Page 1


MARCH 2015


Starting school



DELICIOUS BREAKFAST IDEAS to kickstart your day




ALLERGY MAKEOVER IMMUNOTHERAPY Allergy treatment of the future?

treating eczema + peanut allergy breakthrough + healthy home

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LIVING WITH ALLERGIES PUBLISHER Published by Hawkhurst Media Services Ltd PO Box 25679, St Heliers, Auckland 1740 Director: Kerry McKenzie 09 589 1054 or 0275 969 979 ADVERTISING Advertising sales: Maree Selak 021 503 848 SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe online at 09 589 1054 PRODUCTION Editor: Caroline Wood Design: Rose Miller at Kraftwork Proofreader: Stella Clark


2  News and views 10  New allergy products 31  Allergy guide



4  Better allergy services needed in New Zealand


6 Immunotherapy – allergy treatment of the future?

PRINTER McCollams Print


ISSN: 2324-2213


12 Winter skin 16  Preparing for cold weather

Disclaimer: Every effort is made to ensure accuracy but Living with Allergies accepts no liability for errors of fact or opinion. Information in this publication is not intended to replace advice by your health professional. If in doubt check with your allergy specialist, GP, nurse, dietitian or other health care professional.



20  My Food Allergy Friends 22  Starting school

© All rights reserved. No article in whole or part should be reprinted without permission of the Editor.

24  Breakfast: Kickstart your day


28  A good night’s sleep


29 Peanut study breakthrough

Editorial and advertising material does not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or publisher. Advertising in Living with Allergies does not constitute endorsement of any product. Living with Allergies is an independent publication and is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by the charity Allergy New Zealand.



30  The 7-day Allergy Makeover



32  Kiwi scientists patent vaccine technology


Look out for three great reader competitions throughout the magazine. See inside for how to enter or go to

allergy aware New food allergy test for kids Researchers have been working to develop better predictive tests for allergies in young children and Dr Kari Nadeau, of the Stanford School of Medicine in the US, recently patented a new diagnostic test that could easily be done with a few drops of blood from the heel stick of a newborn. The diagnostic allergy test involves mixing the blood with 90 different potential allergens to measure the reactions in various types of white blood cells. These tests are still experimental, but pilot studies suggest they can identify allegies with 95 percent accuracy (compared with 65 percent for the standard IgE test). The test is accurate both for newborns, and for older children and adults. It is hoped this test will eventually not only identify an allergy, but also predict how severe that allergy will be. Read more: research/better-blood-tests.html

History of Allergy revealed

A new book provides a scientific adventure into the history of allergy, from ancient medical texts to the allergy pioneers of the present day. Beginning with insights on allergy from 2,000 years ago, it compiles historical reflections on the understanding of common allergic diseases and important milestones in the discovery of allergens such as pollen, dust mites, peanuts and latex. Particular highlights are the personal reflections of a number of pioneers of allergy, including F. Austen, J. Bienenstock, K. Blaser, A. de Weck, A.W. Frankland, K. Ishizaka, and more. Concluding with portrayals of allergy societies and collections, this book represents a treasure trove of fascinating and richly illustrated information. Allergy in History is edited by Bergmann K C. et al. Available to order from


The Kiwi-owned Love Cake Company has launched two new baking mixes: a Savoury Muffin Baking Mix and a Sensational Scone Baking Mix. The new selection is free from gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and egg. These two new mixes are also free from refined sugar and can be made as a savoury option or a sugar-free sweet option. The products were created as an easy home baking solution for the many people with coeliac disease, food allergies and intolerances. The Sensational Scone Baking Mix (RRP $9.99) makes 9-12 scones, while the Sensational Savoury Muffin Baking Mix (RRP $8.99) makes 12-15 muffins. Available from gourmet food retailers, organic food stores and New World supermarkets nationwide. Visit


We have a Sleep Well Pack (RRP $109.90) from SleepDrops to give away. Combining two of its award-winning formulations, the pack contains one bottle of SleepDrops for Adults and two packs of Essential Sleep and Stress Nutrients. Enter online at or email with SLEEPDROPS in the subject line. Entries close 30 June 2015. 2 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

World Allergy Week 2015

The theme of this year’s World Allergy Week is to increase awareness of Airway Allergies – A Human and Economic Burden. The World Allergy Organization is addressing the need for greater awareness and understanding of allergy topics as well as the exchange of ideas and collaboration in order to address treatment and quality-of-life issues related to the care of patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. To find out more about the week, which runs from 13–19 April, see worldallergyweek/

House cleanliness study

A study into the hygiene hypothesis as a cause of the rising number of allergies worldwide has concluded that neither personal nor home cleanliness were associated with protection from asthma and allergies. Other microbial components in house dust not affected by personal hygiene are likely to play a role. The authors of the study by Weber et al, published in March, conclude that personal or home cleanliness were not risk factors for allergies or asthma. Read more:

Gluten link questioned

Gluten may not be to blame for irritable bowel syndrome, according to researchers from Melbourne’s Monash University. Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye and barley and around the world there are millions of people who believe they suffer an intolerance to gluten but do not have coeliac disease. Professor Peter Gibson led a gold standard study that suggests that the cause of bloating, pain and digestive issues was the sugars that appear naturally in foods known as FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides and Monosaccharides and Polyols). As many of these FODMAP foods also contain gluten, it would explain why many people get relief when they follow a gluten-free diet. Prof Gibson believes FODMAPs provoke far more intestinal distress than gluten and those who follow a gluten-free diet may be doing more harm than good. Read more: LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2014 3



SERVICES NEEDED A lack of allergy specialists and quality information about diagnosing and treating allergies is a recurring issue among members of New Zealand’s biggest online allergy group. Rebecca Oliver, of Allergy Support New Zealand, explains.


