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Julius, 8 years: "It makes my throat itch, but not too bad"

Name: Julius Camner and his mother Anna Camner
Age: 8 and 40 years, respectively.
What: Julius is allergic to nuts, almonds, fish, milk, wheat, eggs, soy, pollen and furry animals. He also has dermatitis, asthma and an eye allergy condition.

Anna och Julius Camner, foto: Rebecka Uhlin.“The worst thing about having allergies is that I can’t eat different things. There’s one thing in particular that I want to eat, and that’s cheese-flavoured corn crackers. But I have a little bit every day, it makes my throat itch, but not too bad, because I don’t eat that much. In the future, I think a lot of my allergies will go away, but there are two things I still won’t be able to eat, and that’s fish and nuts.

But I hope that in the future there will be a medicine that makes the allergies go away completely. That would be really good, I think, and I think a lot of people would be happy.” As told by Julius Camner, 8 years old with multiple allergies.

His mother Anna Camner continues: “Julius had his first reaction in the maternity ward, when he was just hours old, and then we had a rough few months before he was diagnosed. I really had to nag the doctors to test him, everyone kept saying that children can’t be allergic when they’re that young. Then it turned out that Julius was allergic to everything they tested for. Now we are trying to have Julius eat just a little bit of things he is allergic to, but nothing that contains fish or peanuts. He feels its worth the discomfort, and we think it’s worth the risk. Now, he is able to eat things with traces of allergenic substances.

Allergy is about so much more than just surviving, you have to have a quality of life too. But I feel that with good planning we can work it out pretty well. We always try to plan carefully, so that there is a good alternative for Julius when we are going to a restaurant or a party.

The hardest part is the spontaneous occasions when someone brings cake or they serve pancakes in the afternoon at the after-school centre without warning. It makes Julius really sad when he’s not allowed to join the others. In the United States, they have an expression that I really like: Exclude the food, not the child. I wish more people thought like that.”

As told to: Fredrik Hedlund, first published in Swedish in Medicinsk Vetenskap No4/2018.