* Disclosure: This review of Living with Allergies by my friend and fellow allergy mum Emma Amoscato has not been compensated in any way. Emma gifted me a copy of the book because my children and I contributed (a tiny bit!). I also offered to take the photos Emma used to promote the publication of the book. I bought the copy I am giving away. *
Emma’s book Living with Allergies: Practical Tips for All the Family came out nearly a year ago and yet I am only about to press publish on my review of the book today. Here is what my internal monologue sounds like (without the swearing): “Why did it take you so long, you absolute loser?”
When my best friend asked me why I’d not yet published my review of Living with Allergies on Saturday night, it made me think. It dawned on me that this book meant so much to me that I had a huge mental block about publishing it. I was actually worried my review wouldn’t be good enough, that what I’d write would be too naff and inconsequential. Internal monologue over. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just sit there embarrassed at my total ineptitude Shall I get on with my review of one of my top 10 reads ever? No exaggeration. Let me explain.
Emma and I met through blogging a few years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. When Emma mentioned her book idea, I thought it might be exactly what any allergy parent needed. I squealed with joy when the book deal was agreed. When she was working towards her deadlines, I was cheering Emma on. Seeing the cover for the first time, I had tears in my eyes. I was bursting with pride for my friend and her huge achievement. Heck, I even took some promo shots for Emma as soon as the book came out.
I read Living with Allergies in one sitting. My kids proudly took the book to school to show they were mentioned in the credits. Jumpy even fell asleep with the book in her arms on the night we received it.
Going through Emma’s story at the start of the book felt like reading our own story. I could relate to her conviction allergies were at the root of the eczema, her baby’s lack of sleep, frazzled disposition and the sudden transformation in baby as soon as all allergens were removed from his diet. Happy baby, no more steroids and sleep at last… A different life could finally start.
Our story was very similar. When I started suspecting my baby might have allergies and not just eczema, there was no comprehensive resource out there to help me other than books laden with medical jargon. They were definitely aimed at medical professionals rather than mums suspecting their child might be unwell because of allergies. GPs and even specialists in the Dermatology department lacked the knowledge and experience required to detect allergies.
For months, I wondered whether all the medical professionals I kept harassing thought I had Munchausen by proxy syndrome. Could they see I wasn’t creating symptoms of allergies in Jumpy in order to get attention? I’m not sure. Two of those professionals were there every step of the way: Dr Machuel, my childhood paediatrician and now friend, who was always at the other end of the phone and our fab GP, Dr Virdee. She would research the issues we were facing, keep me updated and try to provide temporary solutions. She also moved heaven and earth to get Jumpy referred to allergy experts.
Everyone else would just brush us off in mild annoyance, telling me lots of babies had tummy and skin issues. It was highly unlikely Jumpy’s symptoms were caused by food allergies. I was instructed to keep breastfeeding and wean as I did my older two children by Jumpy’s dermatologist. Two days later, I was in hospital with a baby on the verge of an anaphylactic shock. That was her first life-threatening reaction and I was furious I’d not trusted my instincts.
When you have no knowledge whatsoever on allergies and your non-sleeping, itchy scratchy, fractious baby is so unwell you spend more time in your GP’s waiting room than your own home, you just want to know what’s going on. You want to help your poorly baby but you’re so sleep-deprived you turn to Dr Google. Never a great idea.
Had Emma’s book been around and recommended by my GP 7 years ago, Jumpy’s journey to diagnosis would have been so much smoother. It might not have been easier to process, but it would have been easier to understand what was happening. It might have helped me feel less lost, isolated, useless as a mother whose baby was throwing up constantly, not sleeping, always crying, filling nappies with green goo and vomiting violently half an hour after every single feed.
Enough of my ramblings, let’s go back to my review of Living with Allergies. Emma’s book, which is endorsed by Allergy UK, is a thorough guide about allergic conditions without unintelligible medical terms or sounding like a lengthy technical pamphlet. It gives the reader an insight into allergy testing, diagnosis, treatment and how to manage and live with an allergic condition on a day-to-day basis.
It also covers crucial topics like allergy anxiety, food challenges, keeping your child safe at school, nutrition, living with allergies as a teenager, food elimination and travelling with allergies. This book is not about living in fear of allergies or merely surviving; it’s all about thriving in spite of allergies.
Living with Allergies is a comprehensive guide that goes way beyond the medical jargon. As I was reading Emma’s book, there was a lot of nodding, and I’m not ashamed to say I cried big fat tears of gratitude to Emma for putting together such a great resource.
It’s a book you can relate to with a real story at its heart, that of an allergy mum who had to learn it all ‘on the job’ as her children had reaction after reaction. Emma also found herself on that bumpy ride, struggling to be taken seriously, to find answers to her questions and reading whatever she could lay her hands on about allergies. She couldn’t find the book she needed so she wrote it! Dr Fox, who’s a leading paediatric allergist, considers it “the book you need when you leave the doctor’s office and have to navigate everyday life.”
An allergy diagnosis can be soul-crushing and completely life changing but Living with Allergies by Emma Amoscato is there to support people who want to live with allergies in a proactive and positive way.
In Emma’s words, “Living With Allergies: Practical Tips For All The Family is the practical and comprehensive guide I was looking for and is packed with up to date research, practical advice, expert insights and stories from people who are living with allergies every day.”
No other book I’ve read on allergies compares to Emma’s book. It can be read in one go if like me you have experience of allergies or want more information about allergies. But you can also dip in and out, i.e. look for guidance just before your first flight with allergies or if you’re worried about your first skin prick tests and want to know exactly what’s going to happen.
My review of Living with Allergies wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t let you know about a few of the questions the book answers:
- Can babies be born with allergies?
- Why are allergies on the rise?
- How do you manage allergy anxiety?
- Can allergies be cured?
- How do you keep your allergic child safe at school?
- What can you do to avoid having an allergic reaction when you’re away on holiday?
Where to buy Living with Allergies: Practical Tips for All the Family?
You can get Living with Allergies: Practical Tips for All the Family by clicking on the Amazon link below (affiliate link*).
*This blog post contains an affiliate link. This means that if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged a penny more – thanks in advance!