LLERGY Support New Zealand is an online community for New Zealanders living with allergies and allergic conditions. Originally founded by a team of parents to provide support for families of children with allergies, the group has grown from strength to strength and now has over 2,500 members. A number of support and play groups have developed out of this online community. For example, there are groups that meet in Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch. Allergy Support NZ has a very active Facebook community with varied topics being the subject of discussion on any given day: nutrition and allergies, how to shop for

allergies, ‘free from’ recipe ideas, anaphylaxis and where to find the cheapest Epipen. Other popular topics include how to talk to your school, childcare centre or work colleagues about allergies. Over the last year the Allergy Support New Zealand Admin Team has noticed some common and recurring themes – notably access to medical care, problems not being correctly diagnosed and then ongoing allergy support and education for Kiwis. With a shortage of allergy specialists in New Zealand, it’s no surprise the lack of access to specialists is one of the most common issues group members raise. In many parts of the country, there are no allergy specialists at all and not everyone can afford to fly to a city like Auckland, for a private consultation. Some members are turning to unproven alternative therapies due to the lack of medical care. For most patients the first port of call is their GP. Some GPs are very good, but too often we hear stories involving misdiagnosis, with other patients being denied referrals to specialist services only later to present with severe reactions. Another area

4 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

of concern is inconsistency in advice given to patients, especially around managing conditions like eczema. Early diagnosis and intervention can make such a difference in people’s lives, but too often families are being issued repeat prescriptions for creams, which do nothing to help ameliorate severe eczema, and only later moderate or severe underlying food and/or environmental allergies are discovered. Once diagnosed, many community members seem to have felt left in the dark, with little or no guidance on how to manage their allergies, avoid allergenic foods and where to access additional support. Often, new members have stumbled upon the group or been added by friends, while desperately trying to find information to help their families cope on a day-to-day basis. These recurring issues raised by New Zealanders from all around the country show there is still much to be done at ground level in order to improve the quality of life for Kiwis living with allergies. To join Allergy Support New Zealand visit allergysupportnz/





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IMMUNOTHERAPY Immunotherapy is the only treatment that targets the cause of allergy symptoms and yet few Kiwis are aware it exists. Caroline Wood reports.


HE AIM OF immunotherapy is to

retrain a person’s immune system to tolerate specific allergens, such as pollen, dust mites or venom. Allergenspecific immunotherapy – also known as desensitisation treatment – involves giving a patient gradually increasing amounts of the allergen until their body learns to tolerate it. Immunotherapy treats the cause of allergy, not just symptoms, and it continues to work long after treatment is finished. A common immunotherapy treatment in New Zealand would involve weekly injections under the skin of gradually increasing doses for 12 weeks, then monthly maintenance shots for three to five years. Most patients see an improvement in symptoms within six months but the effect is long lasting after treatment is stopped (if patients complete the full three to five year course). You can also treat dust mites and grass pollen at the same time – perfect for the many Kiwis who are allergic to both. Oral or sublingual immunotherapy is also

available – where the allergens are given via drops or tablets under the tongue. Studies have shown that it is safer but not quite as effective as allergy shots and you can only treat one allergy at a time. The field of immunotherapy is moving fast with the quality of (allergen) extracts and their use improving, says allergy specialist and immunologist Dr Andrew Baker, of Waitemata Allergy Clinic. He believes more people should consider desensitisation treatment, even those who have mild allergies, because it can make a big difference to their quality of life over a long period – with benefits lasting up to 20 years according to some studies. “There isn’t any real awareness about desensitisation treatments in large parts of New Zealand. A lot more people would do it if only they’d been told about it. A lot of people with allergic rhinitis, for example, have never been told there is a treatment that can have permanent benefits for them,” Dr Baker added.


We have three elegant Sodastream Pure Drinks Makers plus syrup packs to give away so you can make sparkling water and flavoured sparkling beverages at home. Each is worth over $200 RRP. Enter online at or email with SODASTREAM in the subject line. Entries close 30 June 2015. 6 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

Eye allergies

People with pollen and dust mite allergies can be helped by allergen-specific immunotherapy (desensitisation treatment) What allergies can be treated? Hay fever (allergic rhinitis), dust mite and serious insect venom allergies have been shown to respond well to desensitisation. There may be some benefit to those with eczema caused by dust mites, birch and grass pollen; and it can be used to treat cat and dog allergies. Immunotherapy is not proven for food allergy. Is it suitable for children? New evidence shows that children given immunotherapy when they start to show signs of allergic rhinitis can stop the ‘allergic march’ to asthma and other allergies. Dr Baker suggests waiting until your child is 10-12 in case they grow out of allergies (one out of two children will, he says). Isn’t it expensive? Costs vary according to your treatment protocol and location. The product needed for the allergy shots cost $200 per six months, plus the cost of supervision and doctor’s visits. And you may have to take time out of school/ work to attend. But benefits may outweigh costs over the long term. For example, people can save money because they no longer have symptoms to treat, some studies show. Get expert advice Talk to an allergy specialist or your GP if you are interested in finding out more. It is important to have an accurate diagnosis of what is causing your allergy before embarking on desensitisation, says Dr Baker.

The first step if you have sore, itchy eyes is to see your GP so they can diagnose the cause of your eye symptoms – an allergen or infection (bacterial or viral) – and advise a treatment plan. Simple non-medical treatments for eye allergies include cold eye compresses, which may bring relief to sore itchy eyes. Artificial tears can help wash away the allergen. Antihistamine drops can provide immediate relief from the itch but will be temporary. Ask your pharmacist for over-the-counter recommendations. Your doctor may suggest the use of a longterm mast-cell stabiliser, which acts as a preventer but takes several weeks to become effective. Decongestants help reduce watering and redness in the eye but should not be used long-term. Anti-inflammatory steroid drops may be needed in severe cases but their use must be closely monitored as they can cause glaucoma and cataracts. Read more: Dr Malcolm McKellar



Zaditen® relieves allergy eyes within minutes3 and protects against ® 1,2 symptoms for up to 12 hours. Zaditen is 1 suitable for use in children aged 3 years and older. PHARMACY MEDICINE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST, SEE YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL.

