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Allergies LIVING WITH

SPRING 2017

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LIVING WITH ALLERGIES PUBLISHER Published by Hawkhurst Media Services Ltd PO Box 25679, St Heliers, Auckland 1740 Director: Kerry McKenzie 09 528 7103 or 0275 969 979

CONTENTS

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES SPRING 2017

ADVERTISING Advertising Sales: Debbie Bishop 021 340 360 debbie@livingwithallergies.co.nz

ANAPHYLAXIS

BUY A MAGAZINE Visit our website www.livingwithallergies.co.nz 09 528 7103 info@livingwithallergies.co.nz G www.facebook.com/ livingwithallergiesmagazine/

HAY FEVER

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

2 In Case of Emergency

4 Spring-time Survival

18

HEALTHY HOMES 12 Clearing the Air

ECZEMA 14 S  oothing the Itch

HEAD LICE 18 Dealing With Nits

NUTRITION KNOW-HOW ISSN: 2324-2213

24 F  ood Swap

ASTHMA 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.

28 B  reathe Better

ALLERGY SPECIALISTS 32 Expert Advice

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.

12

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

GIVEAWAYS! Look out for our two great reader giveaways. See inside for details on how to enter or go to www.livingwithallergies.co.nz


anaphylaxis

In Case of Emergency Anaphylaxis … it’s a word that strikes fear in our hearts. But what exactly is it and what do you need to know to keep yourself safe?

A

naphylaxis is the name given to the potentially lifethreatening reaction that can occur when someone is allergic to bees, shellfish, peanuts or a number of other allergens. Symptoms typically occur within 30

minutes of exposure, often within five minutes, and usually develop rapidly. Not everyone affected by anaphylaxis will react in the same way, but common symptoms include hives, itching, flushing and swelling of the lips, tongue and roof of the mouth. The airway is often affected, resulting in tightness of the throat, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. These lifethreatening allergic reactions can also be accompanied by chest pain, low blood pressure, dizziness and headaches.

It’s serious stuff, which is why, if you’re at risk of a severe allergic reaction, your number one priority should be avoiding your known allergens as best you can. You should be prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector, such as EpiPen®, and shown how to use it. You will also need an anaphylaxis management plan from your doctor or allergy specialist which outlines mild, moderate and severe symptoms and exactly what to do when each of these develop.

“ Enrol with MedicAlert® today 0800 840 111 | www.medicalert.co.nz

2 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017

When my children are out and about MedicAlert® gives me peace of mind knowing that if something were to happen, they would be taken care of.


Act Fast It is important to act fast if you think your symptoms are serious, or are becoming serious. Administer adrenaline without delay and dial 111 immediately. You will need to get to hospital as soon as possible. • If you are prescribed adrenalin (e.g. an EpiPen®), always carry it with you and know how to use it. • Talk about your allergy with family, friends and colleagues and make sure they know how to administer your adrenalin, and when. • If you are allergic to insect stings, talk to your doctor about allergen-specific immunotherapy, or desensitisation. • Wear a MedicAlert bracelet at all times.

Reduction in EpiPen® Injection Time A reduction in the injection time for EpiPen®s from 10 to 3 seconds has recently been approved for New Zealand. All EpiPen®s should now be held in place for 3-seconds, regardless of the instruction on the label. EpiPen®s with the 10 second label can continue to be used and should not be replaced unless they have been used, are just about to expire or have expired. EpiPen® and EpiPen®Jr adrenaline (epinephrine) auto-injectors with the 3-second label will start to enter pharmacies over the next few months. You may have heard of the term ‘anaphylactic shock,’ which occurs when there is inadequate blood flow to critical organs of the body during a life-threatening allergic reaction. Although many people use this term interchangeably with ‘anaphylaxis’, this is incorrect. Shock can be just one of the many signs of a life-threatening allergic reaction. A person may not even experience shock during anaphylaxis; in fact, according to a 10-year study, more than half of all patients showed no signs of shock during anaphylaxis.

