Are you aware that there are lots of free allergy support resources available for parents and carers? I certainly wasn’t when I was struggling with looking after a baby who had multiple food allergies. At the time I had no idea where to turn. But, I now realise that help is out there, whether you are a new parent or you have older allergic children. And a lot of it is free!
Now that I’m aware of what support is available, I want to share it with as many parents as possible. Of course, individual medical care can’t be replaced. But we all know that access to allergy services can be variable and frustratingly slow. Sometimes you need more information and emotional support whilst you are waiting to see the professionals.
What free allergy support is available for parents and carers?
In this section you will find:
- Links to organisations focused on supporting those living with allergies.
- Websites with reliable & verified information.
- Access to helplines, virtual workshops and Q&As.
- Information about virtual support groups, and links to allergy parents sharing their experiences to help others.
All of these can provide you with much needed additional support and knowledge, but none can replace individual medical care. You should talk to your child’s medical professional about any concerns.
Whilst most of these sources of allergy support are UK based, many can be accessed wherever you are. All of the websites provide useful information to everyone. Plus, many of the virtual support groups are available to all.
Support organisations with free allergy helplines
- Allergy UK is a charity dedicated to supporting both adults and children to manage their allergies. The website has a huge amount of free allergy resources and fact sheets, verified by their health board. They have a helpline that can provide advice and support. As well as the helpline, there is a live web chat option, or you can email them for support outside the helpline hours.
- Anaphylaxis UK is a British charity that provides information and support to patients at risk from severe allergic reactions. Their website has lots of information and resources. They also run a helpline to provide support for anyone at risk of anaphylaxis, a serious and potentially life threatening type of allergic reaction.
Virtual support groups & support from other allergy parents
At times, many of us will struggle to get the support we need from friends and family. No matter how supportive they want to be, it can be difficult to truly understand what an allergy parent is experiencing unless you have been there yourself. This is where virtual support groups and advice from other parents can provide such a valuable contribution to your well being.
Virtual meet ups
- The Allergy Team arrange virtual meet ups for allergy parents which are free to attend. They also run webinars with input from some top allergy experts. These cover topics such as weaning babies with allergies, outgrowing allergies, and Q&As with allergy specialists. These are not free, but the costs are kept low. I have attended some, and they are an excellent way to ask questions and get information from some of the top experts in the UK.
- Manpreet from Food Allergy Fit hosts monthly virtual meetups. These are open to parents and carers of those with allergies, as well as anyone who suffers with allergies themselves. She describes these meet ups as “a place to offload, meet people who understand more than most, make new friends, and remember that you are not the only one!”. You can follow Manpreet on Instagram to find out the dates for upcoming meet ups.
Allergy parents sharing experiences and tips
- The Allergy Mums Club stories! The whole purpose of my website is to provide other allergy parents with practical & emotional support and advice. In particular, I hope you will find some support from the allergy mums who have shared their experiences to help others.. They share their diagnosis journeys, top tips about living with allergies and favourite recipes. A great resource for other allergy parents.
Support through social media!
- Instagram in general is actually an amazing place to get free allergy support. There is an active community on there who share recipes and information, and support each other. Searching for hashtags such as #cmpafoodies, #cmpababy #allergymum #theallergymumsclub #breastfeedingwithcmpa can be a good way to get started in finding accounts to follow. And of course, you should join The Allergy Mums Club Instagram community!
- There are a number of Facebook groups which are very active and supportive, with loads of other parents willing to share their experiences and suggestions. I am a member of ‘Main Group – CMPA Support’, which I really recommend. The support and solidarity is amazing.
Support for babies and children with eczema
- The Eczema Society is a really amazing resource to support parents in managing their children’s eczema. They have a helpline for those living in the UK and many helpful fact sheets.
- They have also been running a series of free webinars on a variety of topics. For example, I recently attended a great session about managing eczema in school age children. These are run by eczema specialists, and there is a chance to ask questions. I’d suggest following their Instagram account to hear about upcoming webinars.
- There are some great Facebook support groups around for eczema (my favourite is UK Kids with eczema – parents support chat). I really recommend joining one of these. But again, these are parents sharing experiences, so always seek medical advice about any treatment. And be very wary of anyone suggesting a ‘miracle cure’ cream. If such a thing existed we would all know about it by now! Unfortunately these groups occasionally get invaded by people trying to sell their own creams.
If you are struggling with your child’s eczema, you may want to check out my post about practical tips for helping children with eczema.
Dietitian support for CMPA and other food allergies
Allergy UK has a dietitian service for those with younger children who need some support. They describe this as “specialist allergy advice to help inform and guide parents of children from 0-5 years old who are presenting with symptoms of food allergy, and have not been referred to a dietitian”.
There are some fantastic dietitians specialising in children’s allergies who share their expertise on Instagram. There are three in particular I would recommend to check out:
- Lucy Upton, The Children’s Dietitian
- Dr Penny Barnard, The Allergy Dietitian
- Lydia, The Milk Allergy Dietitian
They are all very experienced and share exactly the sort of info allergy parents need. For example, guidance on the milk and egg ladders, meeting calcium needs, and comparisons of dairy alternatives. They can’t give individual advice (although some do provide consultations you can pay for).
Share your experiences!
I really hope that the information I’ve shared in this article can give you some additional help in your allergy journey. If you have any other resources to recommend then please do add a comment below!
If you found this helpful, you may be interested in:
- Our favourite allergy friendly recipe books
- Top tips for eating out with food allergies
- The basics of cmpa (cow’s milk protein allergy) in babies
- The basics of the iMAP milk ladder for reintroducing dairy
- A parent’s guide to adrenaline auto-injectors
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