® within minutes3 and relieves ® Zaditen eye allergy drops eyes are indicated for symptomatic Zaditen ® short-term treatment of seasonal allergic 1,2 protects against symptoms for up to 12 hours. Zaditen conjunctivitis in adults and children 3 years or1 older. is suitable for use in children aged 3 years and older.

References: 1. Zaditen Consumer Medicine Information. 2. Greiner JV, Minno G. Clin Ther 2003;25(7):1988-2005. 3. Zaditen® prescribing information, MIMS Australia, 2014. ® Registered Trademark of Alcon Laboratories (Australia) Pty Ltd.1. Zaditen Distributed byInformation. Pharmaco Fisher Crescent, Mt.information, Wellington, References: Consumer Medicine 2. Greiner JV,(NZ) Minno G.Ltd. Clin Ther 4 2003;25(7):1988-2005. 3. Zaditen prescribing MIMS Australia, 2014. ® Registered Trademark of Alcon Laboratories (Australia) Pty Ltd. Distributed by Pharmaco (NZ) Ltd. 4 Fisher Crescent, Mt. Wellington, Auckland. Ph 0800 101 106 POPH.14123 TAPS.PP5645 Ph 0800 101 106 POPH.14123 TAPS.PP5645 Auckland.

PHARMACY MEDICINE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST, SEE YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL. Zaditen® eye drops are indicated for symptomatic short-term treatment of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis in adults and children 3 years or older. ®

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2014 7


Support for the skin Did you know that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of allergens, including skin complaints, in the world? Statistics have shown that skin complaints affect one in five infants. This can have a profound impact on the social, personal, emotional and financial outlook of families. If you suffer from sensitive, dry or itching skin, you will be happy to know there are natural solutions available to help bring relief. Studies have shown that ingestion of probiotics, or friendly bacteria, is beneficial in maintaining the body’s delicate microbial balance. This balance is known to support gut health, and the immune system, and to provide support to skin-related concerns. Clinical studies undertaken in New Zealand show that supplementing with Lactobacillus rhamnosus (strain HN001) helps support the body’s immune response to allergens, which often cause skin complaints, and helps protect against dry and itchy skin flare-ups. GO DERMA PROTECT Probiotic rhamnosus contains the clinically studied HOWARU® Lactobacillus rhamnosus (strain HN001) and is specifically designed for those who need extra support with ongoing skin conditions such as sensitive, dry or itchy skin. Expectant mothers can take GO Derma Protect Probiotic rhamnosus during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support their baby’s developing immune defences for allergen-related skin issues and skin health. GO Derma Protect Probiotic rhamnosus: • Essential support for expectant mothers and babies • Supports immune response to allergens and skin complaints • Protects and supports against dry and itchy skin flare-ups • VegeCap Advantage

Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist consult your Healthcare Professional. TAPS PP6202

GIVEAWAY We have 10 packs of GO Derma Protect probiotics to give away (RRP $29.90). To be in to win, enter online at or email giveaways@ with GO DERMA in the subject line. Entries close 30 June 2015. 8 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

• Clinically studied • Essential support for expectant mothers and babies • Protects and supports against skin flare-ups Available at all leading pharmacies and health stores nationwide. For our full range visit

new allergy products Allergy friendly vacuum Electrolux has designed the light and quiet UltraFlex vacuum cleaner to capture dust lurking in those hard to reach places. Featuring the FlexPro nozzle which reaches under furniture as low as 5cm off the floor, the UltraFlex also offers a completely sealed filtration system and outstanding HEPA filter. This fine dust filter sits within a sealed system to ensure dirt stays where it should, and isn’t released back into the environment. Once full, the Turbo Cyclonic design separates dust particles from the air, and sends it to a dust container. This container can be easily and hygienically emptied with a simple push of a lever into the trash bin, ensuring that you never have to come into contact with any dirt. Priced from $599.95.

Gluten-free Brazilian breads Barbara Scholten and her husband Marcelo started a company called Durello Traditional Brazilian Foods about 14 months ago. They are making traditional Brazilian Cheese Bread with an imported mix of manioc/tapioca starch. The product is now gluten-free certified and is registered with Coeliac NZ. They launched two new flavours at the Gluten Free & Allergy Show in Hamilton in March. You can find their products at Farro, Nosh and selected New Worlds.

naturally organic


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Available at selected stores or purchase online from Phone: 0800 PUDDIES


Relief for eczema-prone skin.





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Both contain innovative Filaggrin break-down products, shown to be depleted in eczema-prone skin.1

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist contact your healthcare professional. Reference 1: Simpson E etal-Journ Drugs Dermatol, 2011; 10(7): 744-9. Cetaphil® and RestoradermTM are registered trademarks of Galderma Australia. Cetaphil is a proud sponsor of the Eczema Association of Australasia Inc. Galderma Australia, Suite 4, 13b Narabang Way, Belrose, NSW 2085. Toll free phone: 1800 800 765 (Australia); 0800 174 104 (New Zealand).



SKIN Cold temperatures can bring misery to those with an allergic skin condition. It’s important to keep on top of the problem before it gets out of control.



skin conditions can get worse in cold weather. People take hotter showers in winter, which dries out the skin. Skin tends to lose water through evaporation as well due to the difference between the inside and outside air temperatures. Dryness worsens eczema and even people without underlying skin conditions can find themselves with dry, itchy skin. Heidi Darcy, clinical advisor at Comvita, explains: “Dry, itchy skin is a hallmark of eczema. It occurs when there is a lack of moisture in the top layer of skin. Healthy skin has plentiful oils that envelop the cells; keeping the skin soft and flexible, sealing in water.