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2017 3


hay fever

Spring-time

Survival Spring, it’s the season of promise. With winter behind us we can start to look forward to longer days and better weather. But for the 20% of New Zealanders who suffer from hay fever, spring can signal the start of months of sneezing, itchy eyes and a streaming nose. So what’s the best way to cope?

4 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017


H

ay fever is a term used for allergic rhinoconjunctivitis occurring in spring and summer. As the name suggests, it is principally caused by grasses, although tree pollen can contribute a little, for a few weeks in late August. Unfortunately you don’t need to be around grass to get hay fever. Grass pollen can be blown on the wind for hundreds of kilometres, which means that even if you live in an apartment in the centre of Auckland, and suffer from hayfever, grass will still be the culprit! Some of the symptoms of hay fever include sneezing; a runny or stuffy nose; itchy ears, nose and throat; red, itchy or watery eyes; and headaches. For some people, the symptoms of hay fever can be so severe they can’t sleep or concentrate, and they may feel tired and unwell. So what to do? Many people go to a pharmacy when they have symptoms and take whatever is recommended on an as required basis, which is fine, if you only have occasional or mild symptoms, says Immunologist and Allergy Specialist Dr Andrew Baker. If you suffer from moderate or quite frequent symptoms, though, Dr Baker recommends the following strategies:

1

Consider an ongoing treatment plan. In other words, use some treatment at the start of every day from September to February, in a proactive preventative approach. “This is much more effective than trying to rescue the situation once you’re plagued by symptoms.”

2

Use a steroid nasal spray regularly. Brands such as Flixonase are used as a local treatment, to help both the nose and the eyes, with minimal absorption (1%) into the rest of the body. Quality of life can be transformed if a steroid nasal spray is used daily during spring and summer. Steroid sprays are slow to start working so don’t expect to feel better straight away. Dr Baker advises using it daily from September to February, and then deciding at the end of the season whether it helped or not.

3

Seek evidence-based advice. Make an appointment to see a specialist health professional, such as an Immunologist. “The number of people who are given substandard advice is unfortunately very high,” says Dr Baker. “Frequently, the details of how treatment is administered makes all the difference to getting your quality of life back.”

4

Consider desensitisation (see page 6). Also known as immunotherapy, or allergen immunotherapy, desensitisation is the best treatment for hay fever (and for all forms of rhinitis, such as dustmite or pet allergies). The only treatment that can decrease the underlying allergic tendency, the effects of desensitisation can be lifechanging in terms of quality of life. There are different forms of desensitisation, including daily tablets or liquid taken under the tongue, and monthly injections. All treatments run for 3-5 years, and the benefits continue for a number of years after the treatment finishes.

5

Plan ahead. Take antihistamines before big exposures to grass pollen, for example if you’re planning a walk in the country on a windy day in November. Cetirizine tends to be more effective than loratadine, but cetirizine can make around 10% of people drowsy. Also, keep the car air intake vents on recycle on peak hay fever days, such as windy days in October, November and December. Dr Andrew Baker is an Immunologist and Allergy Specialist at Waitemata Allergy Clinic on Auckland’s North Shore (www. allergyspecialistdoctor.co.nz).

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2017 5


hay fever

What is desensitisation? Described by medical experts as the most effective long term treatment for hay fever, desensitisation exposes a person to small amounts of the allergen in gradually increasing amounts. The immune system adjusts to this and as it does a person becomes gradually less allergic. Provided the diagnosis is correct, 85% of people improve with desensitisation. The average improvement in symptoms is by 50%, with decreased medication use by 80%.

GIVEAWAY

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6 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017


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hay fever

AVOIDING ALLERGENS While allergens can be difficult to avoid, here are some suggestions that may help if you suffer from hay fever: •

Consider staying inside when the pollen count forecast is high, on windy days or after thunderstorms

Select plants for your garden that are pollinated by birds or insects, rather than plants that release their seeds into the air

Avoid mowing the lawn, raking leaves or having an open compost heap

Splash your eyes with cold water or shower after any activities that have exposed you to a lot of pollen

Rub petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) inside your nose to stop the pollen from coming into contact with the lining of your nose.

