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Allergies LIVING WITH

magazine

SPRING 2015

GIVEAWAYS 5 GREAT competitions – see inside

Children & ALLERGIES

ASTHMA ATTACKS:

know what to do Allergy-friendly gardens FREE WITH COMPLIMENTS FROM YOUR PHARMACIST OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL

Soothing

SCRATCHY

KIDS

Gluten-free food + healthy homes + itchy eyes


Live like you’re allergy free!

CLARATYNE provides relief from symptoms associated with seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis, such as sneezing, nasal discharge and itching, and ocular itching and burning. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Bayer New Zealand Limited, Auckland. DA1516GA BGA150814


Contents

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 maree@livingwithallergies.co.nz BUY A MAGAZINE Visit our website www.livingwithallergies.co.nz 09 589 1054 info@livingwithallergies.co.nz G www.facebook.com/ livingwithallergiesmagazine

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES SPRING 2015

ALLERGY AWARE 2 News and Views

CHILDREN AND ALLERGIES

4 What is the ‘allergic march’?

4

HEALTHY HOME

7 Spring cleaning & DIY tips

PRODUCTION Editor: Sara Carbery editor@livingwithallergies.co.nz Design: Rose Miller at Kraftwork rose@kraftwork.co.nz Proofreader: Stella Clark

ECZEMA

PRINTER McCollams Print

16 Allergy-friendly gardens

12 Soothing solutions for scratchy kids

GARDENING ASTHMA

ISSN: 2324-2213

18 Emergency know-how

EYE ALLERGIES 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.

19 Ditch the itch

NATURAL HEALTH 22 Child-friendly tips from a naturopath

FOOD & RECIPES 26 Tasty corn and capsicum fritters

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

ENDPOINT

32 Useful snippets

16 GIVEAWAYS!

Look out for five great reader competitions throughout the magazine. See inside for how to enter or go to www.livingwithallergies.co.nz


allergy aware The Hygiene Hypothesis

Allergic conditions such as asthma have almost doubled in western countries over the last 25 years. While nobody knows for sure why this is, it could be linked to changes in our diet and environment. Google the subject and you’ll discover ‘the hygiene hypothesis’, the theory that we all clean and disinfect so much, our children aren’t being subjected to enough germs and dirt for their immune system to mature properly. This has led to some experts pleading on behalf of children, ‘give us this day our daily germs’.

THE COST OF ALLERGIES New Zealand has one of the highest prevalence rates of allergic disease in the developed world, affecting up to 20% of the population.

20%

Consensus on Peanuts

The biggest ‘event’ in allergies this year has been the international consensus from nine bodies endorsing Professor Gideon Lack’s UK study of 600 plus infants, followed until they were five years old. The study, called Learning Early About Peanuts (LEAP), demonstrates that consumption of a peanut-containing snack by infants who are at high-risk for developing peanut allergy prevents the subsequent development of allergy. “For decades allergists have been recommending that young infants avoid consuming allergenic foods such as peanut to prevent food allergies,” notes Professor Lack. “Our findings suggest that this advice was incorrect and may have contributed to the rise in peanut and other food allergies.” The LEAP study, designed and conducted by the Immune Tolerance Network, is the first randomised trial to prevent food allergy in a large cohort of high-risk infants. 2 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

The total cost each year for those with allergies is estimated to be over $8 billion.

8billion YEARLY


ADVERTISING FEATURE

GIVEAWAY

We have a Sleep Well Pack (RRP $109.90) from award-winning SleepDrops to give away. Combining two of its top-selling formulations, the comprehensive pack contains a one-month supply of SleepDrops for Adults and Essential Sleep & Stress Nutrients for the ultimate in sleep support. Always read the label and take as directed. Enter online at www.livingwithallergies.co.nz or email giveaways@livingwithallergies.co.nz with SLEEPDROPS in the subject line. Entries close 20 November 2015.

TOP FOODS

Eight main foods have been identified internationally as causing 90% of food allergies. These are: cows’ milk (dairy), eggs, peanuts, tree-nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. However, almost any food can cause an allergy, and patterns often reflect what is common in the local diet. In some regions there are particular foods which are significant, such as mustard in France, lupin in some parts of Europe, and sesame in some parts of Australia. There is no data to indicate there are particular foods, apart from the top eight, which cause significant food allergies in New Zealand, although kiwifruit allergy is believed to be more common now than a few years ago. (Source: Allergy NZ.)

New Era for Eczema

An exciting new era in eczema treatment may be around the corner, according to a new study from the US. Dr. Brett King and his team at Yale School of Medicine recently revealed findings from their research into the use of a rheumatoid arthritis medication, known as Xeljanz, to treat moderate to severe eczema. “The improvement in redness, swelling, etc., was dramatic over only weeks,” according to Dr. King, an assistant professor of dermatology at Yale. Results from the study, published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, come on the heels of another ground-breaking study confirming that eczema is an autoimmune disorder. In that study, patients received a weekly injection of dupilumab, a drug that reverses the immune response that causes the cracked, itchy skin of eczema.

Caring for Babies As a parent you naturally want the best for your child. Weleda believes your baby’s delicate skin can be best cared for with all the goodness of nature. A baby’s skin is five times thinner than an adult’s and is more prone to oversensitivity to stimuli and drying out. 100% Certified Natural & Organic, Weleda White Mallow Baby Derma products are fragrance free and soothe hypersensitive skin, ideal for those susceptible to eczema. White Mallow Baby Derma products help rebalance the skin’s natural barrier and stimulate its regenerative powers. Available from weleda.co.nz, selected health stores and pharmacies.

