Spotlight of the Month – Dr Jose Costa

Dr Jose Costa is a Paediatrician who started working on allergies nearly 16 years ago. Jose also has a son that has allergies and this encouraged him to start a business designing bags to store allergy medication called Allerpack!

What made you interested in allergies, specifically in children?

My connection with allergies was due to an episode of anaphylaxis I had when I was a teenager. I didn’t realise then what had happened to me, and why was I wheezing and struggling to breathe. Later I found I had a significant reaction to cats, which lived at a friend’s house, where I stayed overnight.

Due to this, I thought of, after becoming a paediatrician, which was my interest in medicine, I would also develop my knowledge in allergy, so I could help others and try to prevent others from having similar reactions as I had.

What do you think needs to change to keep children with allergies safe at school?

There needs to be a multifaceted approach to allergies and the vilification of those who are non-allergic needs to stop. Otherwise, I fear there will be an increased resistance to change instead of collaboration between all parties.

In my view, education of those who have less understanding of allergies, focusing primarily on adults and secondarily on children, is the most effective approach. If parents don’t understand, they cannot set an example for their children, leading to continued segregation, discrimination and, often, bullying.

What made you want to get involved with our Allergy Awareness Assemblies?

When I was contacted to become involved, I saw that this was an amazing way to increase awareness of allergies and the reactions they can lead to. The education that was being freely provided, would lead to significant adherence from schools to the project.

With this, we could achieve the important objective of teaching so many quickly and effectively.

Why are allergies in young children increasing, now 1 in 12 children now have allergies?

There is much debate around this.

Personally, I agree more with the “hygiene hypothesis” and the decreased exposure to organisms, which leads to a cascade of events, starting with less quantity and variability found in the large bowel. In turn, this provides less stimulation of the immune system and the increased incidence of allergies.

Associated with this, the increased use of antibiotics and anti-reflux medication in the first year of life exacerbates the problem.

Head over to Dr Jose’s Costa’s website and if you are interested in Allerpack head over here to shop yours now