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Stories from April, 2019

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Who Wants To Be A Superhero for the Day – New 5K Run in the City of London

Would you like to be a real superhero?

Would you like to dress up as a superhero and run 5K through the City of London along the Thames?

Then – ‘Superhero in the City’ will be right up your [London] street!

This fun inaugural race event is on Thursday 13.6.19 at 7pm. It starts at the North side of the Millennium Bridge, via the Southbank, then crosses back over Southwark Bridge and continues along the North Embankment towards St Paul’s Cathedral.

It’s the first race of its kind and we just know that this will be a popular event for years to come.

Why not be the first to be a Superhero this year!

Breathing Matters has places for £24 each. But don’t delay, you need to register by 20.5.19 to guarantee your place: https://bit.ly/2GOk9V6  We just ask that you raise £50 for Breathing Matters towards our valuable research.

Tips for Surviving Hay Fever

Itchy eyes, runny noses, sneezing … oh no, it’s Hay Fever season again!!! 

Fear not, this article will help you prepare.

What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) is an allergy to pollen. The pollen season separates into three main sections:

  1. Tree pollen – late March to mid-May.
  2. Grass pollen – mid-May to July.
  3. Weed pollen – end of June to September

To get the latest pollen forecast, view the Met Office weather map which provides a UK forecast of the pollen count and provides any hay fever sufferers with an early warning.

Who Gets Hay Fever?

Hay fever is very common. It affects about 2 in 10 people in the UK. It often first develops in school-age children and during the teenage years, but may start even later in life. Hay fever tends to run in families. You are also more likely to develop hay fever if you already have asthma or eczema. A tendency to these atopic illnesses can run in families.

Hay Fever Symptoms

  • Common symptoms include sneezing, runny or blocked nose, itchy eyes, mouth and throat. Less common are headaches and hives.
  • Asthma symptoms – such as wheeze and breathlessness, may get worse if you already have asthma. Some people have asthma symptoms only during the hay fever season.
  • The symptoms may be so bad in some people that they can affect sleep, interfere with school and examinations, or interfere with work.

Hay Fever PreventionHay Fever Fact

Although it is very difficult to avoid exposure to pollen, there are a number of measures you can take that will help you to minimise exposure and ease the severity of your hay fever symptoms. Following these steps may help provide some relief from your symptoms:

  • Keep windows closed when at home and overnight. Most pollen is released in the early morning and falls to ground level in the evenings when the air cools.
  • When outdoors, wear wrap-around sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. For any outdoor tasks, such as gardening, hay fever sufferers should wear a mask.
  • Some people find smearing your nostrils with vaseline to capture the pollen helps.
  • Avoid drying clothes outside when pollen counts are high. If you do, shake items before bringing them inside.
  • Keep car windows closed when driving and fit a pollen filter to reduce the impact of pollen spores. Ensure your air conditioning is set to recirculate the air inside.
  • When indoors: vacuum regularly and clean surfaces with a damp cloth. The British Allergy Foundation have a list of ‘approved’ anti-allergen vacuums that help to filter out pollen on their website, allergyuk.org.
  • Avoid bringing fresh flowers indoors.
  • Don’t allow smoking in the house as this will irritate the lining of your nose, eyes, throat and airways, making your hay fever symptoms worse.
  • After being outside, shower and wash your hair to remove pollen.
  • Grooming and washing pets more frequently at this time of year, to remove trapped pollen from their coats, can be helpful too. Pollen levels tend to be higher on warm, dry days.
  • The Metereological office offers a useful five day pollen forecast (metoffice.gov.uk), so you can prepare for high pollen count days.

Hay fever sufferers can benefit from a wide range of non-drowsy medication which can be prescribed by your GP, or alternatively purchased over the counter from your local pharmacy.  Starting this medication two weeks before the season can prepare your body.

Your GP or hospital consultant can help you find the most appropriate treatment for you especially if you also have asthma and other allergies. Treatments include antihistamine tablets or nasal sprays, corticosteroid nasal sprays and drops, nasal decongestants, eye drops, immunotherapy, and alternative therapies.

Treatment for Severe Symptoms

Rarely, a short course of steroid tablets is prescribed for a week or so. For example, for students sitting examinations,   A short course is usually safe.   However, you should not take steroid tablets for long periods to treat hay fever, as serious side-effects may develop.

Dr Harsha Kariyawasam, Consultant Allergist at the Royal ENT Hospital says, “‘The most important step that an individual with allergic rhinitis should do is to have an accurate diagnosis. The exact allergen provoking symptoms should be identified. Where possible, allergen avoidance measures should be instigated. Treatment with medication, introduced in a step wise manner should also be undertaken. We are getting very good treating allergic rhinitis and there are several effective new treatments available. Allergy desentisation by a trained allergist is possible and there are several exciting vaccines either in practice or in development. Everyone deserves to enjoy spring and summer!”.

Pulmonary Fibrosis Wish List

  • £5 – For equipment to take blood for testing antibodies for a patient with IPF.
  • £50 – Allows us to grow individual fibroblasts (these are the cells that produce the scarring) in the laboratory from the lungs of patients with IPF to do further studies.
  • £500 – Allows us to isolate the platelets from patients with IPF so that we can examine them in the laboratory and compare them to platelets from people with normal lungs.
  • £1,000 – For specialised antibodies to help us develop a novel blood test for early detection of PF.
  • £1,500 – For accessories for our lung function equipment for one year.
  • £3,000 – For a study to assess whether treatments for rheumatoid arthritis help the lung disease associated with RA.
  • £5,000 – To provide all the equipment and running costs for a ‘Western Bot’ which allows us to look at abnormal proteins in the lungs of patients with pulmonary fibrosis.
  • £10,000 – For a research nurse for a year working 2 days a week to collect valuable patient data and samples for research.
  • £50,000 – Pump priming a blue sky research proposal: allows a senior clinician to undertake a substantial period of research (a year or more) as a named research fellow to develop an hypothesis that is then submitted for full funding (£300K+).