(Source: www.allergicliving.com)

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 3


children and allergies Up to 40% of New Zealand children are affected by allergies at some time, with symptoms ranging from mild to potentially life threatening. When discussing children’s allergies experts often talk about the “Allergic March”, the sequence in which allergic conditions typically appear. As with anything, there are no hard and fast rules and all children are different but knowing there is a spectrum can be helpful.

1 2 THE

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is usually the first allergic condition to appear. Eczema is most prevalent during the first three years of life. It’s often around a child’s third birthday that asthma is diagnosed. Although some asthmatic wheezing may have been observed earlier, it’s usually not until around the age of three that asthma can be diagnosed with any certainty, says Dr Jan Sinclair, a Paediatrician and Clinical Immunologist at Starship Children’s Hospital. Hay fever (or allergic rhinitis) more commonly manifests later, during the school years or in adulthood, says Dr Sinclair. It is generally not observed during the first two years of life because allergy to airborne allergens such as dust mites, cat dander and pollen generally takes time to develop.

ALLERGIC MARCH 3

Continues on page 6 4 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015


ADVERTISING FEATURE

Nip Spring Allergens in the Bud

Works in just 15 minutes

Do you love the idea of getting out into nature or petting a cat but hate the reality of irritating pollen, grass and fur? Are simple tasks like going out for a walk or cuddling your pet fraught with the anxiety of a reaction to allergens? Clinicians Allerstop is the first dietary supplement available over the counter for allergen support and is suitable for the entire family to use, including children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Allerstop is a completely natural formula that works rapidly to provide support for your body’s response to indoor and outdoor allergens such as mould, dust mites, pet hair, grasses and pollen. Allerstop’s ingredients are proven to be effective and the fast release formulation means allergen support will occur within 15 minutes. Clinicians, a research-based New Zealand natural health company, has developed the unique formula in Allerstop using a specialised protein found in quail eggs, an ingredient the company has exclusive rights to use in this country. “This specialised protein was originally discovered in the 1970s in France where research allergist Dr Bruttmann found a powdered quail egg formula supported the body’s response to environmental irritants,” explains Clinicians’ Naturopath Jane Cronin. “These irritants contain enzymes that, when inhaled, irritate the lining of the nasal passages. Allerstop contains bio-active proteins that block irritants before they affect the nasal passage.” Clinicians Allerstop is available from all good pharmacies and health stores. To find out more, go to www.clinicians.co.nz. LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 5


children and allergies Allergies often run in families – if a child has one parent with an allergy they have more than a 25% chance of developing an atopic condition, such as eczema, asthma or hay fever. If both parents have allergies, this rate increases to 50-60%. When both parents have the same condition, a child’s risk of having that condition can be as high as 80%. Even with no family history, a child has a 5–15% chance of developing an atopic condition. Risk factors that could contribute to this include: • Introduction of solid foods before 3-4 months of age (a risk for eczema and food allergy) • Being born in spring (a risk for hay fever) • Passive exposure to cigarette smoke (a risk for increased respiratory symptoms).

What to do If you suspect your child has an allergy, the first step is to see your doctor, who may refer you to a specialist. Skin prick tests (from three months) or blood (RAST or Cap RAST) tests can be performed to help diagnose allergies – either by observing reactions on the skin or by measuring the amount of IgE antibody produced to a specific allergen in the blood. Keeping a symptom diary for your child will help you pinpoint possible triggers and allergens which you can discuss with your doctor.

GIVEAWAY

Need relief from dry, itchy skin? Comvita has a full range of Medihoney® products for natural relief from dry, itchy skin. The formulations are certified natural, fragrance free, soap free and dermatologically tested. Enriched with medical grade honey, oat extract and nourishing plant butters, these products help to replenish dry skin for a healthier you. We have one full set of Comvita’s certified natural Medihoney® Range to give away, including the Soap Free Wash, Moisturising Lotion, Derma Cream, Skintensive™ Cream and Antibacterial Wound Gel™ (total RRP $96.75). Comvita.co.nz/medihoney Enter online at www.livingwithallergies.co.nz or email giveaways@livingwithallergies.co.nz with MEDIHONEY in the subject line. Entries close 20 November 2015. 6 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015


healthy homes

TIME FOR A

SPRING CLEAN

Housework isn’t at the top of anyone’s ‘favourite things to do’ list, but if someone in your home suffers from asthma or an allergy – to house dust mites in particular – you’ll know the importance of regular dusting, airing and vacuuming. And what better time for upping your efforts on the home front than spring?

Freshen up your next paint job with Resene Zylone Sheen VOC Free, which combines the popular low sheen of Resene Zylone Sheen without the unwanted volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for better indoor air quality

T

HE HUMBLE house dust mite may be tiny, but it’s a big nuisance to asthma and allergy sufferers. Living off the flakes of skin we constantly shed, it’s no surprise these unwelcome house guests most commonly reside in soft furniture and carpets and, especially, in mattresses and pillows. Interesting fact: it’s not the dust mites themselves that are the problem but their faeces, which float in the air. If you wheeze when you vacuum or dust, or when you enter a dusty room or house, you could very well have an allergy to dust mites. Another tell-tale sign is asthma symptoms during the night or first thing in the morning. The Asthma Foundation has some tips on what you can do to keep these pesky mites under control.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

COVER UP Investing in bedding covers is the single most effective step you can take, says the Asthma Foundation. Most pillows, mattresses, bed bases and duvet inners have material which allows dust mite faeces through into the air so it makes good sense to buy special covers to act as a barrier. Call Airflow Products – 0800 AIRFLOW/ 0800 247 3569 – for more information, or ask at your local asthma society. RUG UP The Asthma Foundation suggests removing fitted carpet, especially in the bedroom. Use rugs instead and vacuum them regularly.

