Antibody gives relief from hay fever

Antibody gives relief from hay fever

A clinical trial has shown an artificial antibody to give ‘substantial’ relief to hay fever sufferers.

The trial involved 536 patients aged between 12 and 75 years who were affected by ragweed pollen. The participants were injected with the antibody “omalizumab”*  or a placebo.  Those injected with the antibody had far fewer of the usual symptoms and reported to have less time off work and fewer visits to the doctor as a result relief from hay fever.

Omalizumab is from the family of ‘monoclonal’ antibodies which are a fairly new class of drug. They are being developed for a range of conditions including cancer and organ transplant rejection.

This is one of the first times a monoclonal antibody has been trialed with a chronic, non life-threatening disease.  It will now be interesting to compare omalizumab with standard treatments (such as antihistamines) and to see if it would be effective in  treating asthma.

To read the full article, click here.

*Omalizumab is a monoclonal antibody which blocks the action of a molecule called immunoglobulin E (IgE), the major culprit behind allergic conditions like hayfever. IgE, which is a natural antibody, triggers symptoms like streaming eyes, runny nose, and sneezing because it is key to the inflammatory process.

Children in southern USA at greater risk of hay fever?

Children in southern USA at greater risk of hay fever?

A study is being presented this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). The study has found hay fever to be more prevalent in children living in the south-eastern and southern states of the USA. Is this co-incidence or are children in southern USA at greater risk of hay fever?

More than 18% of children and adolescents have hay fever in the United States, with the highest frequency of sufferers occurring in the southern states. While the reason for this increased percentage in childhood hay fever in these states is unknown, allergist Michael Foggs, MD, ACAAI president elect says that it is “…most likely due to climate factors”.

Environmental influences such as temperature, precipitation and UV index seem to be responsible for the increase in allergy sufferers.

The study found that the states with the lowest number of young hay fever sufferers were Alaska, Montana and Vermont (wetter regions with average humidity).

The AACAI warns that allergens are difficult to avoid, and parents shouldn’t consider moving to help their children find allergy relief. An allergy sufferer may escape one allergen such as ragweed, only to develop sensitivity to a different allergen such as grass, in another location.

Hay fever occurs most commonly in the spring and autumn/fall months but can last year round for some of the 50 million Americans with allergies.

Click here to read this story in full.

There are lots of interesting articles and up to date USA allergy news on the ACAAI website www.acaai.org/ .

Perth hayfever season may be worst for years

Perth hayfever season may be worst for years

According to ABC News Australia, “Weather Conditions are ideal for pollen production”. Bad news for the 20% of Perth’s population who suffer from hay fever.

Health experts have issued warnings to those who suffer from allergies and asthma, as counts soar in Perth, a city with one of the world’s highest spring-summer pollen counts in the world.

Curtin University palynologist Lynne Mille says, “I think the season has started a little bit late but I do think it’s probably going to be quite bad because of the extra rain that we’ve had”.

Plane trees are amongst the most allergenic trees in Perth. They are beautiful but can be a real nuisance for hay fever sufferers during pollination.

Plane trees are amongst the most allergenic trees in Perth. They are beautiful but can be a real nuisance for hay fever sufferers during pollination.

 Common symptoms include; sneezing, watery eyes, itchy roof of the mouth and nasal congestion.

Clinical immunologist Michael O’Sullivan says, “A lot of patients don’t really appreciate just how bad their symptoms are and so a lot of the time they’re actually under-treated”.

Health Experts say that climate change is to blame, resulting in a more allergic environment in Perth.

Click here to read the full article.

Are you living in Perth and experiencing worse than normal symptoms? We would love to hear from you! Email jasmine@haymax.biz and share your Perth hayfever story, for a chance to win a free HayMax Allergen Barrier Balm.

To trap over 1/3 of the pollen before it enters your body, click here to buy HayMax Organic Allergen Barrier Balm. Because we are so friendly, our Australian customers pay the same flat rate postage as our UK customers ($5.88 when last checked on 4/11/13). 3 for 2 offer still available!

Best Product Organic

Best Product Organic

In 2006 HayMax™ became ORGANIC across the entire range.

