By Ohh! Foods

#OhhMoments - Hiromi Feitoza shares her story about her sons having severe allergies

"Hello I am Hiromi Feitoza, mom of three beautiful children, a meal planner and a founder of Innerlove Nutrition. Two of my children have got server food allergies, one with dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame and another with gluten"

My first son had anaphylactic attack with formula at the age of 7 months when I introduced it for the first time to him to try to stretch his sleep. I was so shocked when I saw he was covered with hives and heard he was wheezing from his chest. It did sound like asthma so I suspected he was having anaphylaxes. Luckily he threw up all the formula so it didn’t progress further but we took him to GP. Unfortunately by the time we managed to see the doctor, all the symptoms were gone and doctor couldn’t quite diagnose him and suggested to try it again or give him soya based formula. We were left in wonder and we decided to take further step visiting another clinic for the skin prick test. He was diagnosed with multiple allergies from the test and we took him for another visit to GP to get a referral to see an immunologist. After the blood test with immunologist, he was confirmed to be anaphylactic to dairy, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame and allergic to egg. He had an egg challenge at the local hospital last year but it was unfortunately unsuccessful.

With second son, we found out he’s highly allergic to wheat at the age of 10 months when he was given a piece of wheat bread. He started to cry so hard because of stomach cramps followed by hives. We took him to the GP and the doctor confirmed that it was anaphylactic attack. We also took him to see immunologist and he was confirmed to be highly allergic to wheat after the blood test.

We’ve once faced the incident where we needed to use Epipen with our first son. We took him to my daughter’s school gala and we did ask all the ingredients in any food he ate but he still had anaphylactic attack. We are still unsure what really caused anaphylaxis which is scary. He cannot bear with cross contamination especially with dairy so we really need to be cautious. I also found feeding them with balanced diet and more variety of meal without allergen could be challenging. My son cannot eat dairy which is believed to be food source of calcium, egg which is supposed to be good source of protein and nuts which is good source of fat and protein. To ensure they are getting enough nutrients, I am studying nutrition and have completed my course to become a qualified meal planner. I am currently finishing up my study to become a nutrition and health coach as well.

I try not to say food allergies is hard but to be frank with you, it isn’t easy. When my kids attend special events at nursery or birthday party, we need to make sure kids won’t touch any food which contains their allergens. And the thing is we hardly found any food they can eat at the party or events. Occasionally some of my friends are very supportive and try their best to provide allergen free foods for my kids which I am really thankful for.  But events run in public place, we need to be super cautious. We are not 100% sure if we can feed any food without worrying about cross contamination. The good thing is it’s  getting easier to find allergen free snacks in super markets in New Zealand which we are very grateful for and feel so fortunate. It will be even better if we could get more varieties of healthier options in near future. What we need the most is more awareness around food safety with food allergies. Many people know anaphylaxis with tree nuts or peanuts but I still feel many people are not aware of some other allergens and some people refused to believe that people get anaphylaxis from other allergens such as dairy and egg. Some people get airborne with egg meaning they cannot even stay in the same room someone is cooking eggs. Food allergies could cause serious causality and prevention comes in first place. I really hope my story could contribute food allergy awareness.

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