®

®

Protect your kitchen, bathroom, laundry and other indoor wet areas with the Resene Kitchen & Bathroom range, formulated with antibacterial silver and MoulDefender to minimise mould and bacteria growth. ®

Now that’s fresh thinking!

Only from 0800 RESENE (737 363) www.resene.co.nz

Continues on page 8 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 7


healthy homes VACUUM KNOW-HOW Vacuum cleaners won’t eliminate dust mites, but they can reduce the number. Vacuum at least once a week, or, if you have asthma which is triggered by dust mite faeces, have someone else do it for you. Use vacuum cleaners with a micro-filter, an “S-class” filter, or an HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter system. Machines without these sorts of filters are more likely to re-circulate the fine dust mite faeces through their exhaust vent, back into the air. REMEMBER THE MATTRESS Don’t forget to vacuum your mattress weekly. If barrier covers are fitted these do not need to be removed. DUMP IT If you use a vacuum cleaner that exposes you to the contents when you empty it, ask someone else to do it for you. After vacuuming, leave the house and allow the dust to settle for half an hour or so before re-entering. DUST IT Dust with a damp cloth every week. Avoid using a feather duster which just pushes the dust around.

8 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

LAUNDRY BASICS Hang clothes in the sun to dry after washing; direct sunlight kills dust mites. Alternatively, if you use a drier, run it for an extra half hour on warm after the contents are dry. FRESH AIR Air blankets, duvets and rugs weekly, if possible in natural sunlight. For more information, visit www.asthmafoundation.org.nz.


DIY TIPS

PAINTING BY NUMBERS

When it comes to choosing paint, there’s a lot more to think about than what colour you’d like the walls. If spring fever has hit and you’re keen to embark on some DIY, here are three things to consider before picking up a paintbrush.

1

Not sure which paint to choose? Picking one that has been through rigorous testing, such as the Asthma Foundation’s Sensitive Choice® programme, is a good way to go. The programme encourages manufacturers and suppliers to offer products and services that are asthma and allergy friendly.

Breathe easy

Don’t put up with nasty odours and high VOC paints. Resene Zylone Sheen VOC Free has no VOCs. So now you can paint and breathe easy. ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

Attractive low sheen finish

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Low odour VOC free Easy water washup Available in thousands of colours from the Resene Total Colour System

Available only from Resene.

2

We breathe in and out around 15,000 times a day, so it makes good sense to ensure the air we’re breathing in is as healthy as it can be. Some manufacturers, like Resene, now offer low and no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints that can help prevent asthma, headaches, nausea and allergic reactions associated with higher VOC products. And an added bonus is you don’t have to put up with strong smelling paints anymore!

3

Think anti-mould paints when decorating, especially in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Mould is a real problem for allergy sufferers in NZ but you can help combat it by using a special product designed to prevent mould. Resene, for example, has a range of Sensitive Choice-approved paints that help do just that. To find out more, check out www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/sensitive-choice/

0800 RESENE (737 363) www.resene.co.nz

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 9


ADVERTISING FEATURE

Involving children in their health care Children with health issues require many adjustments to their daily life. Many of these adjustments induce a sense of ‘losing control’ as procedures are done to them rather than with them. This can lead to high levels of stress and children may express feelings of fear, anger and frustration. Consequently, health experts are recognising the value of having children actively participating in their care, rather than passively receiving care. The result of this approach is that children feel valued, respected and empowered.

To effectively hydrate dry skin, Medihoney® Natural Derma Cream often needs to be put on up to three times a day. Make it fun by giving your child a clean paintbrush and letting them paint the cream on the dry, itchy areas. They can draw shapes, letters and pictures. Let them be as creative as they like.

Give children choices whenever possible and whenever appropriate. Only offer choices where the children are genuinely free to choose. For example, let them decide whether they will put their cream on their arm or leg first.

Let your children help set up their creams in the order they will be applied. Under your supervision, allow them to touch the bottles or squirt the cream out onto your hand. Children who have the opportunity to become familiar with their health resources have less anxiety and fear.

10 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

PHOTO © COMVITA

Children who face an ongoing battle with dry, itchy skin are often subject to time-consuming, complex and sometimes unpleasant skincare routines. Heidi Darcy, Clinical Advisor at Comvita, shares some creative and fun ways to involve children in their skincare routines.

Re-label your creams or wash products with names that will appeal to your child’s interest and developmental age. Add stickers, glitter and anything that will make it more fun for them. In our house, the Medihoney® Natural Soap Free Wash was given a glittery revamp and relabelled ‘Butterfly Bath Balm’. The Medihoney® Natural Derma Cream was relabelled ‘Dinosaur drool’ complete with 3D stickers.

Empowering children to cope with life’s journey takes creativity and patience. If your child faces a heath issue, be inspired to find new ways to empower your child. Share your learning with other parents, so that together, we can build a stronger community.


CERTIFIED NATURAL

Natural Relief for Dry and Itchy Skin

Suitable for the whole family. • Gentle enough for sensitive skin • Certified natural • Dermatologically tested • Fragrance free • With Manuka honey Shop the full Medihoney® range instore at your local pharmacy, health store or at comvita.co.nz

Share Nature. Share Life.


eczema

SCRATCHY KIDS

An inflammation of the skin, eczema can cause terrible itching, sweating, skin infections and restless sleep resulting in an understandably miserable and grumpy child. Here are some tips that will hopefully help soothe things if you have a child with eczema.

