I have recently become aware of IFAN – the Irish Food Allergy Network which launched in 2013 and is a group of individuals who have come together to promote an integrated healthcare approach and to improve childhood allergy services.
IFAN.ie – is a guide for healthcare workers and it’s aim is to aid the diagnosis of food allergy. There is a wealth of information on the website from how to find a local dietitian, to food allergy definitions, information on asthma, eczema, testing for food allergy and intolerance, pregnancy and breastfeeding and much much more.
Also on the website you will find guidelines for the managagement of food allergies in primary care and also in secondary care. The guidelines cover everything from diagnosis, to testing, management and follow up. There is an easy to use algorithm to assist healthcare professionals in diagnosis. There is also lots of good clear information for parents and anyone else interested in food allergies.
This is good news for everyone who has children with food allergies or has food allergies themselves. It is a huge progression as there has never been clearcut guidelines in Ireland for dealing with suspected food allergies before. There are currently food allergy clinics in Dublin, Cork and Louth and the services are overrun with huge waiting lists. Early management of suspected food allergies at primary care level will make a big difference. From speaking to many parents of children with food allergies, it is common to find that they found it difficult to get a diagnosis and good support when they first suspected a food allergy. The new guidelines should make a difference on the ground for parents bringing children to their first line health professionals.