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Allergy Today: From Mark’s Desk: October 2021

Welcome to Allergy Today. Please help us raise allergy awareness by sharing our free e-newsletter with others every time you receive your copy.

While Allergy New Zealand has been working from home throughout the Auckland lockdown restrictions, our offices and those of Asthma NZ, have been open for the medical centre staff next door to use them as a vaccination clinic.

The more intimate setting of an old villa has been a real hit with our Auckland allergy members and Asthma NZ members. The General Practice next door was the first to achieve the 90% target in Auckland and acknowledged the extra space helped get them across the line.

We’ve all still got a wee way to go to hit our targets and reduce our lockdown restrictions. We have posted more evidence-based advice about the COVID-19 vaccine on our website and here for those who are still wrestling with any allergy-related concerns.

Vaccination Clinic-693Another AGM held in lockdown recently meant we were restricted to another online presentation of our 2021 results and plans for the year ahead. We look forward to being able to return to face-to-face meetings and allergy events in 2022.

For those who missed it, there were some uplifting milestones acknowledged and Allergy NZ identities who were recognised for their long and invaluable service to our allergy communities.

  • After 15 years, Penny Jorgensen is retiring to enjoy more family time, and knowing Penny, plenty more adventures!
  • Auckland regional co-ordinator and ex-Board member, Kimberley Madden-Snoad is handing over her role after 17 years of supporting allergy Mums and their families from all over Auckland.
  • And after 14 years on the Board, Dot Louie hands over the Board Secretary reins to Kristen de Monchy.

Please enjoy our acknowledgment of their contributions over the years in our Annual Report (click here). We will miss each of you and will always be extremely grateful for the contributions and hugely positive difference you have all made to the lives of New Zealanders and families living with allergies. All three have been awarded Life Membership of Allergy NZ.

Looking Forward

Despite the interruptions of COVID-19, our organisation is in good health with a very full agenda for the year ahead. We have a diverse and talented Board to guide us and have appointed two new staff members to pick up where Penny has left off.

We are thrilled to welcome Roann Ilao and Lettie Iseli who will be joining us in the Auckland head office once we are able to re-open. Both have personal experience with allergies, and are longtime active volunteers in their local communities. Their initial focus will be the launch and delivery of our updated Allergy Guidelines for Schools. The guidelines are currently receiving their finishing touches and they have been busy familiarising themselves with them over the last few weeks.

Please also look out for Roann’s contribution in our NewsBites section of this issue. As a chronic allergy sufferer, she was understandably very anxious about her allergies flaring when getting vaccinated. She shares her experience in the hope it strikes a chord with others who may be feeling fearful or unsure.

Pollen Season

One of the country’s leading authorities on pollen, Professor David Fountain, re-connected with us recently and generously offered some articles updating our knowledge of pollen spread and its effects in New Zealand. He is relied on by the Metservice for their pollen forecasting and is often consulted by the media for his feedback and views on the subject. He is a lifelong supporter of our work and we hope you enjoy his articulate writing on a topic he has studied and researched for more than 40 years. Please find his article in this issue in our 'Expert' section, here

Primary Care Allergy Update

For those of you who are primary care health professionals, please make a note of the date – Wednesday 17 November, 2021. We’re excited to host our next GP Allergy Update via webinar from 7.30pm to 8.30pm. Please refer to our invite promoted in our NewsBites section to register – click here

We are testing a one hour format this time to allow for how busy our healthcare professionals are and how little energy they may have in the tank at the end of their long days looking after us!

Two GPs with active interests in allergies will host the update. Dr Anna Gilmore (Dunedin) will be your co-host and Dr Rebekah Thompson (North Auckland) will present, “Preventing the Allergic March – From Eczema to Allergy”.

There will be an opportunity for a Q&A session at the end of her presentation and your registered attendance will qualify for 1.00 CME point.

Our Allergy Updates are proving increasingly popular among our healthcare professionals with record registrations at the last three events. Please register by emailing primarycare@allergy.org.nz and providing your name and MCNZ/Nurse Practitioner/Nurse registration number.

As always, we are grateful for the generous support of Nutricia to enable these events.

Although this spring has not been a season like past ones in Auckland, we have noted one benefit. Those who usually suffer from hayfever (allergic rhinitis) at this time have had an easier time with their symptoms. Many airborne allergy sufferers have been working from home and been able to better manage their exposure to the pollen burst this year.

Staying indoors and keeping windows shut, particularly in the morning, is a sure way to keep the pollen out. Regular vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a Hepa filter will also help reduce your symptoms.

I hope that by the next issue of Allergy Today we will have more surety for our summer plans. In the meantime, we thank you for your support and urge you to share this newsletter with family and friends.

Please remember if there is a topic you would particularly like more information on, or have an experience you would like to share with our readers, drop us a line at allergy@allergy.org.nz

Thank you for supporting Allergy New Zealand and Stay Safe.

Mark Dixon, CEO Allergy NZ


Allergy Today, October 2021