Daughter fell ill after MMR jab
MUM WARNS 'GET YOUR CHILD TESTED'
A WEXFORD MOTHER whose daughter became ill and uncommunicative after having the MMR vaccine, is appealing to other parents to have their children tested for allergies before they receive the jab.
Tina Fortune of 127 The Faythe was shocked when her daughter Alicia, now 7, changed dramatically after getting the vaccination when she was 18 months old.
'She was developing normally up to the MMR. She crawled and she walked and she was able to say her name and other words. But within a week, she wasn't able to say anything.
' Noise drove her crazy. She became very sensory. She would rock from one foot to the other. She wouldn't sleep at night. You couldn't touch her or hug her. This was a child who used to love cuddles. It was as if her whole body hurt,' said Tina who has two other children Chloe (9) and Ava (16 months).
Noticing the difference between Alicia and her sister Chloe who is only 20 months older, Tina grew increasingly worried and went to a doctor.
Various tests were carried out and a year later, just before her third birthday, Alicia was diagnosed as having moderate autism.
At the time, it was a devastating blow to Tina and her husband Darren who knew in their hearts that Alicia was a bright child who was frustrated by her inability to talk.
Though they didn't know it then, Alicia's situation was to completely change for the better when Tina was pregnant with Ava and was advised by a midwife to take her to allergy specialist Martin Healy who runs a Food Intolerance Clinic in McCauley's Pharmacy. Tina had already cut gluten and dairy products out of Alicia's diet and seen an improvement in her breathing difficulties which were chronic at times.
Martin discovered that she was highly intolerant to eggs, a factor that explained her reaction to the MMR vaccine which contains the egg derivative albumen.
Ironically, Alicia had loved eggs and would often ask for them, according to Tina who immediately took her daughter off all eggs and egg-containing products, with amazing results.
' Her eye contact improved straight away. She still has autism. It's not going to cure that but there was a huge improvement. She was on antibiotics all the time before the test and she hasn't had any since she was taken off the eggs.'
That was over a year ago and Alicia is now attending school in The Faythe and is ' flying it', according to Tina. ' She has lots of new friends. She doesn't need a special needs assistant. Before this she wouldn't have been able to go to The Faythe. She would have had to go to an autistic unit.'
'We were told that she wouldn't be able to go to mainstream school. She was in a world of her own,' said Tina who engaged a home tutor for two years to help with her daughter's development.
'Maybe, she would have been autistic anyway. It's impossible to say but now she can deal with her symptoms.
'She can go to the cinema and queue up like other children. She can cope with the noise. She wasn't able to do that before.'
Tina also noticed a marked improvement in Alicia's physical development which was hampered by the severe food intolerance.
The Wexford mother is telling her story publicly, so that other parents can learn from it. 'It made such a difference that we want to let other parents know about it.'
Six weeks ago, her youngest daughter Ava was due her MMR vaccine and Tina made sure to have her tested before getting it.
' I was terrified as the time approached but she didn't have an allergy to eggs and she was fine,' she said.