See www.healthnavigator.org.nz for more tips on managing hay fever

8 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017


Build your immunity and help yourself ease the symptoms of hayfever!

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Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your doctor/healthcare professional.

For more information Telephone 0800 897 969 or go to www.martinandpleasance.com


hay fever

Creating an Allergy-friendly

GARDEN

S

pring-time … and the garden is calling. But gardens aren’t always the happiest of places for allergy sufferers. Asthma, hay fever, contact dermatitis, and rashes can all be triggered by the most benevolent looking plants. Happily though, with a bit of know-how, you can create an allergy-friendly garden everyone can enjoy.

2

4

5

With thanks to Landscape Architect Janet Luke from Green Urban Living www.greenurbanliving.co.nz.

10 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017

FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT, THE SECRET GARDEN

FIVE TOP TIPS 1 Avoid planting trees and shrubs that have small, pale

3

Trees to avoid at all costs include wattles, ashes, elms, oaks, maples, pine, privet, willow and the large growing poplar or cottonwood.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?” ...“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”

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. On the flower front, choose flowers that are large, scented and brightly coloured. These plants tend to be beepollinated – 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.


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Clearing

THE AIR With most urban dwellers spending around 90% of their time indoors, indoor air quality is becoming increasingly recognised as a contributing factor in health.

A

ir pollution is something we tend to associate with smog and exhaust fumes in big cities, but the reality is the air inside our homes, offices, and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, indoor air quality can often be two to five times worse than outdoors. Pollutants find their way into our homes in all sorts of ways and include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), emitted from traditional solvent borne paints, cleaning products, building materials, furnishings and the like; and microbiological contaminants, such as fungi and bacteria, which thrive in damp environments. Did you know? Tea Tree Oil vapour has been found to break down the cellular walls of the fungal black mould spore, E-coli and Golden Staph.

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

12 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017


8 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Choose low or no VOC waterborne paints. AS

TH

MA COUNC

Insulate and heat your home. Steer clear of un-flued gas heaters, particularly LPG portable gas heaters. Avoid drying clothes inside.

Keep your lungs healthy with Clean Fresh Air.

Find out more at cleanfreshair.co.nz

Install extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom to remove moisture generated by cooking and showering.

IL

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H

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Don’t use aerosols such as deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, and air fresheners.

ST

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®

AU

7

Open windows regularly to reduce moisture build-up and banish indoor air pollutants.

T

6

Houseplants such as spider plants and peace lilies act as living air purifiers, so bring nature indoors. (If you have children or pets, make sure the plants aren’t poisonous if eaten, and don’t overwater them.)

AS

4 5

with Resene Kitchen & Bathroom

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Make your home smoke-free. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and research shows that secondhand smoke increases a child's risk of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma, cancer, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

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Come in and see us for help with your decorating project.

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

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2017 13


eczema

Soothing the Summertime

ITCH

The warmer weather and increased exposure to UV light can bring welcome relief to some eczema sufferers. But for others, rising temperatures can herald a worsening of symptoms.

S

ummer can be both a good and a bad time for eczema, says Dermatologist Dr Steve Helander. “Many patients do benefit from some careful sun exposure and relaxation during time at the beach. “However the eczema may get worse due to heat, sweating and tight clothing or due to exercise in hot conditions over summer. Also with such sensitive skin, it is possible to react to sunblock.” Excessive sweating and then over-washing the skin afterwards, can also aggravate the eczema by drying the skin, he says. “And occasionally eczema may be aggravated directly by sun exposure, in which case it often appears on areas directly exposed to the sun, for example the face and upper chest.”

