Friday, 30 August 2013

Labor Day Sale by Allergy Store

If you have been looking for  Dust Mite Proof Bedding or  Air Cleaners and found them a bit pricey, here's your chance this weekend to get some discount for Labor Day sale from Allergy Store.

I've emphasized the importance of having dust mite proof bedding here, and its really helped me tremendously in coping with my dust mite allergy. Money well spent I must say! If you are not sure how to choose an anti dust mite bedding, I have come up with some guidelines to help you.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Does Hypoallergenic Pets Exist?

"We found no scientific basis to the claim hypoallergenic dogs have less allergen," said Christine Cole Johnson, chair of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Department of Public Health Sciences and senior author of the study. The study measured environmental allergen levels in the houses of 173 dog owners one month after a newborn baby was brought home.

"Studies suggest hypoallergenic cats and dogs can cause just as many symptoms as the regular kind," says James Seltzer, MD, a spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. That’s because skin and saliva proteins, not just hair, trigger allergy symptoms. So don't think that just because the pet shed less fur or hair means you are safe from allergy. That said, dogs that shed a lot, such as Labradors or collies, will cause more reaction in allergy sufferers simply because dander is released with the fur, according to Dr. Sai Nimmagadda, an allergist at Lincoln Park’s Associated Allergists and Asthma Specialists Ltd.

And cat allergy is usually worse than dog allergy because cats are natural self-groomers and they lick themselves, so they are covered in their own saliva. According to Dr. James Sublett, the vice chair of  Arlington Heights-based American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s Indoor Environments Committee, cat saliva is one of the major sources for allergies, and it’s particularly potent due to its tiny size – about three-hundredths the size of the cross-section of a human hair – and its ability to attach to other particles and be transported through the air.

So the sad truth is, there isn't any truly hypoallergenic pets (except for those with scaly skin like iguanas and snakes!), but there are some steps you can take to lower your exposure to the allergens if you really want to own a pet. Watch out for a post later on this topic.

Credit:, Northwestern university, Mother Nature Network

Friday, 23 August 2013

Take Care of Yourself Right Now

Keeping it short. TGIF! I saw this in my email from Tara Stiles, the yoga rebel. This sentence really strikes a chord with me. To all those living with allergies: Take care of yourself right now. Do not procrastinate to find root cause of your allergy. Take action to manage it to live and breathe better. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fresh Food Diet Lower Risks of Allergies

Source: The Straits Times, Mind Your Body. 15 Aug 2013
A new study by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that babies who ate more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed packaged food were less likely to develop food allergies.
According to Reuters:
"They found that babies without food allergies scored higher than babies with allergies on a diet that was rich in healthy, often homemade, foods - including fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish - and scant on processed foods such as pre-made meals, potato chips, cook-in sauces and bacon."

"The analysis showed that the infants who were having more fruits and vegetables and less commercially produced baby foods and also less adult foods were the ones who were less likely to develop an allergy by the time they were two,"

"It's not that they didn't have commercially-made baby foods, it's just that they did not have them predominantly in their diet,"
I first read this in my local newspaper last week (I blanked out some ads in the above) and then more online. I have been wanting to talk about it as its something close to my heart. A few points that I want to bring across:
1) I've always been a firm believer that fresh is better. I remembered that aside from wholemeal cereals, the first solid food that I fed my son was Avocado, which is very rich in fatty acids, fibre and a whole lot of other nutrients. In fact, it has been labelled as "the best fruit for a baby", "superfood" etc. Most of the time, my son would have fresh food with lots of vegetables in his diet. He has definitely taken some commercially made baby food occasionally when we were out and I was tight with time, but they were limited.

Up till now, he is not allowed to eat junk food like chips and soft drinks and on very rare occasions do I allow sweets. This discipline has been ingrained in him since young and he will even remind his school teachers when they forget this (with such food offered during party time occassionally). And he is only 4 years old this year! I'm proud of his discipline and his teachers are equally impressed :)
2) This study is especially important for those babies whose parents have allergies. As we know, there is a high chance that children will inherit the allergies from their parents. So to give a good head start and take some preventive steps may come a long way in helping the child. I think even if it doesn't prevent the allergies, it can help to lessen it.
3) This study talks about food allergy. But in my opinion, it applies to all types of allergies because fundamentally, people get allergies due to flaw in their immune system. While diet alone cannot "cure" the allergies, it can help to manage it and lessen the severity of the allergies.

4) And lastly, the principle of fresh is better not only applies to babies, it is equally important for adults as well. For those interested, I have a post here on Diet for Allergic Rhinitis.

Friday, 16 August 2013

How to Choose Allergy Friendly Outdoor Plant

Its the time of the year with sunny blue skies and nice warm weather for some of you that you would want to consider growing some outdoor plants or trees in your garden. If you have seasonal allergic rhinitis and is allergic to pollen, then do be careful of what you grow in your backyard so that it doesn't trigger your condition. It is important to note that pollen is produced by male reproductive structures and that it is mainly the wind-pollinated plants that cause pollen allergy.

