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Tom’s Secret Agents

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Little book, little author, BIG issue

“Hi my name’s Jamie. I have a nut allergy. I made a book called ‘Tom’s Secret Agents’, you can buy it on Amazon.”

This is the opening line of the blog I asked my young son to help write for Allergy Buddies. With a bit of encouragement he added.

“I discovered I had a nut allergy in 2013, when I was 5 years old. My mum wanted to learn lots about it and looked at websites like Anaphylaxis Campaign. I have an identical twin brother, he’s annoying, but he doesn’t have a nut allergy, which is even more annoying.”

I had a vague suspicion Jamie had an allergy after he became agitated after a meal and was sick. But, it was over a year later before we KNEW. His dad shared some nuts with him and Jamie became agitated immediately, complaining about an itchy mouth, we rinsed it out, it progressed to an itchy throat. We drove to the nearest out of hours, where a spoonful of Piriton resulted in vomiting. A few days later Jamie had asthma following a cold, unlike the normal course of things it didn’t respond to oral steroids… resulting in his first admission to hospital and two nights in the high dependency unit.

Later that year a skin prick test showed positive for tree nuts, especially cashews and pistachios. Four Epipens and no more nuts. A cold the same week saw his second admission to hospital with asthma.

A year after the cashew nut incident Jamie had another reaction causing his face to swell up. Despite following the hospital guidelines we’d failed to reduce the frequency of reactions. This time it was a delayed reaction to fruit jelly sweets with no nut ingredients, but a nut warning. We’d been advised that Jamie could tolerate foods with nut trace warnings, but trawling the internet persuaded us otherwise. Meanwhile his identical twin brother, with a 65% chance of sharing the allergies, had a negative skin prick test.

Feeling the best way to protect Jamie was for him to be fully informed, we talked and watched Anaphylaxis Campaign videos together. He decided to script, star and direct his own video for their YouTube channel. In it he explains an idea he had one bedtime that helped him visualise the strange things going on inside his body.

He imagined that in his tongue were tiny Secret Agents that, on detecting even the smallest spec of nut, would send messages all around his body and trigger a huge fight. It was suggested Jamie illustrate his story and, with added graphic design skills and edits from mum, he found himself the proud author and illustrator of a great little book explaining a big issue to little people.

Meanwhile Jamie’s own allergy story continues, with minor reactions to some (not all) oranges and some sweets. So perhaps it wasn’t nut traces after all… fruit sweets are now off the menu and a GP appointment beckons.


Look inside ‘Tom’s Secret Agents’ at Amazon where it is on sale for £4.99 (Kindle edition £2.52)

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Who are we?

Allergy Buddies are custom made products to alert everyone of a child’s allergy or intolerance.


Ever had an instance at a crèche, party, play-gym where someone has given your child something that made them ill? Yes me too. I’m sure like me you want to keep your child safe and that is where Allergy Buddies comes in. My little chap is so far intolerant to diary, eggs and we think citric acid as well as hayfever of every description and pet allergies. So I decided to create a brand that would allow a child’s allergy/intolerance to be easily identified by any carer, teacher and other parents and to help prevent those dreaded slips.