It was also the year when we launched the new product –HayMax Pure™ and it was voted BEST PRODUCT ORGANIC by the Health Food Institute’s panel of judges. (The Institute is a non-profit organisation devoted to providing high quality training for all health food retailers and their staff; thus raising standards of service to consumers and in turn raising awareness of the potent value of wholefoods. natural products, herbal remedies, and vitamin and mineral supplements).

5 Tips for Moms – How to Take Care of Your Skin This Summer

5 Tips for Moms – How to Take Care of Your Skin This Summer

By Guest Blogger, Cassie Brewer.

For moms, the summer can be an especially busy time. With kids off from school, keeping them busy and entertained – especially on rainy days – can be a challenge, leaving very little time for self-care throughout the season.

Furthermore, the summer and its abundant sunshine can take a toll on one’s skin, which means that it should be tended to throughout the season. To help even the busiest mom do so, we’ve compiled a list of our best tips and tricks to make skincare a cinch and to leave your body feeling soft and smooth.

Take a cold shower

Especially after a day in the sun chasing around kiddos, you probably worked up a sweat. Once you return home, hop in a cold shower to keep your skin smooth and even. The cool water will work to keep skin unoccluded, reducing the chance of a breakout. Warm or hot showers aren’t a good idea after a day in the sun, anyway, as they promote dry skin. Not to mention, taking a cold shower boasts a laundry list of other benefits, too.

Sip some red wine

Who says skincare has to be boring, right? Jazz up your evening or dinner with some red wine and bask in the comfort of knowing it is helping promote your summer glow. Red wine contains resveratrol, which is a naturally occurring phenol found in the skin of red grapes. This substance can decrease redness from acute sunburns and it also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. Bottoms up!

Eat your way to healthy skin

Your diet could have an effect on the health of your summer skin, believe it or not. Fruits like melon are known as one of the best to promote a healthy summer glow, as this snack delivers a unique hydration to the skin and contains antioxidants that can promote radiance. Watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon are all considered in this category. Berries also make the cut as they contain antioxidants and pineapple is known to fight inflammation because it contains bromelain, which will help a sunburn. The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood work with skin cells to regulate oil production, putting that on the top of the list and coconut water’s potassium levels and hydrating properties make it a grocery list must for the summer.

Don’t scratch bug bites

Sunburn and dry skin aren’t the only conditions plaguing your skin over the summer as bug bites are always an unwanted annoyance throughout the season. To remedy a bug bite without scratching them and causing scabbing and even scarring, try using essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil to find some relief from the itching and swelling. Icing the bites can also relieve itching and work to bring down the swelling of the bump by constricting the blood vessels and decreasing the body’s natural histamine release.

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!

When you are in the shower, take advantage of the time to exfoliate your skin as much as possible. This will help to get rid of the dreaded “lizard” scaly skin that can sometimes come from too much time in the sun. To effectively exfoliate, use a cleanser specific to the task (with the exfoliating scrub or beads), a loofah, body brush, or exfoliating gloves, a pumice stone, and lotion (for after the fact). Scrub away, being especially gentle around your face and eyes. A pro tip is to use an electric powered face cleansing brush all over problem areas, as it is a pro at exfoliation. Remember to lather up with lotion after your shower and your body will feel much smoother than it did before.

Even with little ones in tow, summer skincare doesn’t have to be a chore or inconvenience. These simple tips make it easy to maintain that sunkissed glow without any of the annoying side effects. Happy sunning.

Hay Fever… What Works?

Hay Fever… What Works?

I quizzed the HayMax office on their top hay fever know-how. Here’s a roundup!

Q: Summer can mean misery for so many with hay fever, what are the most typical complaints/problems?

Sneezing, itchy and sore watery eyes, a scratchy throat, a bunged up nose and a general feeling of being unwell are all very common for hay fever sufferers.

In some more severe and rarer cases, hay fever can trigger asthma attacks or a nasty skin rash. Those with both asthma and hay fever should take extra care and remember their inhalers. Nothing ruins a summer picnic like a life threatening asthma attack.