14 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017

THINGS YOU CAN DO To alleviate discomfort during the summer months: • Dress in cotton clothing; avoid wool or synthetics. “Loose cool clothing can certainly help.” • Using plenty of moisturiser is essential, particularly if you are washing more often. Using a soap substitute will also help. • Using low irritancy sunblock, such as the type that contains only titanium dioxide, rather than the chemical products may be helpful.

See p16 for 5 Top Tips >>


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eczema

5 1 2 3 4 5

TOP TIPS FOR SOOTHING THE SUMMERTIME ITCH Use plenty of moisturiser, even when your eczema has settled down. Avoid over-washing the skin. Some careful sun exposure will probably help with controlling your eczema. Don’t be afraid to use topical steroids as directed. Only a minority of people benefit from dietary restriction so make sure all the basic, simple treatments are in place before you pursue this option.

Dermatologist Dr Steve Helander runs a medical practice in Ponsonby, Auckland (All Saints Centre). Phone (09) 360 0432.

GIVEAWAY

Did you know that most nail polishes contain a long list of toxic chemicals? Kester Black brand nail polish is “10-Free” – eliminating the big nasties (formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene and don’t contain parabens, fragrances, phthalates, and animal ingredients) associated with allergic reactions. You can buy Kester Black nail polish and skin care range from Mooma.co.nz. We have three 3-packs of Kester Black 10-Free™ nail polish to give away, each pack valued at $69.00. Enter online at www.livingwithallergies.co.nz or email giveaways@livingwithallergies.co.nz with KESTERBLACK in the subject line. Entries close 30 November 2017.

16 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017


head lice

DEALING WITH NITS 18 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017


Nits, head lice, kutus, cooties … whatever you want to call them, these little biters are the bane of parents’ lives. Many of us have spent a small fortune trying to find ‘the cure’, and more hours than we can count combing and cajoling, hoping we’ll manage to banish these mites once and for all.

A

nnoying? Yes! But harmful? Thankfully, no. Head lice (pediculus humanus capitis) don't transmit disease-causing pathogens and the irritation caused by their bites is rarely a serious health concern. Still, we want to get rid of them, or better still, avoid them altogether. But how? While girls are more susceptible than boys to head lice (staring at a small screen side by side certainly doesn’t help), any head with hair is fair game. Unless you stop your child having any head to head contact, you can’t prevent head lice.

continues on page 20 >> LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2017 19


head lice DID YOU KNOW? Although many people call head lice ‘nits’, nits are actually the white empty egg cases that are left firmly attached to the side of hair shafts by a gluelike substance, after the egg hatches. Unhatched eggs are brown.

But there are a number of things you can do to minimise the likelihood of them getting nits. • If your child has long hair, tie it back or plait it. • Short hair is easier to check than long hair, and is less likely to get infested, so consider a trip to the hairdresser. • Discourage your child from playing with friends’ hair and from sharing brushes, combs, hats, bike helmets, pillows and other items that come in contact with hair. • Despite popular belief, brushing doesn’t help prevent head lice. But if you’re brushing your child’s hair regularly you’re more likely to spot them. • Thoroughly check your child’s hair at least once a week particularly if you’re aware of an outbreak at school or preschool. If you catch an infestation early on, it’s much easier to treat.

How will I know if my child has head lice? Frequent, intense itching can be a clue, but it's not a reliable indicator because not all infected children get itchy and lots of kids scratch their heads when they don't have nits. Scratching can lead to broken skin and secondary infection, such as swollen glands, so watch for that too. You might find small, red bites behind the ears and on the nape of the neck, or if your eyesight is really sharp, peppery dustlike droppings on your child’s pillow. But the only way you’ll really know your child has lice is by finding one.

