Ireland's first Allergy and Gluten Free show 2010 – Jeanne Quiqley reports

Allergy sufferers flock to the fair

Ana and Phyl Axis are colourful cartoon images specially designed to provide easy-to-understand story lines about Ana’s allergies. Young children are able to identify with Ana and doing the puzzles will help make learning about allergies both interesting and fun. So say sisters - and sufferers - Louise (18) and Edel (9) Connolly.

They set up Be Allergy Aware last year, a website aimed specifically at children and teenagers. The site contains child-friendly and teenage-friendly brochures and leaflets as well as information for schools. Their stand at the recent Allergy Fair in Dublin was thronged as relieved parents found a way of explaining their allergies to children.

The first of its kind, the three-day fair attracted 19 speakers, about 75 exhibitors and thousands of visitors. It was sponsored by a number of allergy charities, including societies such as Coeliac, Asthma and Eczema, Allergy NI (Northern Ireland) and Anaphylaxis Ireland.

Swedish Glacé smoothie

Another stand that attracted visitors, particularly children, was Swedish Glacé, an ice-cream that’s  free from everything – lactose, gluten, cholesterol, GM, and is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Children who had not tasted ice cream for years were absolutely delighted with this product and kept dragging parents to the stand for ‘just another taste.’

Jane Murphy of Ardsallagh Farm goat’s cheese explained that her love affair with goats began about 30 years ago when her children suffered from eczema.  ‘A friend told me goat’s milk would help,’ she says. Initially they had just a few goats, now there are several hundred.

Denise and some of her 'Delicious' goodies.

Denise O’Callaghan of Delicious gluten free bakery says that being on a restricted diet shouldn’t mean a restricted food experience. The only artisan bakery in Ireland specialising in gluten-free cakes and breads, they are fully approved by the Irish Coeliac Society.
Over recent years, the amount of food companies providing products for the ‘allergy’ market has risen dramatically, evidence of which was seen at the fair. But there were also other allergy-associated stands, including Astex allergy bedding, Ice medical jewellery, allergy testing clinics and Dyson products.


Seminars over the three days attracted a wide audience, from families with young children to teenagers and adults. Topics included anaphylaxis; allergy in infants; allergy and complementary medicine; modern approaches to allergy diagnosis; practicalities of coping with a restricted diet.

‘If you eat cucumber and become ill, it’s probably not because you’re allergic to cucumbers. It’s much more likely to be a toxic reaction to the chemicals on the cucumber,’ says allergy specialist Dr Joe Fitzgibbon.
Dr Fitzgibbon was just one of the speakers at the fair and was explaining to his audience the difference between food allergy and food intolerance and toxic and non-toxic reactions.

Nutritional Therapist Moya Dillane spoke of the role of such therapists in allergy treatment. She explained that a therapist will try and find out what part of your lifestyle and diet may be contributing to your ill-health. Following consultation, you can get a personal diet plan that will help you to get back feelings of well-being and better health.
Their stand was also one of the most popular as sufferers sought advice, information and recipes. Their leaflets explained how nutrition can help with a number of allergies, including hay fever, eczema and asthma.




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