When skin lacks sufficient oils, large amounts of water can escape. The surface becomes dry, inflexible, and itchy. Cooler weather aggravates dry skin as low humidity causes more water to evaporate.” A recent survey from Allergy UK showed that cold weather was the single biggest trigger for eczema, followed by house dust mites and pets. The research found that 91 percent of those with eczema say their skin dries out more in winter, while 77 percent say their skin itches more. Eczema affects up to 10 percent of adults and 20 percent of school children. The condition is characterised by inflammation of the skin with intense itching,

12 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

reddening, dryness, scaling and sore broken skin. One in five of those surveyed say they stay indoors when their skin is bad. Allergy UK says that people suffering from skin conditions often mistakenly think staying indoors is the solution, but it’s not. Maureen Jenkins, Clinical Director of Allergy UK, said: “Cold weather is often the initial trigger of a skin condition, so the natural thing to do is retreat indoors and keep warm. But central heating and lack of ventilation will inevitably make skin conditions worse. The indoor environment creates an ideal breeding ground for house dust mites which in turn can

ECZEMA SUPPORT GROUPS IN NEW ZEALAND Itchy Kids is a New Zealand-based support group for parents of children with eczema. The aim is to offer muchneeded moral and practical support so families can look after themselves and each other. The Itchy Kids website has lots of useful information about managing eczema as well as a list of useful links for more information. The Kiwi support group was first set up in Wellington in 2004 and continues to be run by parents. There is also an Auckland-based group. See Eczema Care NZ was set up last year as a private Facebook page for people with eczema and/ or their carers. It’s a place for people to share experiences, vent about problems, ask for help, share recipes and more. Go to Facebook and search for Eczema Care NZ and ask to join. The group already has over 110 members in New Zealand.

exacerbate symptoms.” If you are suffering from eczema, Allergy UK advises: • Drinking plenty of water to hydrate the skin and keep the skin moisturised is essential. • Anyone suffering from eczema should use copious amounts of bland emollients twice or more a day. • Don’t use soaps and perfumed products. • Wear cotton clothing to keep skin cool and avoid synthetic fabrics. Allergy UK is the leading national medical charity providing advice, information and support to people with allergy and food intolerance.

It’s important to keep your skin well moisturised in cold weather.

Managing eczema Here are the key areas to concentrate on when managing eczema: 3 Combat dry skin by moisturising with emollients and bath products. 3 Identify triggers through observation and testing – and then try to avoid them. Triggers may include food or environmental, such as dust mites. 3 Reduce the itch so your child is less likely to scratch. This might involve antihistamines or topical products. 3 Tackle any inflammation through the use of steroids or alternative treatments. 3 Watch out for signs of skin infection – get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment, such as oral or topical antibiotics. Be aware that eczema is very individual and may change over time or with the seasons. Keep in touch with your GP, nurse or specialist to ensure you get the right diagnosis and ongoing support.

Cold weather is often the initial trigger of a skin condition LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2014 13


Managing eczema wounds Heidi Darcy, Comvita’s clinical advisor, advises on the best way to dress open sores using Medihoney® Antibacterial Wound Gel™. People with eczema experience frequent damage to the skin from scratching itchy skin, inflammation and from dry, cracked skin forming deep splits. Why dress the wound? It is important to cover wounds with a dressing. This keeps the surface of the wounds moist so that they heal faster and with less scarring. Dressings help to reduce pain and discomfort and they also lessen the risk of infection. People with eczema have a higher risk of skin infection. Even though eczema wounds can be very small, bacteria and viruses are much smaller and can easily get into the tissue through small scratches. If infection is present, a dressing can help to prevent it from spreading by covering and containing the fluid. Creams or wound dressing? Topical creams and skincare products are a key part of managing eczema and reducing the associated symptoms. However, the majority of creams are only designed to be used on skin that is not broken. Some creams may even slow down the process of wound healing. Wounds need to be dressed with sterile dressings that reduce the risk of infection and provide the right environment for the wound to heal. When the wound has healed, normal moisturisers and skin care products can then be applied.



Talk to your pharmacist about the right product for you. Dry skin splits How to dress a wound 1. Wash hands. 2. Apply Medihoney® Antibacterial Wound Gel™ onto a clean dressing. Use enough Gel to cover the wound area to a depth of 3mm. 3. Cover the wound. Change dressing daily until healed. 4. If there are many small skin splits on the hands, apply Wound Gel and cover with cotton gloves. PHOTOS © COMVITA

14 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

Suitable for use on eczema wounds to support healing and reduce the risk of infection.

Used in homes and hospitals around the world. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Serious wounds should be managed under the supervision of a healthcare professional Comvita, Paengaroa

healthy home


COLD WEATHER Could your home be to blame if your allergy symptoms continue through the colder months? Here are some simple ways to make your home healthier if you have environmental allergies.



associate spring and summer with allergies but the colder months of autumn and winter may still bring problems for those sensitive to indoor allergens, such as mould, pet dander and dust mites. Being inside can also expose allergic individuals to other allergens and irritants such as smoke, household sprays and gas fumes. • Clean, dust and vacuum regularly using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA). • Remove old carpet and replace with easy to clean floorboards or vinyl.

• Bathe pets once a week and keep animals away from bedrooms. • If repainting use low VOC and mould-inhibiting paints. • Warm, moist air encourages dust mites and mould. Turn on the exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom to remove steam from cooking and showering. • Make your bedroom an allergy-free haven by removing potential allergens. For example remove carpets, rugs and plants that may harbour dust mites and mould. Use protective coverings for mattresses and pillows and hot wash your bedding weekly at 60°C. • Keep your home properly heated and if installing a

CHOOSING THE RIGHT HEATER There are lots of heating options for homes, but using the right kind of heater for your circumstances will mean that you can keep your home warm, healthy and comfortable to live in while keeping running costs low, says New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency. It has written a useful guide to choosing the right heating for your home, see the website But it isn't just about the heater you choose. Clean, effective heating is also about having a well insulated house and using your heaters wisely. 16 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015


Hedrin 15 is a fast and effective head lice treatment. It is proven to kill head lice and eggs with just one treatment and is suitable from six months of age. We have three bottles of liquid gel and three bottles of spray gel (RRP $24.99 each) to give away. Enter online at or email with HEDRIN 15 in the subject line. Entries close 30 June 2015. heat pump, choose one that has allergy-friendly filters built in. These will remove allergens like pollen from the air. • Use a dehumidifier if your home has a problem with condensation in the colder months. And open doors and windows on fine days to air the house. Damp air is harder to heat than dry air and allowing moisture to build up provides ideal conditions for mould to grow. Aim for 30-40 percent humidity indoors. • Once you have insulated your home – ceiling and floors if possible – consider double glazing

in particularly cold damp rooms, especially bedrooms. Double glazing will drastically reduce condensation and make the room easier to heat. • Check your home for signs of visible mould and take action to remove the root cause of the water – roof leak, drying washing indoors, leaky window frames – before cleaning and painting over. • Check outside your home as well and look for potential mould problems, such as firewood or compost heaps near the house. If you can, ask someone else to turn the compost heap or carry in the firewood.


