New allergy support group in Banbridge

A local mother with a severely allergic son has started a support group in Banbridge to help others affected by severe allergies, or ‘anaphylaxis’.

Fiona Peters, from Rathfriland, is carer to her one year old son who has a severe allergy to peanuts.

Food allergies are thought to affect around 5 – 8% of children and 2 – 4 % of adults. NHS hospitals in England dealt with over 20,000 admissions for allergies in the 12 months to February 20141 and every year around 20 people will die from anaphylaxis.

Fiona’s support group is run in conjunction with the Anaphylaxis Campaign, the only UK-wide charity to support people with severe, life threatening allergies.

“I helped start the group because living with severe allergies, whether allergic yourself or as a carer for someone else with anaphylaxis, can be really difficult and have a profound impact on your daily life,” she explained.

“It can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety – particularly if it’s a child with anaphylaxis you’re caring for. In the beginning, you worry that anything they eat could threaten their life.

“Helping others is, for me, a great way to regain some of the control you feel you’ve lost and provide some tangible support to those who are finding it hard to cope.”

Anaphylaxis Campaign CEO, Lynne Regent said: “It’s brilliant that Fiona has decided to run a support group for us in Banbridge.

“Many people in the general population do not understand just how serious allergy and anaphylaxis can be.

“Our support groups, like the ones Fiona is running, provide a vital touch point for affected families and individuals and are a really positive way for them to support each other. ”

The next group meeting will be on Friday September 12 in Banbridge Library.

To find out more or to book a place at the meeting, log onto www.anaphylaxis.org.uk, click through to ‘events’ and then ‘support groups’.