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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The incidence of allergic diseases in children such as food allergy and Eczema is on the rise. The reasons for this phenomenon are complex and not clearly understood.
‘NIP Allergies in the Bub’ is an allergy prevention project launched by National Allergy Strategy (NAS) on 27 August 2018 in Western Australia. It is the first of its kind in the world promoting feeding children common allergenic foods by one year of age with the aim of preventing food allergies in the subsequent years.
This project will be piloted for one year, before implementing it throughout Australia.
The website www.preventallergies.org.au provides useful and easy to follow information for parents, carers and health professionals.
The website has two major sections, namely food introduction and Eczema management.
The food section, discusses the importance of early introduction of various allergenic foods, which is usually around six months, but not before four months of age, endorsing the 2016 Australian Society of Clinical Allergy and Immunology (ASCIA) recommendation.
It provides ideas for various foods introduction and contains baby food recipes too. This section also provides information about recognition of signs and symptoms of allergic reaction and answers frequently asked questions.
The language is kept simple and accompanied by eye-catching illustrations. The online resources are supported by a phone service i.e. a ‘1300 number’ where additional advice to parents is provided by trained staff.
In the Eczema section, there is a wealth of information, which is provided in either PDF format as fact sheets or videos. The latter are short clips covering various practical aspects of day-to-day management of Eczema. The high quality videos are live action films of real children (mannequin for infant) rather than animated cartoon characters. At the end of each video, there is a short summary for the instructions provided.
The website in addition, provides valuable resources for health professionals including videos, podcasts, various important links, educational handouts and e-training modules.
In summary, this website is anticipated to be a valuable platform for providing information to families and health professionals with the aim of implementing ASCIA’s guidelines for infant feeding and allergy prevention. If this project proves successful, it will be implemented across Australia.
Dr Fuad Abass is a Paediatric Allergist and Clinical Immunologist at Rockingham Specialist Centre in Rockingham.