World-first national health campaign to help parents prevent food allergies

24 June 2019 

Nip Allergies in the BubAs part of the National Allergy Strategy, Australia’s leading allergy organisations have today launched the Nip Allergies in the Bub Food Allergy Prevention Project - a world first national health campaign to educate parents on how to prevent food allergies, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. It includes the Nip Allergies in the Bub website, that outlines the most up-to-date recommendations for introducing common food allergens to babies.

“We know that parents, understandably, can be extremely apprehensive about introducing common foods associated with allergies to their babies, but doing so to avoid development of food allergy can actually prevent a lifetime of added stress around leaving children at day-care or school, eating out, assessing allergic reactions for severity, and constant vigilance,” said Maria Said, Co-Chair of the National Allergy Strategy and CEO of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA).

“The Nip Allergies in the Bub website provides a one-stop-shop for parents explaining what foods to introduce when, how to introduce them and how to recognise if their baby has an allergic reaction,” explained Ms Said. “While some babies will still develop a food allergy despite early introduction of common food allergens, this number will be greatly reduced.”

 “Australia has the highest rate of allergies in the world, with around 20 per cent of the population affected, and the prevalence of food allergies continues to rise” explained Dr Preeti Joshi, consultant specialist in Paediatric Allergy and Immunology. 

“In the past, the advice has been to delay the introduction of common food allergens, such as peanuts, cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, soy, shellfish and fish, particularly in babies with a family history of allergies or other risk factors. However, the most recent evidence tells us that we actually need to be introducing these foods before the age of one to prevent allergies from developing. One study found that introducing peanuts between 4-11 months of age can reduce peanut allergy in high risk babies by about 80 per cent.”

 Key recommendations:

Recently named a finalist in the 2019 Australian Web Awards, the Nip Allergies in the Bub website also offers detailed information about managing eczema, which affects one in five babies under two years of age and can be a risk factor for developing food allergies.

“Babies with eczema have a higher chance of developing a food allergy, perhaps as a result of food allergens coming into contact with their skin” continued Dr Joshi. “Eczema-affected skin is compromised – meaning it doesn’t work as effectively as a barrier – so managing eczema well in babies, if it is diagnosed, can improve the performance of that skin barrier, and may reduce the risk of food allergies developing.”

Tips for managing eczema

The Nip Allergies in the Bub Food Allergy Prevention Project is an attempt to improve quality of life and relieve the burden of food allergies on Australians and the healthcare system. It is being rolled out nationally after a successful pilot in Western Australia (WA), also funded by the Australian Government. In addition to the website, the project includes:

“Our goal is to allay fears and build confidence in the general community by giving practical advice based on the latest evidence. With this innovative approach, we give parents with babies at increased risk of food allergy the tools to safely introduce foods on their own. During the piloting of the project in WA, we have monitored infant anaphylaxis in the community and there does not appear to have been an increase in anaphylaxis. This has given us the confidence to roll out the project nationally,” says Dr Joshi.

“Other countries have been keenly watching what we have been doing. Whilst the guidelines in other countries are consistent with our approach, Australia is the first to take a public health approach to implementing the guidelines. Australia is leading the world in this area” finished Dr Joshi.

More information available at: www.preventallergies.org.au

pdfNAS Nip Allergies in the Bub media release FINAL 240619289.96 KB

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Distributed by Lanham PR on behalf of the National Allergy Strategy

Media contact: Greg Townley | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 0414 195 908 www.lanhampr.com.au

About the National Allergy Strategy

The National Allergy Strategy aims to improve the health and quality of life of Australians with allergic diseases and minimise the burden of allergic diseases on individuals, carers, healthcare services and the community.

The National Allergy Strategy is a partnership led by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, the leading medical and patient organisations for allergy in Australia. www.nationalallergystrategy.org.au

Background Information

Use of the website - most accessed content (in order):

Health professional education

Several health professional education resources have been developed and are available via the health professional section of the Nip allergies in the Bub website:

Comments about the website

Consumers:

“Love the look and ease of use of the website. Very helpful and informative.”

“Great information! Easy to navigate site.”

“I appreciate the ideas of how to incorporate the allergy causing foods into meals I can offer my baby e.g. mixing with fruit puree etc.”

“Great website, important message, thanks.”

Health professionals:

“Excellent site. Love the video and would love to share it with my staff as a refresher on anaphylaxis and allergies as it is simple and short and sweet.”

“I am a child health nurse working in Perth. This is a fantastic website, well done! Will recommend to all clients.”

References:

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  2. Osborne NJ, Koplin JJ, Martin PE, Gurrin LC, Lowe AJ, Matheson MC, et al. Prevalence of challenge-proven IgE-mediated food allergy using population-based sampling and predetermined challenge criteria in infants. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011; 127 (3):668-76.
  3. Sasaki M, Koplin JJ, Dharmage SC, Field MJ, Sawyer SM, McWilliam V, Peters RL, Gurrin LC, Vuillermin PJ, Douglass J, Pezic A, Brewerton M, Tang MLK, Patton GC, Allen KJ. Prevalence of clinic-defined food allergy in early adolescence: the School Nuts study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2017;DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2017.05.041 
  4. Mullins et al.  Anaphylaxis Fatalities in Australia 1997 to 2013. JACI. 2016. 137 (2): Suppl AB57. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.12.189
  5. Avery NJ, King RM, Knight S, Hourihane JOB. Assessment of quality of life in children with peanut allergy. Pediatric Allergy Immunol. 2003; 14: 378–382. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3038.2003.00072.x.
  6. Sicherer SH, Noone SA, Muñoz-Furlong A. The impact of childhood food allergy on quality of life.  Ann Allergy, Asthma & Immunol. 2001; 87 (2): 461-464.
  7. SA Department of Health. Food Act Report: Year ending 30 June 2010. 2010:36.