E

CZEMA typically starts

in the first six months of life and affects up to one in three infants. While there is no cure for eczema, it can be effectively treated. As well as avoiding exposure to known triggers and allergens, doctors will usually prescribe emollient moisturisers to hydrate the skin; steroid ointments to prevent and control inflammation; antihistamines to treat itching and antibiotics to deal with any infection, a common cause of admission to hospital particularly with younger babies. Moisturising is the key to effective treatment. You need to use lots of cream (available on prescription), more often

than you think necessary. This may be several times a day initially but the key is using it preventatively as well as in response to symptoms. Scratching is the enemy – hours or days of work can be undone in minutes – so get your child involved in managing their eczema from a young age. The sooner they can make the connection between ‘itch’ and ‘cream’, versus ‘itch’ and ‘scratch’, the better. Children as young as 14 months can recognise that cream relieves the itch and bring you their cream when they feel itchy. Even if your child has allergies, don’t think removing an allergen will necessarily get rid of the eczema. By all

GIVEAWAY

means minimise triggers but don’t pin your hopes on it, and be wary of depriving your child nutritionally through food restrictions or developmentally through limiting access to irritants such as sand and water. Rather than saying no altogether, maybe allow your child to play with sand and water for a short time, using cream before and after to minimise the effect. Likewise, be wary of using mittens too much to stop babies scratching, as they need to be able to explore and learn with their hands. Managing eczema takes time and effort but if you’re taught how, and do it properly, your efforts will pay off, sometimes within a matter of hours.

100% Certified Natural & Organic, Weleda White Mallow Baby Derma products are fragrance free and soothe hypersensitive skin, ideal for those susceptible to eczema. We have a Weleda White Mallow pack to give away –White Mallow Body Lotion 200ml, White Mallow Face Cream 50ml & White Mallow Nappy Change Cream 50ml – valued at $69.70 RRP. View the range at www.weleda.co.nz Enter online at www.livingwithallergies.co.nz or email giveaways@livingwithallergies.co.nz with WELEDA in the subject line. Entries close 20 November 2015. 12 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015


White Mallow Baby Derma range soothes hypersensitive skin 100% certified natural & organic

Weleda - in harmony with nature and the human being

www.weleda.co.nz

AD1017

The fragrance free Weleda White Mallow range is specifically designed for baby skin that is hypersensitive or prone to eczema


eczema Managing eczema takes time and effort but if you’re taught how, and do it properly, your efforts will pay off, sometimes within a matter of hours.

TOP TIPS for SCRATCHY KIDS • Avoid wearing wool or rough fibres when holding your child. • Keep nails short using a nail file instead of clippers or scissors. • Choose 100% cotton bedding and clothing and remove tags to prevent irritation. • Use a gentle laundry product and rinse clothes and bedding at least twice to remove all traces of detergent. Avoid bleaches and fabric softeners. • Wash all new clothes and bedding before use to remove any chemicals used during manufacture.

• Give your child a tepid (never hot) bath for 20 minutes at least once a day. Avoid using soap and other perfumed products such as bubble bath. Pat their skin dry with a soft towel and moisturise skin within three minutes of taking them out of the bath. • A plastic bag filled with ice cubes held next to your child’s skin may help relieve itching. • If your child has severe eczema and is finding it difficult to sleep, try smothering skin in emollient and wrapping with wet bandages.

• Keep rooms well-ventilated, especially in summer, to prevent sweating. • Children with eczema are more sensitive to heat and cold as their skin does not regulate body temperature normally, so remember that what feels comfortable to you may feel too hot or too cold to them. For more information on managing eczema, visit the Allergy New Zealand website www.allergy.org.nz.

Itchy Kids is a New Zealand-based support group for parents of children with eczema. See www.itchykids.org.nz to find out more. 14 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015


Allergies can be an issue all year round Insect Bites

Plants

Dust

Pets

Pollen

1 in 3 New Zealanders suffer from allergies. Luckily Arrowcare offer a full range of allergy medicines to help you combat your allergy triggers. If you have itchy eyes or skin, sneezing or runny nose, allergies could be the culprit – talk to your pharmacist about which Arrowcare product is right for you.

0393 LWA

Recommendations should be consistent with the datasheet, label or pack insert of each medicine, which should be consulted. Arrowcare Zetop, Fexofast and Lorafix: always read the label and use as directed. People with kidney problems, and pregnant or breast-feeding women should seek medical advice before taking these medications. If symptoms persist see your Doctor or health professional. TAPS CH4464. *IMS, 2014. Total tablets including those on prescription.

arrowcare.co.nz

Actavis New Zealand Ltd.

0800 800 097 fax: 0800 800 662 enquiries@actavis.co.nz Auckland, New Zealand


environmental allergy

CREATING AN ALLERGY-FRIENDLY GARDEN Spring-time … and the garden is calling. But the great outdoors isn’t always a happy place for allergy sufferers. Asthma, hay fever, contact dermatitis, rashes and blisters can all be triggered by the most benevolent looking plants. Happily, landscape architect Janet Luke has tips for creating an allergyfriendly garden everyone can enjoy.

Janet Luke is a landscape architect, who lives in Hawke’s Bay. She has a passion for sustainable design, edible landscaping and permaculture and runs green living courses from her urban garden. For details see www.greenurbanliving.co.nz. 16 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

U

P TO ONE-FIFTH

of all New Zealanders react to pollen released by wind-pollinated plants. The worst time of the year is spring – September and October – when tree pollen reaches its peak. This is quickly replaced by grass pollen in November through to January. Trees and shrubs to avoid are those that have small, pale or insignificant flowers. These sorts of plants use wind to spread pollen and they need to produce a lot of it. As a rule of thumb, showy, bee-pollinated trees and shrubs are a better choice for allergy sufferers. Interestingly enough, it is the boys that get up our noses! So plant lots of female trees and female shrubs. Not only will these not shed any pollen, they will also trap pollen which has strayed from elsewhere. Think of these female plants as nature’s air cleaners. Male plants are often sold in nurseries as ‘seedless’ or ‘fruitless’ varieties but they all produce large amounts of allergenic pollen. Trees to avoid at all costs include wattles, ashes, elms, oaks, maples, pine, privet, willow and the large growing poplar or cottonwood.

