Hanna Tait (centre) used to dislike sandwiches for lunch because the bread always made her feel ‘yukky’ afterwards. Now she tucks into her midday meal along with her friends at school (from left) Kayley Murray, Melissa Meier, Charleze Girlder and Dakota Tomlinson.
Hanna Tait (centre) used to dislike sandwiches for lunch because the bread always made her feel ‘yukky’ afterwards. Now she tucks into her midday meal along with her friends at school (from left) Kayley Murray, Melissa Meier, Charleze Girlder and Dakota Tomlinson.

Sick little girl back on track

TODAY, six-year-old Hanna Tait from Ramornie is a happy, healthy little girl with energy to burn.

She loves dancing, soccer and Little Athletics and running around playing on the farm where she lives.

But about nine months ago, it was a very different story. Hanna suddenly started to complain of a range of seemingly unrelated symptoms and her parents didn’t know why.

“Hanna had been a perfectly healthy child all her life, but then she started to tell me she had a pain in her tummy and pins and needles in her hands and feet. Then she started to complain of headaches as well. She was also very tired, she would sleep all night and never wanted to wake up in the mornings,” said her mum, Nikki.

“At first, we put it down to her just having started kindergarten and the stress of adapting to a new and busier routine than she had been used to. But when the tummy pains and the headaches just didn’t go away, we started to get really worried.

“Something was obviously wrong but we just didn’t know what it was.”

Nikki took Hanna to her local doctor who did a range of tests to find out what was causing the problems. That was when Hanna was diagnosed with coeliac disease which is a serious condition affecting at least one in 100 children in Australia. Sadly, four out of five children with the disease are not diagnosed.

“We were all very surprised, including my doctor,” said Nikki. “I knew that kids with coeliac disease usually had failure to thrive but that wasn’t the case with Hanna, so we never thought it could be that. But it did explain a couple of other things. Hanna had always had a slightly distended tummy and tended to be quite vague which can also be symptoms of coeliac disease.

“It was such a relief to know what was wrong and to be able to do something about it,” she said.

Coeliac Awareness Week runs from March 13-20.

IS YOUR CHILD OUT OF SORTS?

ONE out of 100 children suffer from coeliac disease, but four out of five are not diagnosed.

Ring the Coeliac Awareness Hotline on 1300 273 272 for a free information brochure if you or your child has any of the following unexplained symptoms:

  •  A bloated stomach.
  •  Diarrhoea/or constipation.
  •  Vomiting.
  •  Lack of stamina.
  •  Anaemia.
  •  Mouth ulcers.
  •  Failure to thrive.
  •  Difficulty in concentrating.
  •  Feeling ‘out of sorts’ generally.


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