Q: It’s too easy to just reach for the antihistamine, what can be done to help minimize the effects without medicine?

Prevention is better than cure. Avoiding the allergen is key with any allergy, and hay fever is no different. Avoiding pollen isn’t always easy but there are lots of simple tips and tricks which can help to minimise symptoms. (By the way- if antihistamines work for you, then they can be a good option, but lots of people are interested in a more natural approach, or find that their antihistamines don’t work very well, or for the whole day…At HayMax we take a holistic approach to allergy management, and don’t dismiss any of the treatments available, many of which are very helpful to people).

  • Keep doors and windows closed during high pollen count days, to prevent pollen from blowing in and settling around your home. In addition to this, beware that pets coming in from the outdoors will be coated in pollen grains, so be sure to groom them regularly (even a quick wet wipe over their fur will help).
  • On high pollen count days dry laundry indoors rather than on a clothes line. Tempting as it is to string up fresh bed linen in the mid-summer breeze, fabric acts as a pollen trap which is then put into wardrobes and onto beds.
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses. They will prevent pollen from blowing into your eyes, and will also help your eyes to relax, as squinting in bright sunlight can make sore eyes feel stressed and ten times more irritated!
  • Apply HayMax allergen barrier balm sparingly to the rim of the nostrils. HayMax has been proven to trap over a third of pollen before it can get into the body and cause a reaction.

Q: How about ideas for easing symptoms once they’ve already started?

If you’re already feeling rubbish, there are plenty of practical things you can do to help yourself feel better.

  • Use a saline rinse (neti pot or saline spray), to clear the nasal passages of pollen which has already entered the body.
  • Wash your face with cold, clean water. This will remove pollen and also cool and sooth sore eyes.
  • A cold compress on the eyes can be soothing.
  • Keep applying HayMax allergen barrier balm to limit extra pollen getting in that may cause further reaction.

Q: Is an air purifier the answer?

  • For hay fever sufferers, an air purifier may be helpful in enclosed areas, but it must have a HEPA filter and be aware that as soon as doors and windows are open, an air purifier may be futile.
  • When in the car, it is certainly beneficial to use the air conditioning rather than opening windows. Most modern cars have pollen filters fitted to the air conditioning. These may need replacing when the car is serviced.

Q: What about diet? Can we avoid certain things to help tackle hay fever?

  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol contains histamine. Histamine is the chemical present in your body that is responsible for your hay fever symptoms.
  • Avoid dairy. Dairy is mucus producing so not ideal for already-snotty hay fever sufferers.
  • Do eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as they are packed with immune system boosting antioxidants and may contribute to an overall feeling of better wellbeing.
  • A quick google search for ‘quercetin rich foods will bring up a long list of foods that are rich in the natural antihistamine. These include red apples, red onions, capers, cherries, berries and leafy green vegetables. It’s also important to eat foods containing bromelain, as this helps the body absorb quercetin. A popular source of bromelain is pineapple.

Q: Can you suggest ways to improve sleep for those with hay fever when it’s hot? Everyone knows that sleeping with windows closed in the summer is just unrealistic.

  • A fresh pillow case daily, or every couple of days will help you to get a good night’s sleep as it will be free from pollen.
  • A shower before bed will wash away pollen that has gathered on your skin and hair during the day.
  • HayMax before bed! An allergen barrier balm like HayMax will trap a proportion of the pollen that blows into your bedroom during the night, before it gets up your nose. As a bonus, HayMax also traps dust mite allergens, which can have hay fever-like effects in those who are allergic.

 

 

Summer Vacation Tips for Staying Safe With Kids

Summer Vacation Tips for Staying Safe With Kids

By Guest Blogger, Cassie Brewer

Summer is the time for lots of outdoor fun, but, according to the 2007 Safe Kids U. S. Summer Safety Ranking Report published by Safe Kids Worldwide, it is also “trauma season.” With school dismissed and kids playing outdoors and in the water, summer is the prime time for injuries and accidents.