On the flower front, choose flowers that are large, scented and brightly coloured. These plants tend to be bee-pollinated – they attract with colour and scent. Their pollen is heavy and sticky so not as irritating to humans. Lawns are great producers of irritating pollen. Just after dawn, fine pollen rises up to a metre above the lawn, waiting for wind or gardeners to disturb it. Mowing early, before the dew has dried, can help, or if you aren’t concerned what the neighbours might think, wear a surgical mask! A better idea is to do away with lawn altogether and replace it with paving or decking. If you must have a lawn, choose groundcovers such as thyme or Mercury Bay weed. Be very careful with the use of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. One single heavy exposure can result in hypersensitivity, especially in someone whose antigens are on high alert anyway. Go organic as much as possible, and if pests become a problem, use natural homemade sprays as a first line of defence. Opt for lots of variety in your garden. A lack of plant diversity can


Zinnias and petunias combine for a colourful and sneeze-free display

q

cause overexposure to one particular antigen. As always, diversity is good! If you have to have a particular high-allergy plant in your garden because you love it, place it far away from the house and downwind if possible. Don’t plant high allergy plants near bedroom windows, next to patio areas, walkways or by the front or back door. If you have a tree or hedge that has high allergy potential, keep it trimmed or clipped so that it flowers less, and use rock, stones or gravel for mulch instead of bark to cut down on mould spores in the garden. Plant only disease-resistant varieties of plants and varieties that grow well in local conditions. Mildew, rust, black spot and other plant diseases produce spores and these spores can cause allergies. An allergy-friendly garden can still be a beautiful garden and a great space for everyone to relax and enjoy the outdoors, whatever the season.

PLANTS TO EMBRACE AND EXCLUDE THE ITCHY, SNEEZY ONES – AVOID IF YOU CAN

THE GOOD GUYS – CHOOSE THESE FOR YOUR GARDEN

Aster Pussy willow Calendula Ba mboo Daisies Ash Chrysanthemu ms Acacia Grasses Olive Walnut Privet Primula Plane Cupressus Ivy

Rhododendron Ca mellia Viburnu m opulus Snapdragon Citrus Bay laurel Phlox Plu m Apricot Hawthorn Pomegranate Cabbage trees Cherries Eucalyptus Gardenia Escallonia Cotoneaster Salvias

GIVEAWAY

Stay free of allergies this spring. Be in to win a Good Health Spring Survival Kit including: Good Health Immulox® for balancing the immune system, Good Health Congest X for decongesting and clearing the airways and Good Health Revitalise C for immune system support. Good Health Immulox®, Congest X and Revitalise C are available in pharmacies and health stores. Enter online at www.livingwithallergies. co.nz or email giveaways@livingwithallergies.co.nz with GOOD HEALTH in the subject line. Entries close 20 November 2015. LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 17


asthma

KNOWLEDGE THAT COULD SAVE A LIFE

Many people think asthma is a mild disease that causes the odd episode of wheezy breathing; but asthma can – and does – kill. In New Zealand at least one person dies from asthma every week; more than 52 people every year. Knowing what to do during an asthma attack could save someone’s life. What is an asthma attack? People with asthma have extra-sensitive airways. In an asthma attack, their airway may swell and narrow, causing wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. What do I do if someone has an asthma attack? 1. Be calm and reassuring: Sit the person down and get them to lean forward slightly. Ensure that their arms are supported by their knees, a table or the arms of a chair. 2. Give six puffs of a blue reliever inhaler (puffer). Use the person’s own inhaler if possible. If not, use a First Aid kit inhaler or borrow one. Remember to give just one puff at a time. (See below for instructions.) Relievers are best given through a spacer (except for Bricanyl which cannot be used with a spacer) as it makes the delivery of the drug more effective. 3. If there is no improvement, 18 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

give another six puffs (one puff at a time). This can be repeated up to six times (a total of 36 breaths). If there is little or no improvement, call an ambulance immediately (dial 111) – State simply and clearly that the person is having an asthma attack. Keep giving six puffs every six minutes until the ambulance arrives. Inhaler Instructions With spacer: • Shake inhaler and insert mouthpiece into spacer. • Place spacer mouthpiece in the person’s mouth and fire one puff. • Ask the person to breathe in and out normally for about six breaths. • Repeat in quick succession until six puffs have been given. Without a spacer: • Shake inhaler. • Place mouthpiece in the person’s mouth. • Fire one puff as the person inhales slowly and steadily.

• Ask the person to hold that breath for six seconds, then take six normal breaths. Repeat until six puffs have been given. What if this is someone’s first asthma attack? If someone collapses and appears to have difficulty breathing, call an ambulance immediately, whether or not the person is known to have asthma. • Give six puffs of a reliever and repeat if no improvement. • Keep giving six puffs every six minutes until the ambulance arrives. • No harm is likely to result from giving a reliever to someone who does not have asthma. • Remember what to do … A-S-T-H-M-A … Assess, Sit, Treat, Help, Monitor, All ok! Thanks to the Asthma Foundation. For more information, go to www.asthmafoundation.org.nz


eye allergy

DITCH THE ITCH

Itchy eyes are a common problem. In most cases the itch is mild and settles quickly but some people have severe or prolonged itching that requires treatment. Eye expert Dr Malcolm McKellar explains. allergic reaction where the surface of the eye (conjunctiva) overreacts to things in the air around us. That’s why the condition is known as allergic conjunctivitis. There are many things that can cause an allergic reaction. Some people are allergic to just grass and tree pollens and only have itchy eyes at certain times of the year. Others are

allergic to things like pets, house dust mites and moulds, and so suffer all year round. Some people also get red and watery eyes, eyelid swelling and sensitivity to light. In severe cases vision can be blurred. It’s common for people with itchy eyes to also suffer from other allergic problems such as asthma, eczema, and hay fever. They may also react to certain foods and medicines.