Here's some tips from The Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association:

1) Avoid plants that produce pollen in significant quantities.

2) Reduce male flowers. Ask your local garden-center expert for help. You can also aim for so called perfect flowers, which means they contain both male and female parts; as a result, the pollen doesn't have to travel far and are hence less likely to cause pollen allergy. Sometimes you can also get female clones of diecious species
3) Choose insect-pollinated plants rather than wind-pollinated plants. Unfortunately, highly susceptible people may be affected by some insect-pollinated plants as well. Some insect-pollinated plants do, however, produce pollen in large amounts that could be enough to cause allergic reactions, such as Salix.

4) Avoid fragrant plants – particularly for indoor.

Here's some allergy friendly outdoor plants you can grow in your garden, pictures courtesy of The Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association:

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Are C-Section Babies More Likely To Develop Allergies?

Recently, I came across 2 health articles relating that C-section babies are at high risk of developing allergies.

" C-sections can deprive babies of the healthy dose of gut bacteria that comes from the birth canal. Without the bugs, the babies' immune systems appear underdeveloped – a trait that could lead to allergies later in life. "

"C-section babies are five times more likely to develop allergies by age two than those born naturally... In the gastrointestinal tract of babies born by c-section, there is a pattern of "at risk" microorganisms that may cause them to be more vulnerable to developing the antibody Immunoglobulin E, or IgE, when in contact with allergens" according to Dr. Johnson, Ph.D., MPH, chair of Henry Ford Department of Health Sciences. -

Well, I'm not a doctor and I'm not sure how strong this scientific correlations are for C-section babies and allergies, but so far, from what I gather from relatives and friends around me, I do not see a trend. I know of those who went through C-section births and have healthy, allergy-free kids; on the other hand, I also know kids suffering from allergies and asthma who were delivered naturally.

I am a mother of one and I think most mothers, if they have a choice, would prefer to give birth naturally than via C-section. But unfortunately, things do not always go as planned and for medical reasons, e.g. breech position, mother's health,  emergency c-sec due to fetal distress etc have to opt for C-section birth. So if the above studies are true and future studies continue to back this correlation, then for mothers who have to undergo C-section birth, the next best step is to breastfeed.  We all know that breast milk contains antibodies which are extremely beneficial to babies. Besides,

"Breast milk is another important source of gut bacteria and it also contains nutrients that feed the bugs, called prebiotics"  according to Lita Proctor, director of the Human Microbiome Project, a National Institutes of Health initiative.

While the above information is something for us to bear in mind, in my personal opinion, based on my observation of those around me, I think there is a stronger correlation between allergy and genes (i.e. allergies are usually inherited) than C-section birth. Here's an interesting read from for those who are interested: Single Genetic Glitch May Explain Most Allergies and Asthma.

Monday, 5 August 2013

10 Important Dust Mite Facts for Those with Allergies

This is a useful article for those allergic to dust mite. I'm re-posting this from Facts About Dust Mites-10 Important Dust Mite Facts For Those With Allergies.

Being able to minimize dust mite population can greatly help you effectively manage dust mite allergies. Here are 10 pieces of information that will help you live better despite your allergies.

1. They don't bite. Even though this is true, they can still wreak havoc in your bedroom if you are allergic. Their fecal material contains a protein that is at the root of allergy and asthma flare-ups. It can also cause eczema which usually presents as dry, scaly skin in a variety of places on the body.

2. They are an invisible enemy. The human eye needs magnification in order to be able to see a dust mite. So looking at your bed will not reveal these little critters to you, as they measure less than half a millimeter in length.

3. Your bed is ideal. This is because they thrive in warm, dark, moist environments. They go airborne with normal activities such as making the bed, tossing pillows, and shaking out linens.

4. Reactions vary and can change over time. Most people become more sensitive the longer they exposed to mites. That's why it's so important to minimize their numbers.

5. They feed on dander. Dead skin flakes (dander) are food for these bugs. If your pet sleeps in or on the bed, this makes even more dander available. An increase in the amount of dander can cause a rapid acceleration in the population.

6. They use their size against you. Because they are so incredibly small, they are able to crawl between the threads of your linens, mattresses and pillows and reproduce there. Using dust mite covers can interrupt the reproductive cycle and prevent this from happening.

7. Their color helps them hide. They are beige and round-shaped. They have 8 legs and belong to the spider family.

8. Children are at great risk. Studies show that children who are continually exposed to dust mite fecal material are more likely to develop asthma, allergies, and eczema.

9. There are ways to determine the severity of the problem. There are detection kits available for sale in stores and online. You can also magnify bits of dust to determine.

10. Nothing will get rid of them completely. You can reduce their numbers by washing bed linens weekly in water that is 140 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. Replace carpeting with floors that are able to be more thoroughly cleaned such as wood, vinyl, or tile.