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Allergies up 50pc, but only two clinics nationwide for children

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10-year-old Hallie Nolan is allergic to eggs, nuts, sesame seeds, cut grass, dust, pollen and all animals

10-year-old Hallie Nolan is allergic to eggs, nuts, sesame seeds, cut grass, dust, pollen and all animals

10-year-old Hallie Nolan is allergic to eggs, nuts, sesame seeds, cut grass, dust, pollen and all animals

Hallie Nolan is allergic to eggs, nuts, sesame seeds, cut grass, dust, pollen and animals.

She also has asthma and eczema and has already suffered one anaphylactic shock that nearly killed her.

Children like Hallie (10) are a growing problem for Ireland's medical services because allergies are growing at an alarming rate among the young.

They have increased by 50pc in only a decade, and more than 24pc of Irish people now suffer from some kind of reaction to certain foods or products.

Forty-thousand people in Ireland suffer from peanut allergy, a potentially fatal condition.

By 2025, more than half the European population will suffer from chronic allergic disease, experts claim.

Yet there are only two public paediatric clinics in the country - in Dublin and Cork - dealing with the crisis.

Speaking to TG4's documentary series Tabu, Cork-based allergy specialist Dr Jonathan Hourihane said: "If I saw one person with peanut allergy every half-an-hour for the rest of my career, I wouldn't get through them. This is a crisis of absence of planning."

Hallie's mother Lisa, from Carlow, told Tabu what it was like to live with a daily threat hanging over her daughter.

"The hardest thing is the anxiety of the person themselves, but also of the parents trying to deal with this," said Lisa.

"I have to make Hallie aware, but I don't want to frighten her. She can't live like that every day, but the reality is, she could die."

Lifeless

Hallie once collapsed and was saved by an adrenalin pen.

"She was lifeless and she was huge, really swollen, and the airwaves were getting blocked, she couldn't do anything and had gone limp," said Lisa.

"My friend Karen injected her and, to be honest, I actually thought she was dead.

"As the injection started to work, you could see the swelling going down.

"To look at, she's just a normal child, but she has a life-threatening condition."

Another sufferer, sports-loving student Eimear (21), from Monaghan, told the documentary her allergies were starting to kick in when she was on the playing field.

"Reactions are so unpredictable," she said.

"One day it could be mild, the next it could be severe. You never really know when it's going to be your last one."

Doctor have called for more experts across the country and more facilities in all 19 paediatric units nationwide.

They say there is no single cause behind the surge in all- ergies.

Dr Paul Carson, of Allergy Ireland, said some people blamed climate change while others thought it was the over-prescription of antibiotics.

"The children I saw when I started practising in the 1980s and 1990s, their children are more aggressively allergic than their parents were," he said.

"Why that's happening, I just do not know."

Dr Pat O'Mahony, of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, said: "I think we need a larger conversation about allergens.

"People are actually getting sick and dying here and we don't hear half the stories."

Tabu: Allergies is on TG4 tomorrow at 9.30pm