Prevention Sometimes it can help to avoid the problem in the first place. Things that may help include: • Staying indoors and closing windows when pollen and dust levels are high • Dusting with a damp cloth to remove pollen and dust from surfaces • Washing pollens, dust and fur off your face after work and play • Delegating lawn mowing and gardening to

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TCHING is part of an

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 19


Relief for itchy eyes

someone else • Removing plants such as silver birch from your garden • Wearing goggles or wrap-around sunglasses when outside • Avoiding parks, forests and gardens in spring time • Fitting dust covers on pillows and mattresses • Exposing furniture and bedding to sunlight to kill dust mites • Removing or replacing carpet • Choosing ‘low allergy’ pets • Moving to a drier house • Installing air conditioning and air filters. Treatment

Simple measures Rinse your eyes with artificial tears or solutions such as Optrex. Cold compresses can be very soothing; a wheat bag kept in a plastic bag in the fridge works well. Avoid rubbing your eyes: rubbing will make your itch worse. Use a cool compress instead. Non-prescription eye drops If you only get symptoms from time to time, ask your optometrist or pharmacist for antihistamine eye drops such as Livostin or Zaditen. You can use the drops when your eyes get itchy or take them just before you do something that you know is likely to cause your eyes to itch. People with frequent symptoms should try Rexacrom. Rexacrom is an effective treatment but takes three weeks to work and must be used continuously to keep working. Prescription eye drops For more severe allergies your optometrist, GP or ophthalmologist can prescribe Patanol, non-steroidal agents such as Voltaren and Restasis, and steroid eye drops like Maxidex, Pred Forte and Predsol. These treatments are very effective but can have side effects. If you’re using steroid eye drops, you need to be under the care of an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

What about hay fever tablets?

Tablets are good for hay fever but unfortunately not for itchy eyes.

Clear Eyes™-A is a triple action formula that relieves itching associated with exposure to airborne allergens, removes redness and moisturises irritated eyes.

www.cleareyes.co.nz Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. ®Registered Trademark of Prestige Brands Inc. USA. Distributed by Care Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd. ABN 30 009 200 604. TAPSCH4095

20 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

Could it be your eye drops?

Talk to your optometrist or ophthalmologist if your eyes get itchy when you use your glaucoma or antibiotic drops.You could be allergic to the medicine or the preservative in the bottle. About the author Eye surgeon Dr Malcolm McKellar is the only person in New Zealand trained as both an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. He is based in Christchurch. For more information on eye health go to: www.drmalcolmmckellar.co.nz.


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natural health

GETTING CHILDREN OFF TO A GOOD START We asked Rebekah Paddy, Naturopath, Medical Herbalist & Director of Mother-Well Holistic Health in Auckland, for some natural health advice on getting children off to the best start health-wise, and what role good digestion and gut health play in keeping kids healthy. 1. Does the way a baby is born increase their risk of allergies? Yes. When a babies are born vaginally they get inoculated with their mother’s beneficial bacteria, which support their own flora production. Studies have shown that babies born by C-section (or premature babies and those needing antibiotic therapy as a newborn) are

22 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

at higher risk of allergies. NZ rates for C-section births are currently around one-third of all babies born. (World Health Organisation’s recommended target is between 10% and 15% of births). This could well be one of the reasons NZ allergy rates are so high.

2. Are there common symptoms which show an allergy or intolerance could be present in children? Yes. Although of course everyone is different, there are some common signs a child is suffering from allergies. Some of these are eczema, asthma, skin rashes, continually runny nose, lethargy, frequent “sore tummy”, constant dark circles under eyes, head banging, challenging behaviour such as defiance, difficulty going to sleep and night waking.


3. Do probiotics have a place in allergy treatment? Yes. Beneficial bacteria are very helpful to re-balance a skewed immune system to a less ‘reactive’ or ‘allergic’ state. Therefore the use of probiotics post antibiotic use by both children and breastfeeding mothers is recommended. Studies have shown that certain strains of flora, such as Rhamnosus LGG, have value in reducing the incidence of atopic allergies such as eczema. 4. Do I need to keep my house sterile to reduce risks of allergies and illness? No, in fact evidence indicates that we are too fanatical about germs now. Studies show that children born to larger families and households where there are cats and dogs present have lower rates of allergies. New Zealand research has also shown that babies who were born in a farming environment, and therefore exposed prenatally (before birth) to farm animals, were more protected against childhood asthma, hay fever and eczema.

