There are some children at the local school who suffer from serious nut allergies. The school has responded by training the teachers and other staff to be aware of the problems and by informing the parents of other children, regularly, of the precautions needed. Being the parent of a child with such an allergy sounded horrific. You keep watch on everything they eat. You keep certain food stuffs out of your house. You on high alert pretty much all the time. You worry that your child is potentially a few minutes from death if they eat the wrong thing and no one notices.

My son has been suffering from eczema and we were told to keep him away from nuts, just to be safe. He had eaten a few, and bits of peanut butter but only had the mildest of reactions. A sligh flare up of the skin, nothing more.

Then, yesterday morning, he climbed into a food cupboard and ate a cashew nut. Boom. His face swelled up, his tongue too. He got scared and tried to fill his mouth with toilet paper to take away the extra saliva and, possibly, what he thought was causing the trouble. I wasn’t at home but my wife used her knowledge of medicines to give him something that would calm the reaction down long enough for an ambulance to get to the house. I suspect she saved his life.

Many, many long hours later they both returned from hospital with a bag of epipens and a lot of leaflets. Hurray, again, for the NHS.

Now we are those parents who have to watch everything our child eats or goes near. His sister is doing her best to process the information and life has become just a little more complicated.

I am grateful for all the support being offered and for the fact that our society is reasonably geared up to a problem like this. If we’re all careful, Jude should be fine.


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