe it to her didn’t think it necessary then I had taken his word for it, after all I’m not the expert!  It just goes to show that sometimes you should just go with your instinct, at least I feel vindicated that I’m not just being an over paranoid mum and now the task (fight) of getting a referral to a Paediatric Allergist commences.

I also had the pleasure of chatting with some other mums after attending one of The Anaphylaxis campaigns workshops and hopefully we will keep in touch.  One of the mum’s was worrying about her daughter starting school soon as she has a severe nut and seed allergy and was rightly concerned that her daughter’s allergies and well being were going to be properly managed by the school.  I met another mum along with her beautiful teenage daughter who has a multitude of allergies and it was really nice for Lydia to actually meet someone else with multiple allergies and I also think it made her aware that her situation could be a lot worse than it is.  One of the things that I have taken away from this experience is that there is always someone in a lot worse situation than you are and people’s coping mechanism and positive attitude is extremely humbling.

We were also very lucky to receive some free products for us to review on our Allergy Friendly Reviews website so I would just like to say a huge thank you to Sakata, Goody Good Stuff, Alpro Soya, lull, HayMax, purepotions, Kara, Ecover, Almawin, Prevalin and Care Allergy Defence.  Ocado and Ecover have also kindly promised to be in touch with regards sending some products for us to review.  So make sure you keep checking on Allergy Friendly Reviews for new product reviews.

I will keep you posted on the progress of getting a referral and EpiPen.  Anyone going to the Allergy Show in Liverpool in October?  If so, give me a shout and we can meet up.

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  1. Very jealous you got to meet Dr Chris Steele. He does so much to educate people about allergies and it was great to see him supporting the show. Glad you enjoyed yourselves. I discovered some very exciting new things so will be blogging soon too. Good luck with the EpiPen quest. Hopefully your daughter will never have to use it but allergic reactions can come on very swiftly. Worries when doctors advise not having one. I know they are expensive but a life is worth it surely?

    • Hi Ruth, yes we were lucky to speak to Dr Chris, he was lovely!

      I would be more than happy to pay for an EpiPen if it meant safeguarding my daughter, she has been to hospital twice in the last couple of months with breathing difficulties (once in an ambulance). Waiting for a near death experience before actually issuing an EpiPen seems non-sensical to me when especially when you have a confirmed diagnosis and a lifelong history of allergies and anaphylaxis.

      I have just read with horror the account of what happened to you at The Allergy Show, truly shocking! You would hope (expect) that the exhibitors had an understanding of labelling and cross-contamination. I did see a note on Saturday morning warning all exhibitors to ensure that they offered advice on all ingredients and hoped that this wasn’t due to someone having had a reaction. I hope that you have recovered from the incident and are feeling better now. If anyone wants to read Ruth’s account of what happened they can do so here.

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