The Safe Kids Worldwide report covered numerous years of data regarding accidents and fatalities during the summer, and the findings would make any parent double-check and reevaluate safety measures for typical summer activities. According to the report, more than 2.4 million children under age 14 were seen in the emergency room during the summer of 2004 for “unintentional injuries.” Of those children, more than 2,000 died of injuries sustained from drowning, bicycle accidents, from falls, in motor vehicle accidents or as pedestrians.

No parent can keep their children safe 100 percent of the time. Sometimes accidents happen that we are unable to prevent. However, parents must be vigilant in ensuring that children know key summer safety rules and in providing the tools and safety measures needed to keep kids protected and safe.

summer-kids-1

Water Safety:

During the warm months of summer, most families head for the pool, the beach or the waterpark. But water safety is imperative for a child’s safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “drownings are the leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and three children die every day as a result of drowning.”

Make sure gates to pools are locked so that young children cannot wander into the pool area. If there is a sliding door that leads from a home to the backyard pool, keep it locked with a bolt high enough so a child may not reach it. Kids should never be unsupervised near water.

The CDC advises that parents learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and that children should learn how to swim. Swimming is one of the most important—and lifesaving—skills a child can master.

summer-kids-2

Bike Safety:

Kids love to get on their bikes and ride through the neighborhood with friends or family. Riding a bike is great exercise and a fantastic way for kids to get outside and explore. However, kids must learn the rules of the road, and they need to understand guidelines for street—and bike—safety. Children should always wear a helmet and should never ride alone.

According to Kidshealth.org, children should also wear bright colors or add reflectors to their bike to be more visible to cars…and don’t let children wear headphones while riding!

Riding at night also should be avoided. And, if older kids are allowed to ride in the street, parents should teach the basics of the road…stopping at stop signs, looking both ways and obeying traffic.

summer-kids-3

Falls and Hazards:

Children fall down…it’s the nature of being young and in a hurry. Some falls, though, can be severe. Children who are naturally curious—and crafty climbers—might try scurrying up a tree or a bookcase. While the tree might hold their weight, a bookcase won’t. Teach kids what is safe to climb and what isn’t. Kids should know that climbing up on furniture and television stands, high ladders or other high places are dangerous and can lead to serious injury. In addition, the Mayo Clinic advises parents to lock windows and install gates to block off staircases…and children should be kept from accessing high porches, balconies or fire escapes.

Street Smarts:

Keep kids safe at home and away from the street and oncoming cars by teaching street smarts. Children should look both ways before crossing a street. If a ball rolls into the road, they should have an adult retrieve it. Children should also be instructed not to play in the street or skateboard in the street.

Pets are also part of street smarts. Kids might love fluffy dogs, but they should absolutely not approach a strange dog without asking an owner’s permission…and they also shouldn’t talk to a stranger (with or without a dog)! Children also must be advised to never pet or approach a stray animal.

Summer safety begins at home. Make sure your kids have the tools and knowledge they need to stay safe and to have a summer free from hospitals and emergency rooms.

 

10 Decorating Tips for an Allergy Free Home

10 Decorating Tips for an Allergy Free Home

By Guest Blogger, Cassie Brewer

Spring is the season for sunshine and blooming flowers, but it is also the prime season for allergies. Although outdoor allergens often take the bulk of the blame, indoor factors could actually be the main culprit of your sneezing or itching. One survey found that over half of Americans had some sort of allergy and most of those allergies were to indoor allergens such as dust, mold, and pet dander. Allergens such as dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander could be all over your home causing allergy flare ups for you and your family. Often these particles can be found in common home decors. Consider replacing or throwing out these home decorations that could be flaring up your symptoms:

 

