Q&A with Blue Wiggle Anthony Field
Anthony Field, internationally recognised as the “Blue Wiggle”, knows all too well how allergies can turn into life-threatening anaphylaxis – the most severe form of allergic reaction – in the blink of an eye.
After his son experienced anaphylactic shock at the age of two, Anthony and his family make sure they are always ‘allergy prepared’.
When was your son, Antonio, diagnosed with severe food allergies?
I was away on tour when Antonio had his first anaphylactic reaction. When Antonio was about 2, I had a call from my wife Miki to say Antonio had a reaction to a peanut butter sandwich. It was a bit of a shock considering he had been eating them for around 12 months without any problem. It was a very frightening experience for our family.
What actually happened to Antonio when he had his reaction?
When he had his reaction, Antonio had breathing difficulties, he developed a skin rash, his lips swelled and he was quite listless. We now know that these are all tell-tale signs of anaphylaxis. We knew it was serious so an ambulance was called to take him to hospital.
According to experts, food allergies seem to be on the rise in Australia. What are the main triggers for food allergies?
Anybody can develop a food allergy and any food can trigger an allergic reaction. The most common triggers for food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy which cause 90 percent of allergic reactions.
What should you do if you think you have allergies or are at risk of anaphylaxis?
It is best to speak to your doctor about your allergy risk. They will be able to provide advice on diagnosis and management. There are also organisations, like Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, who can provide lots of information about allergies. It helps you to feel calmer once you have an understanding of the allergy and its causes.