38 years ago.
Karen was 3 when she had her first reaction, it was from a Corneto ice cream with hazelnuts on top, we first noticed her lips and face swelling up and had no idea what was wrong (it was scary) we took her to Hospital where they treated her, but I can’t remember what medication was prescribed to her, they just said that it was probably to do with the nuts.
Back then it was unheard of, we didn’t know of anybody else having a nut allergy as it was not talked about then as it is now, there certainly wasn’t any support network.
Whenever we went to family and friends I didn’thave to worry as back then most foods where home made and if brought from a shop, they didn’t contain nuts as they do now and we didn’t have to read labels as much as one does now. If we ate in a restaurant we had no need to ask about nut oils etc as they were not used, as cooking was mainly done using fat or lard.
I have often wondered why it happened to Karen, she often used to tease me and say it was because I ate a lot of nuts when I was pregnant, which I didn’t and obviously Karen didn’t when she was pregnant with Kane and he still has the nut allergy.
Both myself and Husband come from large families and on my husbands side there was asthma, but no nut allergies as far as we can tell . My son also has a slight nut allergy mainly walnuts, we are unsure about his children as they have never been tested so far.
A theory that I have as to why these allergies are becoming more prevalent are how clean people are nowadays, I ran a clean household, but we did not have all the bacterial wipes and associated cleaning products as they do now, maybe sometimes mums worry about keeping children too clean and wrapped in cotton wool!
It wasn’t until Karen was in her teenage years that she had her first allergy test and then we realised just how bad her allergy was and knowing what we know now we realise how lucky we were not to have lost her that day.
I think it is so much harder these days as so many products contain nuts or traces of nuts, I also think that factories or food producers should have separate areas for making nut free products, which would make life much easier for people like Karen and Kane .
I hope that has given you an in sight as to how things have changed and how different it would have been for us mum’s 30 odd years ago to raise an allergic child.