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Q&A with Anaphylaxis Advocate Thalina Houghton

Hi, Thalina here! So a little bit about myself: I’m 16 y/o, I have an extensive list of allergies, do enjoy a bit of bish bash on the tennis court and also founded Allergies In Bold – more on that later ;). I am also a proud ambassador for the brilliant ‘Sadie Bristow Foundation’ so keep your eye out for some exciting collaborations!

More about myself personally, like I say, I am a keen and competitive tennis player however due to my allergies, my training and tournaments got put on hold and admittedly, was quite frustrating. That being said, I discovered a new passion after my most severe anaphylactic shock in June 2019 – raising awareness for allergies and that’s when I started ‘Allergies In Bold’.

What age were you when you first found out you had allergies, and do you remember what your reaction was when you found out?

I was around 9 years old and was happily having a kickabout in a field with a few mates. I suddenly then felt extremely tight chested and my breathing made noises worse than a kettle! Closely followed by strange lumps on my skin, I now know are called hives, and my eyes and tongue inflated like a balloon. I also have asthma so thought initially it was an asthma attack but with my symptoms being so severe and nothing i had experienced before, my GP referred me to an allergy clinic and later found out i had multiple severe allergies… with grass being the culprit on that occasion.

 If you could get rid of one of your allergies, which one would it be and why?

My most challenging allergy to control would be my environmental ones: grass,weed and tree pollen. I find it the most restricting – especially in summer when it seems like a nice day for a picnic or stroll in the park, normally consists of me worrying I’ll have a shock whilst having mild symptoms as well. When the pollen count is high, I would keep my windows shut and only leave the house after 7pm and pray a heatwave isn’t around the corner!

To help control my allergies in general, I am on a high dosage of 3 antihistamines a day but I also use a nasal spray and cleanser and also eyedrops for my pollen allergies.

 What restaurants in the UK would you recommend to eat at, and what has your experience been with them?

I remember meeting up with Ruth from What Allergy and we both found Pizza Express was good with handling allergies as well as Frankie and Bennies so would recommend those especially. I don’t eat out often but I know allergy menus online are a handy go-to source and also calling restaurants up as I find the way they speak to you over the phone is a good indication of their knowledge and seriousness for allergies.

If you could pick one person to take to one of these restaurants and have dinner with them (it can be literally anyone!!) who would it be, and why?

Good question and actually rather tough! I would first invite Roger Federer as I’d have someone to ramble on about tennis to but if the GOAT couldn’t make it, I’d invite Lee Mack as I’m a big fan of his sketches and shows and we wouldn’t be short of a few jokes!

Tell us about the one thing you are most proud of

Seeing others grow in their allergy journey and overcome obstacles I know personally quite well is such a warming feeling. I think as soon as you immerse yourself in the community, you grow as one. The thing I am most proud of isn’t tangible or a specific experience – it’s seeing myself and others grow in a circumstance that is commonly viewed as a disadvantage and not letting such take control.

Lastly, which creative nature products are your favourite, and are there any that you haven’t tried but would love to?

I’m a bit dangerous in the kitchen and my mum can agree but if I sharpen up on my culinary skills, I would love to try and bake the banana bread! Looks amazing and have been told by many I need to try it!

I would love to try Creative Nature crepes (hint hint) so I hope this is something that’ll be available in the future!

For now, I will continue to devour my way through your Gnawbles (HazelNot… don’t get me started) and give banana bread a go soon!

Mum, get the fire extinguisher ready!


You can find more about Thalina and her work as an anaphylaxis advocate on her blog and instagram page @allergiesinbold

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