'We had no idea what was wrong': Mum sets out to raise awareness of rare food allergy after son's diagnosis

A mum hopes to shine a light on a rare food condition to help other parents after her son was diagnosed with the condition at nine months old.

Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 4:55 am

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Washington schoolboy Harry Woodhouse, 7, was diagnosed with the food allergy, FPIES (Food Protein induced Enterocolitis) – an adverse food reaction involving the immune system that mainly affects young children – aged nine months.

FPIES is a rare and severe form of delayed food allergy which causes vomiting and diarrhea around two to six hours after eating.

The most common foods that cause FPIES are cow’s milk, soya, rice, chicken and grains like oat and barley.

Harry was diagnosed with Fpies at nine months old.

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Mum Hayley Woodhouse, 43, says Harry’s trigger food is chicken which makes him extremely unwell if eaten.

She said: “Harry was absolutely fine when he first ate chicken, which is common with FPIES because often children don’t have a reaction the first time but by the third or fourth time, his body reached its tolerance and he just kept vomiting until his stomach was completely empty.

"It’s a scary reaction because he goes a grey colour and his body becomes floppy, we had no idea what was wrong.”

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Harry, 7 with mum Hayley and sister Molly, 13.

There is no cure for FPIES so children who suffer from the condition must avoid the specific food and some grow out of the allergy.

Hayley, who also has daughter Molly, 13 added: “We were told it was just a gastric tummy bug but after seeing a doctor at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead he was diagnosed with Fpies.

"My daughter Molly has no allergies, so it’s not a genetic condition and Harry now just has to avoid eating chicken until he grows out of it. It’s so rare that it often leaves children misdiagnosed so now as a trustee for the charity FPIES UK, I want to help raise awareness.”

To help raise awareness of the condition Hayley and her children have been decorating rocks with the Fpies logo and placing them across the region.

Harry with his sister Molly.

Hayley, who is a carbon digital coach said: “We wanted to think of a fun way to raise awareness so we leave the rocks in country parks and places we go for a walk.

"The hope is people will find them and come to our Facebook page or website and learn more about the condition.”

Harry and his family have been decorating rocks to raise awareness of FPIES.