5. Why is good digestion and gut health important? 70-80% of the immune system sits within the digestive system, specifically in the Peyer’s patches and lymphoid tissue which occur along the gut wall. When digestion is compromised, or food allergies are present, this immune tissue begins an inflammatory response, often resulting in allergic symptoms. Gut health is an important first step in a naturopathic approach to allergies. We aim to reduce the inflammatory response and heal the gut mucosal lining which in turn will increase digestion and absorption of essential minerals and vitamins. This will ultimately help to support the immune system back to a balanced state. 6. Does the sun have an impact on allergy risk? Absolutely! The sun is our main source of Vitamin D3 which is an essential vitamin involved with good immunity, amongst other things. There are a number of recent studies which back up the theory that Vitamin D deficiency is a major cause of allergies in children. In New Zealand we have to be aware of the sun’s harsh rays so there is a strong

culture of ‘slip, slop, slap’ and hat wearing. Often our children are seeing no sun at all and this imbalance may be a strong factor in New Zealand’s high allergy rates. Recent reports in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have called for a 10x increase to the RDI of Vitamin D in children. 7. Why would changes at home or school have an impact on my child’s allergies? Stress can play havoc with our immune system and it can come in many guises. For children it can be a change in environment such as a new class at school or the birth of a new sibling. If a child is not sleeping well then of course this will place stress on their whole body and in turn skew their immunity, increasing the risk of having allergies. Someone who has never suffered from allergies in the past can suddenly suffer after stress; skin conditions in particular can fall into this category. As with any health ailment the physical and the emotional aspects of health both need to be taken into consideration.

For more information, contact Mother-Well Holistic Health, www.mother-well.co.nz, 09 630 0067. LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 23


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Balancing the immune system When we think of immunity, we tend to think of stimulating our immune systems to cope with viral and bacterial infections, like colds and flus. But if you suffer from allergies, asthma or an autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system is overactive and needs balancing, not stimulating. Unfortunately, many natural immune ingredients can actually aggravate these conditions, rather than help them, because they contain ingredients that stimulate the immune system even further. Happily, PRPs (Proline-rich Polypeptides) are different. The most important immune component of colostrum, PRPs naturally support balance in the immune system, either by supporting a weakened immune system or helping to balance an overactive one, while at the same time correcting the immune cells’ signalling responses. Good Health Immulox® is a product which contains four times the level of PRPs found in standard colostrum. “Imagine the immune system is like a see saw,” says Good Health Naturopath, Vanessa Vujcich. “It can be over or under stimulated. Good Health Immulox® works by balancing the immune system; it reprogrammes it so that it works more efficiently and it’s safe for those intolerant to lactose and casein.” “Autoimmune diseases and allergies are due to an overactive immune system where the body gets carried away and starts attacking itself, leading to inflammation, pain, swelling and tissue damage. The PRPs in Immulox® help to switch off the inappropriate immune response by regulating the body’s chemical messengers which then inhibit the production of the overactive immune cells, thus reducing the signs and symptoms of inflammation and allergies.”

24 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

But don’t just take Vanessa’s word for it … here’s what others have to say about Immulox®. “In February this year I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and prescribed Methotrexate, Naprosan … and was also having to swallow 4-6 Panadol Osteo daily. The medications did help and I was on them for 3 months … then I started Immulox … By the second week I didn’t require the anti-inflammatory (Naprosan) [nor any] Panadol Osteo. I have been taking Immulox® daily … for three weeks and I feel absolutely 100% fit and healthy. All I can say is … AMAZING! — R. Kelly For the last 10 months I have suffered an unknown chronic skin condition all over my body. I visited my local chemist to get some relief from the itch. The shop assistant encouraged me to try Immulox®. Within this short time there has been a substantial improvement in my condition … August was the first month I haven’t seen a GP [and] I believe by the end of September all skin issues will be cleared up by using Immulox® only. — G. Booth At age 17 I had a severe bout of glandular fever which left me weak and debilitated. I am now 64 and my immune system has been a constant problem since … I have had chronic fatigue, severe allergies and chronic aches and pains … A few months ago I started taking Immulox® and have noticed a steady improvement ever since. I can now do things that have been beyond me like hard running training without the return of symptoms. Immulox® has been a real life changer for me. — I. Chamberlain


food and recipes

SWEET & SAVOURY FROM THE SUGAR SISTERS Corn and capsicum fritters with tangy tomato chutney; Vietnamese pork rice paper rolls with hoisin and lime dipping sauce; California rolls with wasabi mayo; smoky Spanish tortilla with pesto cream cheese and tomato; chickpea, chilli and lime balls with sweet chilli dipping sauce; chocolate tahini cookies; mini lemon polenta cakes; plum and ginger cake ‌ who knew gluten-free catering could be so delicious!

GIVEAWAY

Guilt free meets allergy friendly! This is your chance to win an entire case (12 bags) of this delish new healthier snack option. No added sugar, less than 40 calories per cup! It is also lab certified gluten, soy, dairy and peanut free. 100% all natural, (no GMOs)‌ also vegan/ vegetarian friendly. If not already at your local supermarket, request your store manager carries this NZ-made treat! Enter online at www.livingwithallergies.co.nz or email giveaways@livingwithallergies.co.nz with KETTLECORN in the subject line. Entries close 20 November 2015. 26 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015


T

HE mouth-watering selection to the left is created fresh, daily by Sugar Sisters, a boutique bakery and catering business in Wellington. This sweetly named company is the brainchild of Jay Carey and Jo Dodd, who both have first-hand experience creating allergy-friendly dishes at home. Jo’s 6 year-old son had a number of food allergies as a baby which he has since grown out of and Jay’s 12-year-old daughter is awaiting a biopsy to confirm she has coeliac disease. In the meantime, having tested positive for allergens, she is gluten-free.

