Aug
29
2014

How Much Do You Know About Anaphylaxis?

Take This Quiz to Find Out

How Much Do You Know About Anaphylaxis?

Can exercise cause anaphylaxis? Take this quiz to find out how much you know about anaphylaxis.

If there's anything I know about food allergies, it's that there's always something new to learn about food allergies. Even researching and reading about them daily doesn't always mean I'm in the know. One study comes out and contradicts the last, one professional speaks out against something another has said, people have experiences that fall outside the norms . . . allergies are tricky things, and anaphylaxis is as hard to fully understand as it is scary.

Allerject™ has posted this anaphylaxis facts quiz that I encourage you to take and share with your friends, whether they deal with food allergies or not. Because the best way to help others understand what we go through is by sharing the facts with them!

Help advocate for food allergy awareness by sharing this quick quiz.

Allergy Quiz (English)
Jeu-Questionnaire Sur Les Allergies (Francais)

With the school year almost upon us, now is the best time to start the conversation with your friends, family, teachers, and school administrators to help build allergy awareness and understanding!

Did you know that food allergies can happen at ANY time in your life? Read about these allergy myths to learn even more.

 

Aug
28
2014

5 Tips For Managing Your Child's Seasonal Allergies

How To Deal With The Boogies During Allergy Season

5 Tips For Managing Your Child's Seasonal Allergies

5 Tips For Managing Your Child's Seasonal Allergies

THE POLLEN IS COMING! THE POLLEN IS COMING!

Dun-dun-dunnnnnnnn...allergy season is once again upon us, folks, and you know what that means? Sneezing, and lots of it. If your kid suffers from environmental allergies, you might have noticed their symptoms flaring up again recently. Blame the ragweed. It's everywhere, and it's a really bad time of year for allergies!

My son is allergic to a bunch of different grass and tree pollens, so from now through October, his poor little nose will be sneezed out and rubbed raw. We do take extra care to lessen his allergic symptoms, and I have compiled some of the most effective tricks we've learned.

1. Build Up Defenses Before Allergy Season

There are allergy shots doctors can give to ward off seasonal allergies, and there are allergy pills, too. Start before the pollen hits to build up the antihistamines in the body and help defend against those awful allergy symptoms. Speak to your doctor before giving them a try — and keep in mind that different medications are good for different allergies so it may take a few tries to find the one that works best for your kiddo.

2. Clean Your Home Regularly

Keeping your home allergen-free goes a long way to helping kids manage their seasonal allergy symptoms, too. If they're being hit with allergens on all fronts, it's pretty difficult to feel good anywhere this time of year, so make sure you're dusting and vacuuming (with a HEPA filter) regularly. Dust with a damp cloth to avoid sending all those allergens back into the air, and keep windows closed whenever possible.

3. Go Gentle on the Nose

When noses are runny, they can see a lot of rubbing and wiping action, leading to chafed, sensitive skin. Avoid this by using gentle saline wipes like Boogie Wipes. Saline wipes are easier on wee noses, and they wipe away hard-to-remove boogies off those little faces, keeping them clean and germ-free. They are perfect for wiping away boogies caused by the common cold, allergies, or otherwise booger-filled kid moments. We've been using them since my son was born, and we absolutely love them.

They are also great to pack in the kids' backpacks because they're easy for them to use at school. Boogie Wipes are recommended by pediatricians as a gentle, effective alternative to a dry tissue. Take it from me, your kids' noses will thank you!

4. Bathe Your Child Every Night

I wouldn't normally suggest bathing a kid every night (does anyone remember the last time my kids had a bath, by the way? Oops...) but for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, this is so important! When outside, all those pollens and spores floating through the air that cause allergy symptoms get lodged in hair, on skin and in clothing. By rinsing them away every night, it ensures kids aren't sleeping in allergens, making every night's sleep that much better.

5. Flush Out the Allergens

Studies have demonstrated that not only is a saline rinse like Boogie Mist effective, it's also a really great way to combat many sinus issues (and also helps to minimize antibiotic resistance!). The nose is designed to filter things out, so you can imagine the pollen and spores that get caught in there, right?

