Have you or has someone you care for been diagnosed with allergies? If so, have you joined your local patient support organisation? These not for profit organisations exist to support and advocate for people living with allergies.
This post is going to focus on patient support available in Australia, but similar organisations exist around the world. We’ll list some at the end of this post.
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia
Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) is Australia’s leading allergy support organisation. A&AA is an not -for-profit organisation helping Australians living with allergic disease. Here are some of the great reasons to become a member.
A huge range of up to date and helpful information about allergies
A&AA’s website has an enormous range of really useful information including about:
- symptoms of allergies and anaphylaxis
- diagnosis and testing
- different food and other allergens, eczema and allergic rhinitis
- managing allergies in daily life
- what to do in an emergency
- how to use an EpiPen
There are helpful videos, podcasts and e-books. A&AA recently ran a great webinar on transitioning from secondary school to high school with allergies, which is available to download. You can download help sheets and posters on a host of topics. The downloadable “chef cards” are a great tool for dining out with food allergies. You can read more about these in our post about why we love food allergy chef cards.
The website has detailed guides to managing allergies at different stages of life: pregnancy, schooling and childcare, or by age group.
You can also find information about allergy management in hospital, workplaces and for the food industry.
Support when you need it
If you need information about living with allergies you can call and speak to A&AA’s health educators. This allergy support service would be so helpful for people who are newly diagnosed or feeling overwhelmed.
Recently A&AA has been supporting families with allergies staying in hotel quarantine due to COVID-19. A&AA communicated with the authorities about the individual needs of people with allergies. As a result, these families could get access to safe foods during their stay.
Advocacy for all of us living with allergic disease
A lot goes on behind the scenes in raising awareness of allergies and their importance as a public health issue. A&AA gets involved on our behalf making submissions to government and the food industry. They even advocate for access to emergency medication and communicate with members about shortages.
Subscribe for food alerts
One of my favourite benefits of being an A&AA member is getting an email every time there is an allergy related alert about foods or medicines.
This could be advice about a recall when there is an undeclared allergen in food or medicine. Just recently there was an alert about undeclared milk in chewable children’s vitamins, which could very nearly have caught us out.
Also, some manufacturers let A&AA know when they change manufacturing processes or introduce new products which might result in a change to allergen labelling. This information is quickly shared with A&AA members.
A&AA used to have paid membership. And I used to happily pay my annual membership fees to get access to all the information and services. But now it is available to everyone who needs it, free of charge.
So if you haven”t already, you should sign up at Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia
And if you are already a member, don’t forget you can always make a tax deductible donation to help A&AA keep supporting all of us who live with allergies. You can read more about how to make a donation or get involved in fundraising on in our allergy fundraising post.
Patient support in other countries
Australia has one of the highest allergy rates in the world, which is why we have such active allergy support organisations. Here are some of the other amazing organisations supporting people with allergies around the world:
- Canada: Food Allergy Canada
- New Zealand: Allergy New Zealand
- United Kingdom: AllergyUK, Anaphylaxis Campaign
- United States: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
- Europe: you can find a useful list of organisations across 24 countries at European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA)
- Hong Kong: Hong Kong Allergy Association
- India: Allergy Care India
Make sure to join your local organisation to keep up to date with the latest developments in allergies and to access support when you need it.