Allergy awareness can be life-saving

Rani Sice and her daughter Mia, 4, who suffers from serious food allergies. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON.LITTLE Mia Sice is only four years old, but has already had two severe anaphylactic reactions.

Mia, of Norwood, was diagnosed with anaphylactic allergies to eggs and peanuts when she was seven months old.

She also had severe allergies to all other nuts, dairy, soy, strawberries and watermelon, but has since outgrown most of them.

Mia’s mum Rani Sice said many people did not realise how serious anaphylactic allergies were.

“It is a matter of life or death and I think that’s what people don’t understand,” Mrs Sice said.

She said she and her husband Andrew – who also has nut allergies – knew something was not right with Mia when she started vomiting and breaking out in a rash soon after she started having baby formula.

Mia also had eczema and reflux as a newborn, but it wasn’t until she had a prick allergy test at seven months that the allergies were discovered.

“What we realised was the reflux and the eczema were actually reactions from my breast milk,” Mrs Sice said.

“I was still eating these things Mia was allergic to, and it wasn’t giving her full anaphylaxis because it was through me, but it was affecting her.

“Her cheeks used to be red raw [from the eczema] and she would scratch so much that her cheeks would bleed.”

A prescription formula cleared Mia’s skin and meant she was not sick any more.

But while Mia is now a smooth-skinned, happy four-year-old, she has to be extremely careful what she eats, what she touches and who she comes in contact with.

“The times that she has had anaphylactic shock and has had to go to hospital have been full contact anaphylaxis,” Mrs Sice said.

“It could be a kiss on the check from someone who has eaten egg, or someone who has touched her skin who has eaten mayonnaise that day.”

Mia can also have reactions if she puts her hands on a table that hasn’t been cleaned properly and still has traces of eggs or peanuts.

The Sice family, including Mia’s seven-year-old brother Xavier, have had to learn to use an EpiPen and often practise at home.

Mrs Sice said the key to allergies was awareness.

“Mia started kinder this year [at Larmenier Catholic School] and all the little kids in her class know that Mia is allergic to eggs and peanuts.

Mrs Sice said one of her main concerns with food allergies was that many people didn’t take them seriously enough.

“It is serious, it is not like she will just get an upset tummy and vomit,” Mrs Sice said.

“She will get that and she will vomit and if she doesn’t have an EpiPen, she will die – that is the reality.”

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