  1. Scented Candles – Many scented candles contain allergy-irritating chemicals that can be released when burning. The chemicals in these scented candles could be a big factor in your indoor allergy attacks. The soot and ash from the candles can also be irritating allergies and also be affecting those with asthma. Consider switching to soy based or beeswax candles with a bamboo wick to reduce chemicals as well as reduce the amount of smoke and ash in your air. Another alternative is to use unscented candles or flameless candles if you are simply looking to use candles as decoration.
  2. Air Fresheners – Just like scented candles, air fresheners, can also release allergy-irritating chemicals into the atmosphere. Instead switch to more natural home fragrance options such as using essential oils and a vaporizer or boiling citrus peels and cinnamon. These natural alternatives smell great and will help ease allergy symptoms as well.
  3. Real FlowersFlowers can help bring some color and life to a home, but often they drag in pollen and other allergens inside. Replace fresh blooms with some synthetic flowers, such as silk flowers, to still get that liveliness for decorating without the sneezing. There are also hypoallergenic varieties of flowers that can help reduce allergy reactions.
  4. Plants – Houseplants have many different benefits such as cleaning your home’s air and helping to put you in a good mood. However, the soil from such plants can also be a breeding ground for mold. If you find yourself sneezing and having difficulty breathing near your house plants they may have mold and you will have to throw them out. Instead, consider buying air plants or water plants that do not need soil to grow.
  5. CarpetCarpet can often hold dust mites and other particles that cause allergies to flare up. Vacuuming carpet regularly can help to reduce reactions; however, the best option is to replace carpet with hardwood floors or tiles. Vacuuming might clean carpet, but it can also bring dust to the surface and into the air in your home.
  6. Pillows– Another place dust mites can often appear are on pillows. If you find you are waking up itchy or with dry skin you might have dust mites in your pillows or bedding. One solution is to use dust mite covers on both your bed pillows and your throw pillows.
  7. Furniture – Although couches are often known to not just be another harbor for dust mites, leather couches can also cause some allergies. Many leather couches use a chemical to prevent fungus from developing. This chemical can sometimes be a skin irritant for some. Consider buying a natural fiber couch that can easily be cleaned.
  8. Fans – Ceiling fans and free standing fans are great for the summer heat, but can easily spread dust and other pollutants to spread through the air in your home. Instead switch to an air conditioner unit or use an air cleaner alongside your fan.
  9. Fireplaces – While wood-burning fireplaces make a great feature in a home, the ash and dirt from actively using a fireplace tend to flare up allergies. Consider using the fireplace as simply a decorative feature in your home and use one an alternative fireplace
  10. Plastic Blinds – Dust tends to collect on plastic blinds, especially as these are close to the window where dirt from the outside can enter. Make the switch from plastic or wood blinds to washable blinds or natural fabric curtains. These alternatives can easily be tossed into the washer when they become too dirty.

 

Home-decorating can be a fun process that turns a house into a home. However, make sure to keep in mind that there are alternatives that can be better for you and your family’s health. Indoor allergies often get overlooked as the culprit for all the sneezing, itching, and irritation. Using some simple alternatives in your home can help reduce your allergies and still have a stylish home.

Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse- Asthma & Rhinitis,

Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse- Asthma & Rhinitis,

Marlene Hochstrasser is the Clinical Director of the Devon Allergy Clinic which was established in 2006. Marlene has kindly provided HayMax readers with some of her expert insight. Check out The Devon Allergy Clinic for lots more helpful information, or to get in touch with Marlene. 

By Marlene Hochstrasser Independent Allergy Nurse RN, Dip Allergy.

The links between asthma and rhinitis are well characterised. The allergic rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines stress the importance of these links and provide guidance for their prevention and treatment. Despite effective treatments being available, too few patients receive appropriate medical care for both diseases.

Most patients with rhinitis and asthma consult primary care physician; therefore, these physicians are encouraged to understand and use ARIA guidelines. Patients should also be informed about these guidelines to raise their awareness of optimal care and increase control of the two related diseases.

 How to Manage This

The goal of ARIA guidelines is to provide recommendations about the best management options for most patients in most situations. Allergy UK, the leading allergy charity states that the following measures can be helpful:

  • Monitor pollen forecasts daily and stay indoors wherever possible when the pollen count is high (generally on warmer, dryer days). Rain washes pollen from the air so counts should be lower on cooler, wetter days
  • Limit time spent in rural areas. Sea breezes blow pollen inland, so escape to the coast instead.
  • Use a saline nasal wash to remove pollens and allergens.