20 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017

What do I do if my child has nits? There is a range of treatments available, some containing chemicals; others based on natural ingredients such as essential oils. Many come with a nit comb and/ or shower cap. Ask other parents what works for them, and talk to your pharmacist for advice. Let them know if your child has eczema, asthma or a weakened immune system or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Chemical treatments shouldn’t be used to treat or by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or to treat infants under six months. Your other option is to use the ‘wet comb’ method (see page 22). While time-consuming, this method is cheap, chemical-free, and if you follow up as recommended, it’s highly effective.

continues on page 22 >>


Beat Head Lice Today!

Kills lice & eggs in 15 minutes No combing required Odourless

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head lice

Getting rid of head lice WITH THE WET-COMB METHOD Set your child up in front of the TV, a DVD or computer game; something that will keep them happy and still(ish) for at least 30 minutes. You’ll need good light, either outside, by a window, under a good lamp, or use a head torch.

1

Apply a palecoloured hair conditioner to your child's hair (about three times as much as usual). Their hair can be dry or wet (eg after a shower or bath); it doesn’t matter. The conditioner will clog up the breathing apparatus and stun the head lice for about 20 minutes.

2

After getting all the tangles out with a normal comb, divide the hair into sections (using big ‘hairdresser’ clips on long hair makes this easier) and begin combing the hair with a nit comb. Comb from the scalp to the end of the hair, wiping the nit comb on a paper towel as you go. You need to be precise – think of a hairdresser applying colour. Metal combs work best, although some parents find plastic combs tug less. Keep going until you don’t find any more head lice. If you are thorough, you should be able to remove all the lice and many of the eggs. (In most infestations there are usually about a dozen or so lice, but there can be hundreds of eggs.)

3

4 5

Rinse the conditioner out.

The next step is absolutely crucial. As you won’t be able to remove all the eggs, you must repeat the process within the following 7-10 days to remove any lice that hatch. You want to do this before they have a chance to lay any eggs. Remember to treat every infected person in your house at the same time and let your child’s school or preschool know, as well as anyone your child has been in contact with. Keeping quiet will only exacerbate the problem.

6

Good luck!

REMEMBER Treat every infected person in your house at the same time and let your child’s school or preschool know

22 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017


5 head lice myths 1. Head lice can jump Thankfully, no, and they can’t fly either. They move by crawling, which is why direct headto-head contact, such as kids putting their heads together while staring at an I-pad, is the most common way for lice to spread.

ELIMINATE HEADLICE

2. Head lice prefer dirty hair Lice aren’t fussy – they don’t mind if hair is clean or dirty, as long as it’s attached to a scalp!

3. You can get head lice from animals You can’t catch lice from animals and your pets have nothing to fear from you either – they can’t catch lice from humans.

4. To kill head lice, you have to go on a cleaning rampage

5. Children with head lice should be isolated This isn’t necessary. Because lice are most frequently spread through head-to-head contact, transmission can be prevented by taking simple precautions such as not sharing personal items like hairbrushes and pillows, and avoiding close contact. And of course, starting treatment.

LICENER – Single Treatment, is a superior safe and easy-to-use headlice shampoo that eliminates head lice and their eggs in just one single application. The product is based on natural Neem-extract from the Neem tree and has a proven mechanical mode of action that eliminates head lice and eggs in one application of 10 minutes. Licener consists of a 100% effective, insecticide free, non-toxic mild shampoo that is not flammable. It is very easy to use; no washing or combing needed and is suitable for both adults and children from 2 years and older. Licener is only available in pharmacies. Distributed by

Auckland

TAPS PP9957

Years ago the recommendation was to stuff all your child’s belongings in plastic bags, and put them in a freezer or leave them in the bags for several weeks. We know now that this is definitely overkill because head lice don’t survive very long away from their human host. All you need to do is vacuum any items you think your child may have rested her head on, wash their bed linen and towels with hot water and put them in a hot dryer to kill any critters that are stubbornly hanging around.

LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2017 23


nutrition know-how

FOOD SWAP If you’re dairy or gluten free and worried you might be missing out on vital nutrients. Registered Dietitian Sarah Elliott has some nutrient-rich alternatives.

