Can A Gluten Free Diet Help Children with ASD?
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders that affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact socially with those around them.
Some parents have found that putting their child on a gluten and casein free diet has helped to improve the behavioural problems children on the autism spectrum often have. Although some clinical studies have been done, there is not enough evidence to medically support the claim at the moment. However, going gluten and dairy free does have potential health benefits, so it may be worth a try.
As with any dietary change, we recommend speaking to your doctor or nutritionist beforehand.
What are Gluten and Casein?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat-based products like bread, pastries and other baked goods. Ingredients like barley, rye and oats contain other gluten-like substances that some people will be able to tolerate and others may not. Some people have an autoimmune condition triggered by gluten, known as coeliac disease, but there are also people who have a milder sensitivity to it. Read more
Dealing with allergies over Christmas
Christmas is nearly here! Although most people will be looking forward to mince pies, log fires and a glass of fizz, allergies can make it more difficult to enjoy. Here are some helpful tips on how to manage you or your child’s allergies, so that you can stuck into Christmas with everyone else.
Christmas Tree Syndrome
Although the name sounds comical, Christmas Tree Syndrome is a real illness that can really put a downer on your Christmas celebrations. It’s a respiratory condition caused by mould spores that thrive in the damp conditions evergreen trees grow in. Once brought inside, a warm house and central heating give the perfect environment for these spores to multiply.
During the festive season, people are more likely to keep doors and windows closed and have large groups of people in the house. This, coupled with small children and pets brushing against the tree, can spread spores to other rooms. Even wreaths or live foliage can produce a similar effect.
Reactions to the spores vary but can include coughing, wheezing, sore itchy eyes, a runny nose and laboured breezing. To minimise the amount of spores you come into contact with, always wash down your tree before bringing it inside. It can help to leave bringing in the tree until the last minute too – having it inside your house for over two weeks creates the perfect breeding ground and can give you the strongest reaction. If you chose an artificial tree, wash it down before using and again before packing it away for next year. Read more
Living with a Latex allergy
Around 1% of the population are thought to have a latex allergy, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The allergy usually develops over time, so it’s useful to understand the causes and symptoms – especially if you’re a nurse or work in another profession where you need to wear latex gloves.
Our handy guide explains from common triggers to how to manage the condition.
What is Latex Allergy?
A latex allergy is caused by the body’s reaction to certain proteins found in natural rubber latex, which is a liquid derived from rubber trees. These proteins are also found in other plants and certain tropical fruits, such as avocado, banana, kiwi, passion fruit and melon.
Individuals can get a reaction either through direct contact with latex products, such as rubber gloves and balloons, or through inhaling latex particles that come from these products. Common items that produce a reaction also include rubber bands and condoms. Read more
Food Intolerance vs Allergy
A food intolerance is a digestive imbalance whereby the gut flora (the friendly bacteria that reside in the intestines) have been compromised. An intolerance can cause mild discomfort and take a while to manifest, appearing hours or days later.
An allergy is a powerful and fairly immediate immune response to an allergen. The allergen is usually harmless, it is the immune response that causes damage to the body.
Food intolerances (acquired immune reactions) and food allergies (generic immune reactions) are common sources of inflammation that spread from the gut to the rest of the body. The detox systems become overwhelmed when the small intestine has a reaction to the absorbed food. Symptoms can range from mild such as a running nose and itchy eyes to anaphylaxis which can be fatal.
Examples of allergens:
Chemicals/ detergents/ perfumes/ soaps
Pollen Read more
Sulphites: A Growing Intolerance
Charlotte Palmer is a food specialist who coaches individuals on how to improve their overall health, soothe food allergies and rebalance digestive issues through healthy eating. Here she discusses sulphites found in wine and how to sooth sulphite allergies.
Sulphites is an inclusive term for sulphur dioxide (S02). SO2 is a preservative widely used in winemaking (and much of the food industry) because of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. SO2 plays an important role in preventing oxidation and maintaining a wine’s freshness. Although only a portion of SO2 added to wine will be effective as an antioxidant. The rest will combine with other elements in the wine and cease to be useful.
All wines contain sulphur dioxide in various forms, collectively known as sulphites. Even in completely unsulphured wine it is present at concentrations of up to ten milligrams per litre. Commercially made wines can contain from ten to twenty times that amount. Read more
A Lifelong Condition
Emma Buckett, 35, from Reading has multiple health conditions including Friedreich’s Ataxia, a degenerative neurological condition that causes damage to the nervous system and attacks the spinal cord, resulting in restricted movement.
“I’ve had mobility problems since I was 2 and started using a wheelchair more permanently at age 16. Having a wheelchair was easier and made me more able to move independently rather than struggling to walk. It was a relief to get one really.”
A common health issue related to this condition is diabetes, which Emma has in Type 1 form, plus she suffers from hypothyroidism and a penicillin allergy.
“I was diagnosed with all my conditions between the ages of nine and 25. My ataxia is a degenerative condition so I may develop other conditions throughout my life because of it.
Variety of Symptoms
Emma’s conditions have a range of symptoms and unfortunately her ataxia symptoms are likely to worsen over time.
“I am a wheelchair user due to my ataxia, with reduced strength and coordination, so things like typing and lifting are difficult and time consuming. It has affected my speech, gives me hearing problems and severe tiredness.
As the weather starts to get warmer and the evenings lighter, spring is a great time to get your kids outdoors and introduce them to new sports. For parents of children with hayfever, allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions however, spring time brings fresh challenges.
Active Kids are Healthy Kids
The health benefits of exercise for children and adults alike are well documented.
Sharon Bassett, Director and coach at A-Star Sports and Sports Xtra, a nationwide children’s sports club had this to say:
Sharon Bassett, A-Star Sports coach
“Taking part in sport and physical activity brings many benefits. Physical fitness can support children’s growth and development, improve concentration levels, self-esteem and confidence. It’s a positive thing to do with family and friends, to develop social skills and a strong support network.
“It’s also a fun way to learn how to deal with challenges in a supportive environment and develop skills that are transferable to many other situations in life.”
The Wallace family from Fareham, Hampshire were real chocoholics. As keen members of a chocolate club, the family of four used to love cosy nights in with their monthly delivery of sweet treats.
Pictured right: Mum Victoria with sons Stephen, 11 and Danny, 6
Allergy Supermum Kerry Azhar, 28, from Milton Keynes, runs support groups for families with food allergic children.
The mum of two has a passion for making sure parents don’t feel isolated when dealing with their child’s allergies.
Kerry’s youngest child, Amirah, has severe allergies to a variety of foods, including milk, eggs, nuts, sesame and sunflower seed. Read more
After a terrifying ordeal, Denise from Southampton is now a passionate advocate of allergy alert wristbands.
The mother of one had a nightmare experience when her three-year-old son Harry suffered the shocking effects of a steroid administered in hospital.
Little Harry suffers from seasonal asthma and is in hospital about twice a year with the condition. On a routine visit two months ago Harry was put on a nebuliser – a machine that creates a mist of medicine that’s breathed in through a mask.