The easiest (and most environmentally-friendly) way to kill and clean up mould is to apply white vinegar directly using a spray bottle or wipe on using a clean cloth. Use an old toothbrush to get into corners, if necessary. Leave it for a few days to take effect and then wipe or scrub off the dead mould using a clean cloth.

How warm should your home be? Keeping your home warm is important for your health and comfort, and a good heating system (coupled with proper insulation, ventilation and moisture control) makes it much easier to do. A warm, dry home will help peope with asthma and reduce the likelihood of mould. The World Health Organisation recommends the following minimum indoor temperatures, which are also supported by the Ministry of Health.

• A minimum of 18°C, or a minimum of 20°C for more vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and people who are ill. • A minimum of 16°C in your bedroom overnight. These recommended temperatures apply to all rooms, while you are using them.

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2014 17


Breathe easier with DVS How many sick days were taken in your household last winter because of asthma? How many school or workdays or special events were missed because of allergies? After a long hot summer, the ills and chills of winter are easily forgotten. But with the cold season just around the corner, it’s time to prepare a healthy home for you and your loved ones. Traditionally, New Zealand’s approach to home health has been single room heating and opening the windows for ventilation. Compared to countries with similar climates, Kiwis have lower expectations for indoor comfort levels during the colder months. Fortunately, this mindset is rapidly changing and we now know a warm, dry home is essential for maintaining good health. With nearly 20 years’ industry experience, DVS Managing Director, Tony Sandes has known for a long time that a dry home is a healthy home. He’s also seen first-hand the importance of a healthy home for those living with asthma and allergies. “When you control excess moisture and condensation in the home, you significantly reduce dust mites, mould and mildew – all well-known asthma and allergy triggers,” says Sandes.

“When you control excess moisture and condensation in the home, you significantly reduce dust mites, mould and mildew – all well-known asthma and allergy triggers”

“Dust mites and fungal spores thrive in warm, humid places, so one of the best ways to protect against this type of allergen is to make the home drier. But when you consider that a typical household will produce about 12 litres of water per day from cooking, showering, and just living, it’s easy to see that it takes more than the occasional opening of a few windows to dry out a home,” says Sandes.


DVS systems, which are recognised by Asthma NZ, are the most effective way to reduce excess water vapour. They continuously push out the moisture-laden, stale air, replacing it with fresher, drier air. The outside air is filtered via the roof space before it enters the home, significantly reducing exposure to dust, pollen, plant spores and other inhaled triggers.

18 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

children and allergies




child Thai was my inspiration for wanting to help educate others on food allergies. It took nine months of sleepless nights due to Thai’s discomfort from breastfeeding before we finally came across a doctor who suggested Thai should be checked for allergies. He was diagnosed with seven food allergies. Our relief at finally finding a cause for Thai’s discomfort soon turned into dismay. Like any parent we wanted to find out as much as we could about his lifethreatening condition. But we soon realised there were

limited resources aimed at young children and a real lack of information from our GP. This was the perfect age to start teaching him about food allergies and how to handle day-to-day situations. I wanted to provide Thai with storybooks about allergies, a great learning tool for young children, but soon found most books were based around animals. I wanted a book about a real person with real medicine. So with the help of my talented husband, we have created a series of children’s books based on the characters Thai & Rabbie and their adventures discovering


giveAwAy Posters x 10




Enter online at or email with MY FOOD ALLERGY FRIENDS in the subject line. Entries close 30 June 2015.

Allergy week


We have a My Food Allergy Friends educational pack (RRP $62 inc postage)to give away. It includes three books, a pack of 10 A3 allergy posters for classrooms and some allergy stickers. This prize would be suitable for schools, childcare centres or families.

a life with food allergies. The books have been checked by Professor Pete Smith, one of Australia’s most respected allergists, and are available in New Zealand libraries. Our own journey with allergies hasn’t always been easy. Thai presented symptoms at eight weeks but after seeing five doctors, health nurses and sleep school, we didn’t get a diagnosis until nine months. We received little information from our GP and were sent to a paediatrician, who would not prescribe an EpiPen. He said: “let’s wait and see how bad his reaction is”! I carried on breastfeeding unaware that allergens are passed in breast milk, which meant I was exposing Thai to his allergens until at 15 months we saw an allergy specialist. Suddenly we had a different child, no more diaorrhea, rashes, vomiting or crying. I have two boys, one with


Jackie Nevard is the author of My Food Allergy Friends. She has created a series of educational books and a website to help educate young children about food allergies. Here Jackie explains how she came to be an advocate for children with food allergies.




t 2014

stickers x 5

books 1, 2 & 3 RGY

20 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015







Jackie Nevard (left) and her son Thai (centre and right) seen here visiting a school to talk about food allergies.







in Australia. It has been a frustrating year fighting policies at his school but hopefully we have made a difference. We have also managed to hold several events in Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand, inviting a captive audience of preschoolers, many without allergies. I get lots of feedback from parents about their experiences that I have tried to cover in my books.


food allergies and one without. My 11 year old has dust and grass allergies, he was born in New Zealand. My husband has allergies to pollen and asthma and recently had his first reaction to fish. Now aged five, Thai’s remaining allergies are egg and milk, along with dust, pollen and mild asthma. My family has had to deal with many issues at childcare and now this year at school


There are lots of helpful resources on for parents and teachers who want to help educate children about food allergies.

Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods is a miller of stone-ground whole grains and a leader in organic and gluten free foods. With more than 40 gluten free products, there’s no shortage of choice for breakfast, morning tea or lunch.

Check out wheat free oats, nutritious gluten free cereals, baking and bread mixes at your local organic store, or visit LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2014 21

• Talk to your school about what policies they have to deal with allergies and anaphylaxis eg where will auto-injectors be kept? • Update your child’s action plan. Ask your doctor to review and update your child’s action plan before school starts.

• Label adrenaline autoinjectors for school. Ensure they have your child’s name and check the expiry date. • Clearly label your child’s food containers and drink bottle. • Talk to your child about not sharing food and drinks while at school. • Teach your child to speak up about their condition before they start school. • Teach your child about likely symptoms if they have an allergic reaction. Make sure they know what to do. • Arrange a meeting with your child’s teacher and the school




Starting school or kindy with allergies can be a stressful time for many families. Jackie Nevard gives her top ten tips on how to handle the transition.





children and allergies


nurse to discuss a management care plan for your child. There is an example on my website. • Make sure the school has a system so your child’s information is passed on to relief teachers. • Consider purchasing a medical identification bracelet. For more information about starting school, see *The above are suggestions only and any medical advice should be sought from your doctor.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Gluten Free, crispy outside, chewy inside and tasty all over. You’ll love it! New

flavours to be launched at the Gluten

Free & Allergy Show in March 2015, in Hamilton. To know more about our

products please visit and like us on Facebook at Durello – Traditional Brazilian Foods.

22 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

A New Zealand website for Allergy alert cards to communicate your dietary needs in many languages for worry free travel

Free From gluten, not from taste There’s nothing quite like freshly home baked treats, especially gluten-free ones. Our Free From Gluten flour range makes any recipe a piece of cake. Even better, there’s also a delicious gluten-free buttermilk pancake mix for a quick, easy, no worries Sunday morning breakfast. Look for our range in-store and online, only at Countdown.





Range may vary by store.

food and recipes

KICKSTART YOUR DAY Food blogger and wellness coach Carine Claudepierre offers two delicious and healthy breakfast ideas.

Health issue helped Carine find inner happiness Carine Claudepierre is a food and wellness coach from Auckland and the author of, which has been voted one of the top food blogs in New Zealand. Carine, who was born in France and moved to New Zealand with her husband in 2011, developed prediabetes after having her first child. This prompted her to drastically change her diet to heal her body. But she didn’t want to leave her passion for baking behind and started to develop healthy recipes (with a French twist) that were free of refined sugar and flour. The blog documenting her journey has taken off and now receives more than 60,000 visitors a month. Many of Carine’s recipes are dairy, gluten and sugar free and she wants to develop more recipes to help people with food allergies. Carine is currently writing a cookbook, which is due to be published in 2016. Her advice is to follow your passions and – whatever else is happening in your life – embrace your goals with both arms.

STRAWBERRY BANANA OVERNIGHT PORRIDGE My healthy breakfast is always made of wholegrain oats because it is a low carb and high fibre cereal, which keeps my energy levels up through the day. I love overnight porridge because it is so easy to make and it lasts up to a week in the fridge. This recipe is made with wholegrain oats rich in fibre and protein to keep you full until lunch time.

24 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

2 cups wholegrain oats (or substitute with rice or quinoa flakes if you are on a gluten-free diet) 2 cups frozen strawberries ¼ cup fresh banana 3 cups of milk of your choice 3 tbsp of maple syrup (or 1 tbsp of stevia powder) Place all the ingredients in the blender. Blend until thick and smooth. Transfer to small ramekins or glasses and refrigerate overnight or at least four hours. The porridge will thicken with time as the fibre absorbs the liquid. Decorate with strawberries and fresh banana or banana chips. Eat cold. The porridge can be stored up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. This recipe is for about 10 servings.

PURPLE SMOOTHIE This purple smoothie is so cute. I’ve made it a few times now and even my baby girl drinks it. If it is the cabbage that makes you doubt, really do not! Give it a try and you will be amazed by how it is sweet, fresh and makes you feel energised. ½ cup red cabbage, grated ½ cup frozen blueberries ½ cup water or coconut water or nut milk eg almond Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend for one minute or until smooth and thick. Drink straight away. If too thick add a bit more of water until you get the desired consistency.

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Delmaine sauces now gluten-free Delmaine Fine Foods is one of New Zealand’s leading food importers and manufacturers with a huge range of products featuring unique ingredients that Kiwis know and love. Now Delmaine has reformulated its sauces range to make them gluten free so more people can enjoy the Delmaine Fine Foods taste and flavour. The gluten-free range includes Delmaine Traditional Tomato Sauce, which is an authentic European-style sauce with a rich and aromatic taste. It is made without fillers, using only tomatoes, onion, and red capsicum, flavoured with garlic, herbs and spices. The inclusion of onion and capsicum not only increases the flavour, but also stops Delmaine Traditional Tomato Sauce from being boring like some tomato sauces. Delmaine’s BBQ Sauce is a thick rich sauce with a unique Kiwi twist. The addition of the smoky flavour of manuka is the perfect complement to the sweet tang of a traditional tomato-based BBQ sauce. This sauce is great for a wide range of cooking styles – try basting, marinating or simply serving it alongside any kind of meat and poultry. Rounding out the tomato-based range is Delmaine’s Tomato with Chilli sauce, incorporating a touch of chilli for those who like a bit of spice but without the sweetness of a Thai chilli sauce. People on gluten-free diets can also enjoy Delmaine’s savoury jellies and fruit-based sauces. There’s nothing better than a Traditional Mint Jelly alongside a rack of lamb, or a spoonful of Traditional Redcurrant Jelly with venison or beef. Or try adding a fruity twist to a cold meat platter or sandwich with a choice of Apple Sauce, Plum Sauce or Apricot Sauce. Completing the savoury sauce range is a gluten-free Cranberry, Orange & Port Sauce, delicious alongside chicken, pork or any red meat.