  • On high pollen days, make sure to shower and wash your hair after arriving home and change your clothing as soon as possible.
  • Keep windows closed when indoors. This is most important early in the morning, when pollen is being released. It is also important in the evening when the air cools and pollens that have been carried up into the air begin to fall to ground level again.
  • If you suffer symptoms indoors, a good air filter should help. Choose one that is proven to trap even small particles (see the Allergy UK website for lists of approved air filters). [Link to Air Purifiers]
  • Avoid mowing lawns or raking leaves yourself. If you must perform these tasks, use a filtration face mask.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen allergens out of your eyes.
  • A hat with a peak or large brim can help keep pollens from your eyes and face.
  • Avoid drying washing on an outdoors clothes-line when pollen counts are high.
  • Pollen counts tend to be high along roads with grass verges (dual-carriageways, motorways). Keep car windows closed and the air intake on ‘re-circulate’ when driving.
  • Try to choose a car that is fitted with an effective pollen filter, or get an in-car air filter.
  • Choose hypoallergenic eye make-up, especially mascara.

Hay fever, dust or pet allergy? Back to school tips!

Hay fever, dust or pet allergy? Back to school tips!

By Joey Mills- author of the HayMax ‘Nasal Bloggage’ series!

It’s coming to that wonderful time of year. Your little treasures will soon be unpeeling themselves from the sofa, unsticking their sugary fingers from their iPads and scuttling back to school leaving a trail of half-eaten food and pre-teen angst in their wake. Hurrah! Finally your house can go back to normal rather than looking like an unused set from the Young Ones!

However we all know you love them really, despite the fact your TV has been set to Tracey Beaker for six weeks. They might be mercifully out of sight upon their return to education but they’ll never be out of mind. Especially if your children suffer from allergies. HayMax have got some top tips for managing your child’s allergies now you can’t be with them 24/7.

Talk To Their Teachers

Now I know what you are thinking. You didn’t even like doing this when you were at school. You’re having visions of sitting down in one of all those all-in-one desk/chair hybrids and being told that “the bell is a signal for me and not you” It may shock you to find out that through adult eyes teachers are just people like you and me. Sitting down with your child’s tutor and informing them of your child’s needs will give you a greater piece of mind when your little ones are on school grounds. Just make sure you aren’t chewing or you might be sent to the head teacher.

Make Sure Your Child Gets Rest

Sleep is vital for all of us, especially a child. But getting a good night’s rest is not easy when allergens attack. To keep your children vibrant and alert for their studies, make sure to create a dust-free environment particularly in their bedroom. We all had our treasured soft toy as a child (some of us still do. What? It’s completely normal!), and it can be hard to ever part your child from their fluffy companion. However cuddly toys can be a magnet for dust so while your kids are at school it makes sense to wash them a few times a week. Curtains, tables, bedsheets and furniture are also all possible dust sites so their room will needs a proper going over often.

Check The Pollen Count

It is crucial to know what you’ll be up against when gauging how severe your child’s allergies can affect them on any given day. The pollen count is available daily during the weather forecast or, if your child won’t tear themselves away from Dora The Explorer (kids still watch that right?) long enough you can find them online or in the newspaper. For when the pollen count is high try some HayMax to put your mind at ease. (Some sufferers are allergic to the nettle, dock and other weed pollen varieties which are prevalent in the autumn months).

Get Into A Routine

Not always easy with all the variables life can throw at you. But try and come up with a routine for those days when Amelia doesn’t want to go to school in her Elsa outfit and Harrison hasn’t superglued himself to the kitchen table. Always make sure to have the right medication in the house, and ensure it is non-drowsy because children don’t need any more provocation to fall asleep during lessons. Try and help your children to consider their allergies part of normal daily life, and not something that becomes a drag.

Communication

Childhood is a confusing enough time, with little boys wondering when their trial for Manchester United is going to be and little girls wondering why Justin Bieber hasn’t proposed yet. Don’t let allergies add to an emotionally charged time. Explain the steps you are taking to help them to your child and involve them in the process. The joy of children is they can turn almost anything into a fun creative game so let them be as involved in the fight against allergens as possible. You might just surprise yourself and end up having a little fun yourself. Isn’t that what parenthood is all about?