What a fascinating day I had on Saturday. The first Allergy Uk Conference took place at St Thomas’s hospital. To begin with I’d like to say congratulations to everyone who was involved in the organisation of the day. The speakers where not just informed, and leaders in their fields, but also so willing to answer all manner of questions put to them by the audience. The audience was a real mix of professionals, allergy sufferers and concerned parents, so there was a wide range of issues discussed and perspectives given. I’m sure other bloggers will come along with posts that talk about the differences between types of reactions and provide more detailed medical explanations and discussions. As always, I’m going to concentrate on the practical side of things! What did I learn on Saturday that affects what I do, and what I do with Molly?
The erudite Prof Peter Howarth gave an in-depth talk about allergies that was clear and so interesting. He highlighted studies that suggest increasing evidence that Vitamin D deficiency plays a real role in the life of allergy sufferers. Impact on asthma is marked – studies have indicated that 60% of poorly controlled asthma sufferers had low levels of Vitamin D, while those with a normal level of Vitamin D were 5 x less likely to have hospital admissions for asthma. So it looks as if Vitamin D dampens down the allergic reaction. Similarly sufferers of Urticaria also seem to have lower levels of Vitamin D. The levels needed appear to be high; so just popping the daily recommended allowance isn’t going to make a big difference. So if you’re going to look at Vitamin D then best to have a blood test to see if you are deficient and then discuss doses with your doctor.
There is, however, more research needed to prove the link. It worries me this ... because there is no big money for drug companies in funding this type of research, so if the government doesn’t stump up then who will? Maybe this is a fundraising opportunity for the Allergy community? If something as cheap and simple to do as taking Vitamin D can have a marked impact on our lives, then it’s in our interest to get involved and campaign for more research.
So...reduced levels of bacteria may (again may) be linked to allergies. There is, apparently, a lot of research being done in this area. Having a lower range of bacteria in the gut seems to be an allergy indicator, as bacteria help to deal with foreign proteins (like...say...cows’ milk). There are conflicting studies, but I’m going to start taking a live (must be live) probiotic to see if it helps. Heavens knows I’ve had tonnes of antibiotics over the last few years and oral steroids as well, so I figure it can’t hurt.
I suffer a lot with Eczema. Again, increasing my intake of Vitamin D and live probiotic bacteria may help. But there was a lot of very simple advice that makes sense too. Apparently my skin is like a brick wall and my mortar is crumbling. Which means that moisture escapes, and bad bacteria get in. What to do?
Drink gallons of water, as my skin is losing moisture all the time. Additionally, this means I’m more likely to be dehydrated. The water is needed to combat the loss through my skin and to help hydrate my skin.
You can’t over moisturise. I’m currently getting through 2 to 3 bottles of Aveeno a month. I should be getting through one a week. So I’m simply not moisturising enough. So from now on I’m going to carry some in my bag and when I pop to the ladies (which...if I’m drinking lots I’ll be doing more!) I’m going to moisturise. That means instead of morning and night; I’ll do throughout the day as well and let you know how it goes.
Hay Fever and Exam Results
I suffer from hay fever, my step daughter suffers terribly and so does Molly. It’s miserable really and does impact on daily life. Antihistamines only do so much; it’s not like you feel great (those TV commercials just drive me nuts). Maureen Jenkins gave an assured and informed presentation about allergies and treatments. She discussed some worrying findings. In one study, 40% of teenagers suffering from hay fever scored a full grade lower on their exams than on their mocks, and when teenagers were taking the sedating antihistamines the figure rose to 70%. That’s a shocking impact on these children’s futures. It impacts their opportunities to get into college or university in a significant way. I don’t know the answer – exams at a different time of year perhaps? It needs more research I guess, more people to be interested and get involved.
So my next task is to write to Allergy UK and ask ‘is there anything I can do?’
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And here we are talking about Eczema - click the pic for
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