“We totally get what it’s like to live with allergies,” says Jay. Little wonder then, that these ‘Sugar Sisters’ provide a variety of gluten-free and vegan dishes; in fact any food people want to meet their dietary needs and preferences … dairy-free, meat-free, wheat free, paleo … “We focus on what a person can eat rather than what is restricted, and if we don’t already provide options on our menu we adapt to provide tasty food that everyone in the group can eat.” As well as their catering business and boutique bakery (check out the amazing cakes they create on their website

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gallery), Jo and Jay run the café at the Renouf Tennis Centre in Brooklyn, where you’ll find a tempting array of gluten-free dishes and treats on the menu. You can contact Sugar Sisters (so called because Jo and Jay ended up as neighbours and ‘almost sisters’ after leaving their families behind in the UK 14 years ago) via their website, sugarsistersnz.com, by emailing enquiries@ sugarsistersnz.com, or phone 022 0810924 / 021 1455199. Jo and Jay share one of their most popular glutenfree recipes on page 28.

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CORN & CAPSICUM FRITTERS These deliciously light and tasty fritters are gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, They can also be soy and nut-free if rice milk is used. Serve with a lovely seasonal salad and your favourite chutney. The non-vegetarians in our team like them with bacon; I love some sliced avocado, roasted vine tomatoes and a good squeeze of lemon.

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½ cup chickpea or channa flour ½ cup ground cornmeal flour (we use Healtheries) 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder ¾ tsp salt Pinch of pepper ½ cup rice milk (or alternative non-dairy milk) ½ red capsicum, chopped ½ finely chopped onion 1½ cup corn kernels (frozen work well) 2 tbsp chopped parsley or coriander

1. Sift dry ingredients together. 2. Add vegetables and herbs, then milk to combine. 3. Add more milk if needed, but the mixture should be quite thick and sticky. If the mixture sits for a while you may need to add more of the cornmeal flour. 4. Cook in frying pan with 1cm deep of oil. This may seem like a lot but there is no fat at all in the recipe. The oil needs to be fairly hot before you start or the fritters will stick. Do not attempt to turn until the edges are starting to brown, and you see some bubbles on the wet mix. Turn and cook on the other side. (You may waste a few before you get the hang of it!) 5. Drain on some kitchen roll.

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Cook’s note

This recipe is really adaptable.You can substitute the vegetables and herbs with your favourites. If cheese is allowed in your diet, a great substitution is ¾ cup grated and squeezed zucchini and ¾ cup grated halloumi to replace the 1½ cups corn. Alternatively, your favourite dairy-free cheese could work well to replace the halloumi.

LIVING WELL WITH ALLERGIES At MY REMEDY we know that natural medicine can help you cope better with allergies and sensitivities. We can help with an individualised treatment plan tailored for you. We offer hemaview (live blood screening), food and environmental sensitivity testing, herbal and homeopathic solutions, and natural creams made specifically for you. If you suffer from an allergies or intolerances, why not try a natural approach to allergy management and live well with allergies. Call us to find out how we can help you or visit www.myremedy.co.nz

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LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015 29


Allergy Guide

ADVICE, BENEFITS & CHOICES

Guilt free meets allergy friendly! This new snack from NZ Kettle Korn is the perfect alternative to so many other less healthy snack choices. It contains no added sugar and comes in at less than 40 calories per cup! It is lab certified gluten, soy, dairy and peanut free! It is also 100% all natural and NZ-made. Did we mention vegetarian/vegan friendly? Available at most good supermarkets for a RRP of $3.49 for 132g bag.

Relief for itchy, irritated eyes Clear Eyes™-A is a triple action formula that relieves itching associated with exposure to airborne allergens. Clear Eyes™ – A immediately removes redness while moisturising and soothing irritated eyes. Lubricants prolong relief and improve eye comfort. Clear Eyes™ is a trusted eye care solution that New Zealanders have been using for over 20 years. Available at pharmacies nationwide. www.cleareyes.co.nz

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 www.rugdoctor.co.nz or call 0800 800 245

30 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

Travelling safely with Allergy Cards 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 www.allergycards.net

Children’s Claratyne Grape Chewable Tablets Claratyne is launching a convenient and great-tasting chewable tablet for children in November 2015, right in time for the allergy season. The grape-flavoured chewable tablets are much easier to take than syrups or normal tablets, giving your children relief from allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery, itchy eyes and itchy rash. Available at pharmacies nationwide.

Natural allergy support

Clinicians AllerStop is a unique natural formula that responds rapidly when allergy support is needed. In under 15 minutes, allergy support from indoor and outdoor allergens such as moulds, dust mites, pet dander, grasses and pollens can be achieved with no side effects. AllerStop contains specialised proteins isolated from quail eggs, and was discovered in the 1970s in France, where research allergist Dr G. Bruttmann found a powdered quail egg formula provided natural support for the body’s response to environmental irritants. Available from pharmacies and health food stores. Find us on Facebook and go to Clinicians.co.nz


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USEFUL SNIPPETS We’ve had fun putting together this issue of Living with Allergies and have learnt some interesting facts along the way. Here are some of the things we’ve discovered …

That plants with large, scented and brightly coloured flowers are the best garden choice for allergy sufferers. (It’s all to do with them being bee-pollinated) PAGE 16

That 70–80% of the immune system sits within the digestive system PAGE 22

That sleeping on a bottom bunk isn’t a good idea if you’re allergic to dust mites PAGE 8

That the surface of the eye is called the conjunctiva (hence conjunctivitis)

That introducing solids before 3–4 months of age may increase the risk for eczema and food allergy PAGE 6

PAGE 19

That NZ has one of the highest prevalence rates of allergic disease in the developed world, affecting up to 20% of the population PAGE 2

That asthma kills more than 52 people in NZ every year PAGE 18

That food allergies to mustard are common in France PAGE 3

32 LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2015

That children as young as 14 months can understand that cream relieves the itch of eczema PAGE 12


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LIVING WITH ALLERGIES 7  

Living With Allergies Spring 2015

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