26 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

dust mites

A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP We spend a third of our lives in bed so it pays to minimise exposure to dust mites in the bedroom. Here are some tips on the best ways to banish dust mites from the bedroom.



love warm moist mattresses and feed off the dry skin they find there. House dust mites are microscopic and their faeces, which are small and light, can provoke a strong allergic reaction when inhaled. If you suspect you have a dust mite allergy, ask your doctor for a skin prick test.

• Get bedding covers to provide a barrier to dust mite allergens. Make sure the cover has been tested against dust mites and achieves a 90 percent efficacy rate, has strong seams and totally encloses the mattress. Check to see whether it can be damp dusted and allows moisture out – with a water vapour permeability index of 40 percent or more. A protective bedding cover is the single most effective measure you can take to protect yourself against dust mites, according to The Asthma Foundation.

28 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

• Feather fill bedding is recommended over synthentic fill bedding for people with allergies and asthma. Recent New Zealand research shows that feather bedding contains fewer allergy-triggering fungal cells. • Wash sheets and pillow cases in hot water, dust mites are killed at temperatures of 60˚C. • Wash or dry clean bedding, including pillows and duvets at least once every six to eight weeks. Research has shown that prolonged tumble drying can reduce house dust mites in duvets and blankets. Source: The Asthma Foundation

food allergy


The majority of infants at high-risk of developing peanut allergy are protected at age five years if they eat peanut frequently, starting within the first 11 months of life, according to new evidence.



guidelines, paediatricians and allergists in many countries, including New Zealand, have previously recommended avoiding foods that cause allergies (such as peanut) in an infant’s diet. This advice was withdrawn a few years ago but until now there hasn’t been evidence to show early exposure to peanuts would reduce a child’s risk of developing peanut allergy. The LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) study led by Professor Gideon Lack, of King’s College London, is the first study to show that consumption is an effective strategy to prevent food allergy, contradicting previous recommendations. The LEAP study, a randomised controlled trial, enrolled 640 children aged four to 11 months from Evelina London Children’s Hospital, who were considered at high-risk of developing peanut allergy due to pre-existing severe eczema and/or egg allergy. Half of the children were

asked to eat peanut-containing foods three or more times each week, and the other half had to avoid eating peanut until five years of age. Less than 1 percent of children who consumed peanut as per study protocol and completed the study had developed a peanut allergy by the age of five years - while 17.3 percent in the avoidance group developed peanut allergy. Importantly, the early introduction of peanutcontaining foods was found to be safe and well tolerated; infants were not fed whole peanuts, which carry a risk of choking in young children. The study concluded that early, sustained consumption of peanut is safe and associated with a substantial and significant decrease in the development of peanut allergy in high-risk infants by the age of five. Professor Gideon Lack, who led the study, presented the findings at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting (AAAAI): “This is an

important clinical development and contravenes previous guidelines. Whilst these were withdrawn in 2008 in the UK and US, our study suggests that new guidelines may be needed to reduce the rate of peanut allergy in our children.” Professor Lack cautioned that the study excluded infants showing early strong signs of having already developed peanut allergy. He advised: “Parents of infants and young children with eczema and/or egg allergy should consult with an allergist, paediatrician, or their General Practitioner, prior to feeding them peanut products.” Read more at

*In the light of this groundbreaking study, allergy specialists and Allergy New Zealand are now calling on the Ministry of Health to urgently review infant feeding guidelines in New Zealand. See www.scoop. peanut-allergy-experts-call-forpublic-health-advice-review.htm

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2014 29



ALLERGY MAKEOVER The 7-day Allergy Makeover is written for people who want to take an active role in their own healing. We take a look inside.


F YOU ARE looking for

a practical programme aimed at helping people combat a broad range of allergies and allergic sympoms, take a look at The 7-day Allergy Makeover. Author Dr Susanne Bennett DC is a holistic chiropractor specialising in allergies, clinical nutrition and environmental and lifestyle medicine with an emphasis in paediatric and young adult healthcare. She treats 100 patients a week from children to movie stars in her Los Angeles allergy clinics. Her renowned programme was developed after her son Cody, now 18 years old, was plagued by allergies from three months of age. Her desperation to understand what was happening to him has been both life and career changing. Dr Bennett had a thriving sports medicine practice but when her son was a toddler, he suffered a string of serious health issues. She decided it was up to

her to get her son back on track. That was the start of the book and her personal crusade to help people ‘heal themselves naturally’. She says in her book: “So far I have logged over 90,000 allergy patient visits. Most of them come to me after exhausting every possible resource: doctors, medicines, creams, shots – all the things I used on Cody before I discovered the natural healing methods that do work.” The 7-day Allergy Makeover is presented in seven chapters or ‘days’ breaking down seven key areas in which Dr Bennett wants to encourage people to change their lifestyle. Day 1 is about cleaning up your nutrition and covers food allergies and the symptoms they produce. Day 2 focuses on water, while Day 3 is about airborne allergens and how to take steps to remove allergens from the home, car and office. Day 4 is about cleaning up your living environment and covers dust, mould and other allergens. It has a special

30 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015

section on children’s allergies and children’s bedrooms. Day 5 focuses on cleaning up the kitchen, which Dr Bennett says has more allergens than almost any other room. It also includes food preparation and cooking. Day 6 is about cleaning up your body and Day 7 is about emotional health and reducing stress. The book is actionorientated and offers step-by-step instructions on the things to do to minimise exposure to allergy triggers. It offers simple but specific lifestyle changes and includes interesting real life case studies of some of the patients Dr Bennett has treated. It also covers the emotional side of dealing with long-term allergy symptoms and the important role stress plays in one’s physical health. It won’t be for everyone but will appeal to people who want to try a structured holistic approach to removing allergy triggers and reducing the risk of allergy symptoms.

Allergy Guide LASCo Salami – your healthy choice!

