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The Emotional Toll of Allergy

The Emotional Toll of AllergyThe Green family has had a tough time over the past four years as they battled to control their daughter’s dust mite allergy, which causes life-threatening asthma attacks. Mum Sarah was forced to give up work, the family moved to a new home to reduce the risk and they have just embarked on privately-funded desensitisation treatment. This is their story.

Serious allergies can cause an emotional and financial oll on family life. Parents feel the need to be constantly vigilant to make sure their child isn’t inadvertently exposed to a particular food or environment allergen with potentially life-threatening consequences. And the daily management of a child’s allergy impacts on daily activities and restricts access to things many families take for granted, such as eating out in a café, visiting friends, play dates and birthday parties. Parental stress and anxiety is particularly high when the child is very young.

Sarah and Nick Green know the emotional toll of allergy only too well. They have spent the last four years in a constant battle to control the dust mites that set off their daughter’s allergic asthma, leaving her struggling to breathe. The problem is so bad the family has ended up at their local children’s hospital numerous times. It has even forced them to move home.

Ciara is now four years old. Neither of her parents have allergies. Her older brother James, six, has a dust mite allergy but has been asthma-free since the age of four. Ciara fist had respiratory problems when she was four months old and contracted bronchiolitis. She had a little eczema but nothing else to indicate allergies. At seven months Ciara was in hospital for a week and had to be given oxygen to help her breathe. At 15 months she had such a bad asthma attack she ended up in a hospital intensive care cover storyunit during a family holiday to Rotorua. She was on steroids, antibiotics and Ventolin for a week.

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Issue: Summer 2013