Allergy Awareness Week 2015

Monday, April 20th, 2015

This week is Allergy Awareness Week, which aims to highlight the issues faced by those suffering with allergies. The focus this year is on anaphylaxis- which is at the severe end of the allergy spectrum. Although allergy affects a whopping 150 million people in Europe, it is surprising how little some people know about it. To mark Allergy Awareness Week, we have put together some key facts surrounding the symptoms, causes and management of severe allergies, so that you are all up to date with the information on this potentially life threatening condition.

What is anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis, also known as anaphylactic shock, is a severe reaction which develops rapidly in sufferers. It is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. In most allergic reactions the chemicals which cause symptoms (e.g. histamines) are released into the tissue areas of the body thus causing symptoms in specifically located areas. In anaphylaxis, chemicals are released directly into the bloodstream causing a much more rapid reaction after exposure to the allergen.

What are the symptoms of anaphylaxis?

The symptoms of anaphylaxis can vary. For some, symptoms often occur with those experienced in milder allergic reactions.  However, mild symptoms such as an allergic rash may not always be present and the first symptoms seen are often severe. Signs of anaphylaxis include:

  • Swelling in tongue and throat which can often lead to breathing and swallowing difficulties.
  • Swelling of eyes, lips, hands and feet.
  • Itchy skin or a raised red skin rash.
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Wheeze or persistent cough or severe asthma.
  • Abdominal pain and/or vomiting after an insect sting.
  • Feeling light headed, collapsing and losing consciousness.

 

What causes anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis can occur when your body’s immune system overreacts to a harmless substance. The most common causes of anaphylaxis include:

  • Insect stings such as those from wasps and bees.
  • Medications such as antibiotics.
  • Peanuts and tree nuts.
  • Other foods such as milk and seafood.

 

Treatment

Although the majority of allergic reactions are not anaphylactic, it is important that if anaphylaxis does occur it is treated as a medical emergency. The first line of treatment is the administration of an adrenaline injection. Often, people with a history of anaphylaxis will have an auto-injector of adrenaline. This is injected into their outer thigh muscle and held in place for 5-10 seconds. You should always call 999 for an ambulance regardless of whether an injection has been given or not.

For more information on what to do in an emergency concerning an allergic reaction visit the NHS website.

For further information on Allergy Awareness Week as well as different types of allergy visit the Allergy UK website.

 

 

Garden your way to Health & Fitness

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Feeling down in the dumps as the tail end of winter lingers?  Just pop your head outside and you will see that spring is arriving and with it that wonderful sense of hope as plants and flowers explode into life.

This week is National Gardening Week founded 4 years ago by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and designed to help more people celebrate, enjoy, learn about and conserve their gardens, green spaces and local environments.

Research has shown that gardening has a positive impact on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden why not get out there now! Gardening can help provide you with a cardiovascular workout and can even improve your strength and flexibility;  and after all that exercise you will have released so many endorphins you will even have reduced your stress levels!

If you don’t have a garden then take the opportunity to visit and walk around a garden – National Gardening Week 2015 will include the first ever National Open Gardens Day on 17 April, with gardens and green spaces alNational gardening Week picl over the country opening to the public for free.

Don’t forget –  small amounts of regular exercise can also help keep your gut healthy – check out the Love Your Gut advice here:
www.loveyourgut.com/getting-gut-healthy/gut-active/

 

For further information on National Gardening Week & National Open Gardens Day see: http://bit.ly/1fdcyhp

Remember if you are new to exercise check with your doctor first.

This month is International IBS awareness month…Why suffer in silence?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) you are not alone. It is actually one of the most common disorders seen by doctors, with an estimated 9-23 % of people suffering worldwide.  In 1977, the International Foundation for Functional Gut Disorders designated April as IBS Awareness Month with the aim of raising awareness of the important health messages surrounding the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life in sufferers. Here at Love Your Gut we have highlighted some key symptoms to look out for if you suspect you may have IBS, as well as some top tips to enable you to pluck up the courage to go and see your GP if you are worried about it.

IBS is a medical term given to a collection of otherwise unexplained symptoms relating to a disturbance of the large bowel.  Symptoms of IBS can vary between sufferers and can affect some people more severely than others. Here are some common symptoms:

• Abdominal pain and spasms, often relieved by going to the toilet.

• Diarrhoea, constipation or an alternation between the two.DSC_004112

• Bloating or swelling of the abdomen.

• Rumbling noises and excessive passage of wind.

• Urgency (an urgent need to visit the toilet).

