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Pollen information 10 May 2021

The birch tree pollen is still found in significant amounts, but the grass pollen is really beginning to show and this is the major source of spring time allergies.  For children, the major problem is eye itching; the congestion of a cold usually does not cause the eyes to get red and swollen.  Itching is a particular problem in the evening.  Getting a shower and shampooing the hair is important to do before going to bed.  If you have been outside to work or play, take a shower as soon as you can.


I hope I did this correctly…..Dad

With holiday season just around the corner, many people will be gathering together with friends and family to celebrate.

However, it can be stressful to plan a holiday menu that accommodates everyone’s dietary needs. Food allergies pose a particular challenge because they can cause severe and sometimes life threatening reactions. Below are a few tips to help make your holiday planning easier to ensure you and your guests have a safe and happy holiday.

  1. Before you begin, thoroughly clean all cooking surface, utensils, and dishes in hot, soapy water to remove any trace amounts of allergen.
  2. Call guests ahead of time to determine if anyone has a food allergy.
  3. If possible, try to create a holiday menu that is devoid of potential allergens. There are many allergen alternatives available these days, such as coconut or oat milk in place of cow’s milk, sunflower butter rather than nut butters, and almond flour instead of wheat. Oftentimes people with food allergies have already figured out what substitutions work best for them and will be happy to share their insight.
  4. If there are multiple food allergens, it may be difficult to avoid all these ingredients. In this case, try to make any recipes that are completely allergen free first to avoid cross contamination. Store these items in a clearly labeled container.
  5. Make a decorative place card listing the ingredients for each dish to make it easier for your guests to identify any potential problems. Clearly mark any dishes you know are not allergy friendly.
  6. Try setting allergen free dishes in a separate area so they can easily be identified.
  7. Designate specific utensils for each dish to avoid cross contamination.
  8. Involve your guests in your holiday planning and embrace their input! Invite anyone to bring their own food or dish as they may feel more comfortable knowing it is a recipe safe for them.

Corona Viruses have their own genetic code protected by a fatty envelope.  

Because this family of virus has “spikes” of protein protruding from the envelope of fat, it has a “crown of thorns” appearance hence the name Corona virus. These spikes attach to our human cells and allow the virus protein to take over and make new virus that spread throughout the body causing the disease.  The virus has a tendency to attack cells that line the blood vessels and cause clots.  People with coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes are particularly vulnerable to such an attack.  

All three of the new vaccines have been developed to help the body to recognize the virus “spikes” and make protective antibodies to destroy the virus. If the body is exposed to the virus, the system is in place to make huge amounts of antibody to destroy the virus.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have a tiny bit of genetic code, the RNA Spike protein code, that are introduced into our own cells to start the process of making antibody.  These vaccines can not give you a virus infection.  The RNA vaccines are very fragile and require very special handling.  The AstraZeneca vaccine uses a harmless virus to introduce the spike protein genetic code into the host cells to start the production of protective antibody.  This is the way most vaccines have worked in the past; the RNA vaccines are a new concept.  

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines produce 90%+ levels of protection from the Corona virus; this is outstanding.  The AstraZeneca vaccine protects about 70% of immunized people which is still very impressive.  

Because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are RNA vaccines, they are more fragile.  In developed countries like Europe and North America this is not a major problem.  In many parts of the world, a more robust vaccine like the AstraZeneca product will be the vaccine of choice.