Then when the body reacts, the mucous thickens, making it a miserable combination of itchy and plugged — no fun. Boogie Mist is new to Canada, so if you don't see it on your pharmacy shelves now, it'll be there soon! It's a simple, pain-free way to increase moisture in the nasal cavity, loosening any crusties, and thinning out that mucous, helping kids rid their sinuses of the dreaded boogies. For the ultimate boogie-busting routine, flush out the nose with Boogie Mist and follow up with gentle Boogie Wipes.

Do you have any tried and true tips for managing seasonal allergies? I'd love to hear them!

Take a minute to boogie on over to the Boogie Wipes Canada Facebook page and click on “Like.”

Once you do you’ll be able to enter their fun Facebook giveaways, get cute craft ideas, and laugh out loud at parenting moments we can all relate to!

Aug
28
2014

Bacteria May Be A Key To Fighting Food Allergies

Yet Another Reason to "Go With Your Gut"

Bacteria May Be A Key To Fighting Food Allergies

Could food allergies be prevented with this bacteria?

My son was born with a terrible rash. So bad, in fact, that the insensitive nurses referred to him as, "The baby with the face." Of course, at birth we had no idea what we were in for, and I didn't realize that food was to blame.

At one month old, the rash wasn't getting any better and I started to suspect food allergies, but when we inquired with various doctors, they said that was impossible. He just had eczema, period. We were sent to a dermatologist who, quite literally, laughed when I suggested it may be food-related, as he wrote a prescription for cortisone creams. 

The rashes would get so bad that he'd claw at his tender skin, leading to infections and worse rashes. It was heartbreaking to know he was so uncomfortable. I finally asked my naturopathic doctor for her suggestions, and mentioned that I felt like an elimination diet was a good idea. She totally agreed, and also suggested we start boosting Mason's gut health with some probiotics.

We tried every cream there was to try. Nothing made much of a difference, because the root of Mason's problem wasn't on the surface of his skin, it was in his gut, inside his struggling immune system, or buried somewhere else inside him.

When Mason had chocolate smeared on his face, this was his reaction. He hadn't even eaten it. How could this not be related to the food somehow? 

When we started to see dramatic improvements in his skin (with the use of probiotics and an elimination diet in place), I knew it was food related. After struggling on our own for months, we finally saw an allergist when he was nine months of age. Food introduction had been rocky for us, since I felt that Mason was allergic to so many things—he ate very limited "solids" and was almost exclusively breastfed for his first year of life. He was 26 pounds by the time he was six months old, though, so he was (obviously) not suffering from a growth perspective. 

The allergist tested him for common things, like dairy, soy, and eggs, and Mason was positive for all. He was allergic to many more things, too. And honestly, I was relieved and felt vindicated. The past nine months had been a battle for us, begging doctors to listen, and to believe that our baby was allergic from birth.

When I explained that we'd been using probiotics to boost his gut health, the allergist brushed it off, totally discounting the fact that it may have been a major key in balancing Mason's body. She was absolutely sure that the allergic responses were immune-based, but not related to gut health. I knew that was wrong, I had seen the results myself.

I wonder what she thinks of the newest study that says the common gut bacteria, "Clostridia," has been shown to reduce allergens and prevent them from entering the bloodstream in mice? A team at the University of Chicago tested mice born germ-free and those treated with antibiotics and then exposed them to peanut allergens. The results were strong responses in both sets of mice. They then introduced the Clostridia bacteria and effectively managed to reverse the sensitization in the mice. How totally incredible is that?

The key, however, is this particular kind of bacteria. Catherine Nagler, food allergy professor and the study's senior author, stated, "The fact that we could show so clearly that this particular bacterial population regulated the detection of the allergen in the blood stream was a big surprise," nothing that now, "we can use the information...to develop novel probiotic therapies, taking these bacteria and developing them as a drug."

The potential of this Clostridia drug is immense. Used together with desensitization protocols it could change the lives of food allergy sufferers immensely.

I find it fascinating that our naturopathic doctor saw the link between food allergies and gut bacteria years ago when our other doctors discounted it entirely. I'm really glad there are so many researchers doing studies, so that things like this can come to light. I'm relieved that not all professionals agree, frankly, because that disagreement leads to new studies, new findings.

And I'm very happy that when I had a hunch about why my baby was suffering, I literally went with my gut (and his). 

To read more about some fantastic new scientific discoveries relating to allergies, read this piece about what triggers Celiac Disease and find out how scientists are learning to desensitize peanut allergies!