Going Dairy Free Because Kiwis typically obtain the majority of their calcium from dairy products, not eating dairy can leave us vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies. Fortunately there are many great milk alternatives on the market, including calcium fortified almond milk, soy milk, rice milk and oat milk. Two other foods that can compete with dairy’s high calcium levels are firm tofu and canned fish with bones, such as sardines or salmon. Many other foods have smaller amounts of calcium, and are important to include in your diet. These include kale, broccoli, almonds, Chinese cabbage, oranges, rhubarb, tahini and fortified cereals.

24 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017

ON A BUDGET? Try making your own almond milk. We found loads of recipes and methods online. Give it a go!


Going Gluten Free When it comes to nutrients we’re most at risk of being deficient in when eliminating gluten from our diet, fibre would have to be top of the list. This is because wholegrain bread, cereal and crackers are easy sources of fibre and many gluten free products are made from low fibre alternatives such as potato starch, maize starch and white rice flour. Iron is another important nutrient to be aware of as around 40% of our iron comes from wholegrains. Wholegrains also provide B vitamins such as thiamine (vitamin B1) and folate. Replace gluten-containing grains with good alternatives such as quinoa or buckwheat and, where possible, choose wholegrain options such as brown rice and grainy gluten free bread. If you don't have to follow a strict lifelong gluten free diet, experiment to find your personal tolerance level.

Sarah’s Top 3 Gluten Free Tips 1.

Learn to love legumes and lentils as they’re full of fibre, B vitamins and iron.

2.

Experiment with different grains to find ones you enjoy.

3.

Play around with home baking. You can use brown rice flour, mashed banana, nut flours and ground flaxseed to boost the fibre and nutrients. Keep some in the freezer as quick on-the-go snacks.

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 www.organix.co.nz LIVING WITH ALLERGIES Spring 2017 25


nutrition know-how We All Need D Alongside calcium, Vitamin D is another key nutrient in bone health. It is also important for a healthy immune system, regulating cell growth and in reducing inflammation. Our skin produces up to 80% of our vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but this is reduced when we heed much-needed sun smart messages. In those not getting enough ‘healthy’ sun exposure, dairy products – or good alternatives – are important. Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are the richest dietary source of vitamin D. Other foods containing vitamin D include eggs and lean meat, and some dairy free margarines, milks and yoghurts are vitamin D-fortified.

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Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are the richest dietary source of Vitamin D

Sarah Elliott is a Nutrition Consultant & Registered Dietitian with FoodSavvy, specialising in the dietary management of digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Having previously worked as the Immunology Dietitian at Wellington Regional Hospital, she is also skilled in the management of food allergies and intolerances. See www.foodsavvy.co.nz for more info.


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asthma

Breathe Better September is back For most of us, breathing is something we don’t have to think twice about. But for the one-insix New Zealanders living with a respiratory condition, being able to breathe properly is far from reality. Breathe Better September is a national movement for people to show their support for better breathing and healthy lungs. This month the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation is calling for Kiwis to take up the ‘healthy lungs challenge’, which involves doing something towards keeping lungs active and healthy. This could be setting a goal for exercise, meditation, eating healthily or quitting smoking.

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DO YOU HAVE ASTHMA? In New Zealand over 521,000 people take medication for asthma – one in nine adults and one in seven children. Follow this handy checklist from the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ to help reduce your asthma symptoms.

KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS Triggers may be: • • • • • •

Stress and/or anxiety Exercise Colds and flu Change of environment Animals Mould spores

MEDICATION • Make sure inhalers aren’t empty or out of date • Take medication as prescribed • Use a spacer if your inhaler allows it • Ensure you always carry your reliever inhaler • Check inhaler technique with a doctor or nurse • If using reliever inhaler two or more times a week, see your doctor

KEEP ACTIVE • Ask your doctor if you need to use your reliever inhaler before activity • Sports which allow you to stop and start such as walking, cycling, yoga or team sports are great for people with asthma

REDUCE EXPOSURE TO GERMS • Wash hands with soap • Use hand sanitizer • Try to avoid people with colds or flu

ENVIRONMENT • Keep your home as dry and warm as possible. • The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C • Be smokefree

DIET • Eat foods that are full of nutrients like fruits, vegetables and wholegrains • Try to avoid fast foods, processed meat and white bread

GET VACCINATED • Get a flu vaccination every year • The flu vaccine is free for people with asthma and on regular preventative therapy

ASTHMA ACTION PLAN A plan helps to identify what to do when you’re well, unwell or need help in an emergency • Have an up-to-date asthma action plan • Download the ‘My Asthma’ app which has an electronic version of an asthma action plan that you can fill out with your doctor

Find out more at breathebetterseptember.co.nz.

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asthma

DID YOU KNOW? Over 700,000 New Zealanders have a respiratory condition. It’s the third leading cause of death and costs the country $6 billion each year. Respiratory disease accounts for one in 10 hospital stays and includes asthma, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea.

“A sign your asthma is out of control is if you’re using your reliever inhaler two or more times a week. If you are in that situation please see your doctor to discuss starting a preventer inhaler.” Dr Lily Fraser, GP, Turuki Health Centre

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allergy advice

WHAT’S UP DOC?

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Whether you opt to go through the public health system or via a private clinic, a visit to an allergy specialist can be invaluable. As experts in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, these specialists provide accurate testing, diagnosis and allergy management advice.

Go to our website to make an appointment at our Wellington Clinic!

f you decide to access an allergy specialist (aka immunologist or allergist) through the public system, it won’t cost you anything, but you will need a referral from your GP, emergency department or other specialist, and usually you’ll have to wait for an appointment. The Auckland District Health Board advises its average waiting time for a routine outpatient appointment is 3-4 months. More urgent patients may expect a wait of 1-2 months and they can make even more urgent appointments for exceptional cases. If you choose to see a private specialist, waiting times are likely to be shorter and you won’t need a referral letter, although having one can save you time – and money – during your initial consultation. Conditions diagnosed and treated by allergy specialists include eczema, allergic rhinitis (hayfever), asthma, food allergies and intolerances, dust mite allergies, bee and wasp allergies, urticaria (hives), allergic contact dermatitis, anaphylaxis, angioedema and drug allergies. Investigations and treatments offered vary from clinic to clinic but may include allergy skin prick tests, blood tests, patch tests, desensitisation, elimination diets, dietitian referral, education on allergy avoidance, drug therapy and the provision of allergic reaction plans. Some immunologists specialise in the management of childhood allergies.

wadestownallergy.co.nz 104a Wadestown Rd ph 04 473 7248 l f 04 04 473 4564 reception@wadestownmedical.co.nz

32 LIVING WITH ALLLERGIES Spring 2017

To find an allergy specialist near you, talk to your GP, check out Allergy New Zealand’s website www.allergy.org.nz or google ‘Allergy Specialist NZ’.


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USEFUL SNIPPETS

We’ve enjoyed putting together this issue of Living with Allergies and have learnt some interesting things in the process. Here are some of them …

That in New Zealand, over 521,000 people take medication for asthma – one in nine adults and one in seven children. PAGE 28

That provided the diagnosis is correct, 85% of hayfever sufferers improve with desensitisation. PAGE 4

That only a minority of people with eczema benefit from dietary restriction, which is why doctors recommend making sure all the basic, simple treatments are in place before pursuing this option. PAGE 14

That oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are the richest dietary source of vitamin D. PAGE 24

That head lice (thankfully) can’t jump. PAGE 18

That houseplants such as spider plants and peace lilies act as living air purifiers. PAGE 12

That symptoms of anaphylaxis typically occur within 30 minutes of exposure, often within five minutes. PAGE 2


LIVING WITH ALLERGIES 11  

LWA Spring 2017

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