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
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
Rachel Burkinshaw, 37, from Somerset, is determined to make life as normal as possible for her two children (pictured right) who both have food allergies.
Ten-year-old Grace was diagnosed with gluten and milk allergies when she was a baby and is used to life with a restricted diet.
Eight-year-old Morgan has Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease, a rare bowel condition that’s closely linked with severe allergies. Rachel also has Type 1 diabetes, while her husband is lactose intolerant.
Here she tells us how the family don’t let their allergies and medical conditions get in the way of doing the things they love.