ADVICE, BENEFITS & CHOICES Travelling safely with Allergy Cards

The Lean Artisan Smokehouse Company produces healthy, nutritious and affordable beef and venison salami for everyday life. Made the artisan way LASCo is 90% fat free, gluten, soy, dairy, pork, egg, nut, onion, sulphate and MSG free, with low levels of sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. LASCo have now launched their 25g snack packs (8 slices) – the perfect ‘brain food’ for kids and lunch boxes, a healthy choice for the entire family. Find at New World, Pak’nSave, Fresh Choice and selected 4 Squares and specialty stores. Local stockists found at

Allergy Cards came from our overseas travel experiences. We found restaurant kitchens understood our food needs better by reading a card than if we explained in broken English and local words the importance of avoiding key foods. Reading the information in their own language avoided misunderstandings. The kitchens responded helpfully. Allergy cards say it all! Find us on

Gluten-free tomato sauce An authentic European style tomato sauce with a rich and aromatic taste. Made with sun ripened tomatoes, blended with onion, red capsicum and garlic. Ideal with BBQ meats, on sandwiches and with chips. To find out more, go to

DIY carpet cleaning for a clean and healthy home Rug Doctor’s DIY equipment covers it all. From whole floor cleans, to spills, mattress cleaning, stairs and upholstery (chairs, couches and vehicles). Cleaning your carpet regularly not only maximizes the life of your carpet, it is also very important for the health of your family, eliminating fleas, cockroach eggs and dust mites, giving you a clean and healthy home. To find out more, visit or call 0800 800 245

Long lasting hydration for eczema-prone skin RESTORADERM™ Skin Restoring Moisturiser is suited for anyone aged three months or older with dry, itchy skin symptoms commonly associated with eczema or atopic dermatitis. It is easily absorbed and restores moisture to help repair the skin’s barrier. Use after cleansing with soap-free, fragrant-free and emollient-rich RESTORADERM™ Skin Restoring Body Wash. Both products contain Filaggrin breakdown products, shown to be depleted in eczema-prone skin. Available at major pharmacies nationwide.

Free From Gluten Snacks Check out our tasty new Free From Gluten Snack range exclusive to Countdown. Choose from crispy Potato Chips available in 3 flavours: Original, Salt & Vinegar or Grilled Chicken. Or try our crunchy snack range Cheese Twists, Cheese Rings, Chicken Twists all of which contain no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours. Available at Countdown supermarkets. Range may vary by store.

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2014 31


BREAKTHROUGH IN ASTHMA VACCINE A team of New Zealand researchers has patented a new vaccine technology that could be used to treat asthma and other allergic diseases.



using a vaccine to prevent asthma is a step closer following a breakthrough by Kiwi scientists searching for the Holy Grail of allergy research – a prevention therapy. The novel vaccine therapy for asthma was successful in a mouse model and has the potential to be applied to other allergic diseases, say the scientists involved in the study. They caution it will take many more years of hard work before the treatment will be a reality for the one in four Kiwi children with asthma. The idea of using a vaccine to prevent asthma was the brainchild of Malaghan Institute Professor Franca Ronchese who explained how the vaccine works.

She said: “In asthma, allergens such as those produced by house dust mites are inhaled and taken up by dendritic cells in airways, causing inflammation and many of the symptoms of asthmatic disease. With the vaccine, we think we can direct other immune cells, the killer T-cells, to go and block the dendritic cells, so they stop sending out the wrong messages. It’s like taking out the generals of the enemy’s army in order to overpower it.” The Malaghan Institute, which is based in Wellington, says the experimental approach is one of the newest frontiers in the rapidly advancing field of immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s own ability to fight diseases. The research is an extension

of work to develop vaccines for cancer by Malaghan’s Associate Professor Ian Hermans, in collaboration with synthetic chemist Dr Gavin Painter from the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington. “Cancer and asthma both involve the immune system, but in cancer we are trying to get the body to take notice of tumour proteins, while in asthma, we want to stop it over-reacting to an allergen,” says Dr Hermans. “Allergy is the wrong sort of immune response. Using the vaccine, we have initiated a more appropriate immune response and prevented the allergy from taking hold.” The work was jointly funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of New Zealand. It was published in the journal, Nature Chemical Biology, in October 2014.



32 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Summer-Autumn 2015


For free advice phone

asthma New Zealand

09 623 0236

Treat your allergic rhinitis not just your symptoms A grass pollen immunotherapy tablet - a real solution for your allergic rhinitis1,2 • One tablet per day • For adults and children 5yrs & over • Take seasonally - before & during pollen season • Proven effective after the first season3,4

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100 IR & 300 IR or 300 IR sublingual tablets Oralair is an unfunded prescription medicine. Always use strictly as directed. Ask your doctor if Oralair is right for you. Oralair has risk and benefits. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your healthcare professional. Normal doctors fees will apply For futher information on Oralair contact your doctor or healthcare professional or view the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) go to Stallergenes Australia Pty Ltd Suite 2408 4 Daydream Street Warriewood NSW 2102 Distributed in New Zealand by EBOS Group Ltd 108 Wrights Rd Addington Christchurch Ph: +64 (0) 9 4153 267 Fax: 0800 262 262 Stallergenes & Oralair are registered trademarks of Stallergenes SA STG12115 TAPSPP5855 REFERENCES: 1. AUST R 167565 - ORALAIR Initiation Treatment & AUST R 167566 - ORALAIR Continuation treatment. 2. Approved Oralair product information. 3. (VO34.04 study): Didier A. optimal dose, efficacy and safety of once-daily sublingual immunotherapy with a 5-grass pollen tablet for seasonal allergic rhinitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;120:1338-45. 4. (VO52.06 study): Whan al. Efficacy and safety of 5-grass pollen sublingual immunotherapy tablets in paediatric allergic rhinoconjuntivitis.J Allergy Cin Immunol 2009;123:160-6.


Living With Allergies March 2015


Living With Allergies March 2015