• Sharp pain felt low down inside the gut and rectum.

• Sensation of incomplete bowel movement.

It is important to see your GP if you think you have any of these symptoms in order for them to try and determine the cause. Some may find going to their GP about IBS symptoms daunting and embarrassing. Do not be afraid, you are not alone.To help you, we have put together some tips to make it easier to approach your doctor.

Christine Norton is a Professor of Clinical Nursing Research at King’s College, London and a Nurse Consultant at St. Mark’s Hospital, Harrow. She sees hundreds of people a year with digestive problems, here are her words of advice on visiting your doctor:

  • Rehearse what you want to say before you come in.
  • If you are concerned that you may not remember what you wanted to say, take some brief notes with you.
  • Remember you are not the first person to have a problem – we have treated and seen thousands before.
  • Your doctor or nurse will not be embarrassed, so you should try not to be.
  • Use words that you are comfortable with and use regularly.
  • Don’t be afraid to use everyday words like ‘poo’ and ‘bottom’.
  • Open conversations with lines such as: ‘I’ve noticed a change in my bowel movements’ or ‘when I go to the toilet I am finding blood in my stools.’
  • The more honest you can be the better – even if you think you are being quite graphic.
  • No one likes being sworn at but if you can find no other word then use the four letter one beginning with s!
  • Remember the embarrassment is temporary but leaving a problem alone could lead to larger and more painful issues.

Note: If your doctor or nurse feels that you need to be examined, this will only ever be after explaining why this is needed and asking for your consent.

You will also be pleased to know that there is lots of information available which can answer the many questions you may have. For more information:

Leading charity Bowel Cancer UK highlights need to focus on research during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

bowel-cancer-uk-logo-small Bowel Cancer UK is urging the British public to back its call for vital research to help save more lives as the charity launches Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 2015.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer yet it’s a disease which is often overlooked and diagnosed too late.   Every year over 41,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer which equates to a diagnosis every 15 minutes and around 16,000 deaths.

During April, the charity will be putting research under the spotlight.   Nick Bason, Head of Policy and Communications for Bowel Cancer UK, said, “While major advances have been made in recent years in improving survival rates for bowel cancer, there are still huge research gaps which need to be addressed urgently to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease.  Bowel cancer is both treatable and curable if diagnosed sufficiently early.”

The disease has been in the public eye over the last year because of the tragic deaths of teenager Stephen Sutton and actress Lynda Bellingham.  Bowel Cancer UK has been working with Stephen’s father Andy to raise awareness of the genetic condition they both shared – *Lynch syndrome – which put them at a higher risk of bowel cancer.

During Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the charity will also release details of a survey undertaken among those under 50 with bowel cancer, to support it’s Never Too Young campaign.

About bowel cancer

Bowel cancer can be treated using a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and, in some cases, biological therapy. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, bowel cancer can be treated successfully, with nine out of ten people surviving for more than five years. However, only one in ten people are diagnosed at this stage. Reporting symptoms to your doctor as early as possible, is therefore essential. Symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the bottom and/or blood in your poo.
  • A change in your normal bowel habit lasting three weeks or more especially to looser or runny poo.
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • A pain or lump in your tummy.

For further information see:  http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/never-too-young/

*Lynch Syndrome (LS), also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an inherited condition and is the most common cause of hereditary bowel cancer. People with LS have a 72% higher risk of developing bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Try out our recipe for savoury gluten free buckwheat pancakes

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Creamy citrus smoked salmon/smoked salmon and scrambled egg.     Serves 2

Shrove Tuesday may be long gone but this savoury pancake recipe is great for pancake lovers who may require gluten or dairy free options. These pancakes are also packed full of great nutrients. Salmon and eggs contain a good source of protein, omega 3 and vitamin B12 making this recipe an ideal breakfast option for a busy day ahead.  Buckwheat flour is a good source of fibre and is also gluten free, thus providing a perfect alternative for those who are gluten intolerant.

What’s also great about these pancakes is that you can vary the fillings and be selective to suit your needs with both dairy and dairy free options available.

Ingredients:

125g of buckwheat flour

250mls of milk or almond milk (dairy free)

1 large egg

Pinch of salt

Tbsp Coconut oil or rapeseed oil for cooking

Blueberry, banana and cardamom pancakes

Fillings:

100g Smoked salmon

1 pot of reduced fat Crème Fraiche

Juice of one lemon

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

Handful of rocket

Dairy free alternatives:

100g Smoked salmon

2 eggs (scrambled)

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

Handful of rocket

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