New research is underway at Charles Sturt University (CSU) into what it is like to live with a food allergy.
Ms Debbi Stockhammer, from Sydney, is doing a Doctor of Health Science through the University's School of Biomedical Sciences as part of an ongoing and very personal interest in allergy and immunology.
As part of her doctorate, Ms Stockhammer is distributing an online quality of life survey for parents and their children to collect information on the impact of living with a food allergy.
"I am very passionate about the topic and how food allergy may impact on the life of a young person, including their education, family life and social activities," Ms Stockhammer said.
It's believed up to 10 per cent of Australian children have a food allergy, and with no known cure, food avoidance can dominant the lives of those who experience allergies and their parents.
"I believe this is such an important area. I think my research will help fill a void in the community and for those who have contacted me since the survey went live all have expressed appreciation and are keen to communicate the challenges they face," Ms Stockhammer said. "I feel that this survey is not only an opportunity to raise the profile of food allergy and its impact but is also a voice for those living with this life changing diagnosis."
Ms Stockhammer says her research will also look at any differences in the impact of food allergies between those living with food allergy in metropolitan and regional areas.
"The survey should take about 30 minutes to complete. It is in two parts for parents and children," she said.
The survey can be found here. It will remain open until the end of September when Ms Stockhammer will collate the results.
The CSU student is also hoping to conduct interviews with willing parents and run small focus groups for both parents and children to gain a further insight into the issue for her doctorate.
Media contact: Fiona Halloran and Emily Malone , (02) 6933 2207
Ms Debbi Stockhammer lives in Sydney. She is available for interview. Contact CSU Media.
The project, Nuts to You. Life Changing for Me! has the approval of the CSU Human Research Ethics Committee.
The research is supervised by Dr Thiru Vanniasinkam, Dr Maree Simpson and Dr Sharon Nielson from CSU and Professor Constance Katelaris from Allery and Immunology Services.