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Climate and environment impact on grass pollen allergens: why this is important

World Allergy Week April 4-10th, 2016Climate changes are lengthening the pollen allergy seasons resulting in increased intensity of allergen exposure world-wide.

Pollen allergy (hay fever) and other allergies, including mould, are increasing in prevalence and severity and will continue to be a concern as warmer weather brings more allergen sensitivity. The prevalence of pollen allergy appears to be increasing, and there are associated economic costs (loss of work or school productivity) which can be addressed with new treatments and environmental control measures[1].

Hay fever is a common and debilitating disease, affecting 3 million Australians. The prevalence of seasonal hay fever is higher in children and adolescents than in adults. There is a significant correlation between asthma and hay fever in school children.

Read more …Climate and environment impact on grass pollen allergens: why this is important

Success of Ride for AIFA

Michael Fries reaches SydneyAIFA welcomed Michael Fries and his support crew into Circular Quay on 31st March after his epic ride from Melbourne. The team raised over $3200 for AIFA and spread the word through regional Victoria and NSW about our work.

Michael raised the money on an innovative new app that encourages Generation Y to get into fundraising using small microdonations on their mobile phones. Donations will be accepted until the end of April. Every little bit helps to go a long way, as Michael knows.

Read more …Success of Ride for AIFA

Dorotea's story

Dorotea's storyDorotea was diagnosed with Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) at 4 months of age. This year research funding from AIFA is targeted at finding out more about this condition to help children like her. See 

"To say that having a child with FPIES is stressful is an understatement," Dorotea's mother Amanda writes. "Getting help for these children is very difficult as the condition is rare and even many paediatricians are inexperienced in the management of it. Dorotea's first admission to hospital was after a severe reaction to soy formula. As is often the case, it was misdiagnosed as a viral gastroenteritis.

The main symptom of FPIES is profuse vomiting, which can be accompanied by pallor, floppiness, hypotension and hypothermia. The FPIES reactions may be triggered by a variety of foods, although the most common triggers in Australia are staple foods such as cow’s milk, rice/oats, soy and eggs.

Amanda explains that "the diagnosis of FPIES is just the beginning of what is often an incredibly exhausting few years. Because there is no testing available to ascertain what foods are safe, each new food needs to be trialled separately. We long to see this condition better understood so that families do not have to live with the exhaustion and uncertainty that marks our weeks."

Read more …Dorotea's story

Ride for AIFA

Michaels ride for AIFAMichael Fries is preparing to undertake a significant mental and physical challenge to raise money for AIFA.

Our bold, new fundraiser suffered from multiple allergies as a child.

When Michael was six months old, he was diagnosed with allergies to egg, dairy, specific nuts, some meats, animal fur and dust mites.

He experienced a few close calls which were life-threatening.

"I can empathise with the daily struggle of people afflicted with allergies and the stress and anxiety that is endured by families", Michael explained.

Read more …Ride for AIFA

Fatal allergic reaction to bee sting

Tragically, last month a 57 year-old truck driver, Mark Williams, died after an allergic reaction to a bee sting in Western Australia.

"Mark did take his allergy seriously but his death shows how dangerous allergies can be and how quickly something can happen,” his wife Maree said in an article in The West Australian. (See - Note this original link no longer valid - Sep 2022)

A donation in Memoriam from his friends and colleagues is now listed on the Donors page of the AIFA website

Allergies to venoms from stinging insects are one of the most common causes of severe allergic reactions in Australia.

Read more …Fatal allergic reaction to bee sting

Personal lupus stories raise awareness

Following her revelation about her lupus diagnosis, singer Selena Gomez gave more details about her condition on the Ellen DeGeneres show recently. With millions of viewers worldwide, it was a great platform for raising awareness of this disease. Gomez explained that lupus is an autoimmune disease, which will stay with her for the rest of her life.

selena gomez

Natalie Cromb, an Australian blogger, has written a moving account of her family's personal story as her sister struggles with Lupus. She writes:

Chronic illness changes people - it changes families.
Chronic illness is not understood by those who aren't in the trenches with it.
Chronic illness is a lifetime on the sidelines, battling for moments. A life not lived but endured.

Read Natalie's account of the hard reality of Lupus on her blog: 

Lupus is most common in women (90%) and the majority develop the condition between 15 and 45.

Read more …Personal lupus stories raise awareness

Spring Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is a common and debilitating disease affecting around 1 in 5 people in Australia and New Zealand. Despite its common name, it is not caused by hay and does not result in fever. Even though it was known that pollen rather than hay was the cause as far back as the early 1800's, the term hay fever stuck. Pollen from grasses, weeds or trees, released in spring, can trigger symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. It is that time of year.

hay fever

Symptoms are caused by the body's immune response to inhaled pollen, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes and nasal passages. People with allergic rhinitis often suffer from fatigue due to poor quality sleep. It can impair learning and performance in children, result in more frequent absenteeism in adults and reduced productivity, and therefore can cause considerable impairment to quality of life.

Around 8 in 10 people with asthma have allergic rhinitis, and this can make asthma more difficult to control.

To help people who suffer from pollen induced allergic rhinitis, a project known as the Australian Pollen Allergen Partnership was established to provide a standardised, readily accessible and reliable pollen count network to provide current local information to patients and doctors for the major Australian cities.

This project is supported by a grant from the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia. See

Read more …Spring Hay Fever