Dec 9, 2016:
The recent thunderstorm asthma epidemic in Melbourne and its tragic consequences highlight the need for more research, education and awareness in this area.
Thunderstorm asthma is thought to be triggered by thunderstorms that have rapid changes in wind, temperature and humidity, which cause pollen grains to absorb moisture, burst open and release large amounts of small pollen allergen particles that can penetrate deep into the small airways of the lung.
Not everyone affected by Australian thunderstorm asthma epidemics has had thunderstorm asthma before. However, they have usually had severe allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and have been found to be allergic to ryegrass pollen.
If you have allergic rhinitis or asthma triggered by pollen:
- Try to avoid being outside on high pollen days, particularly during windy days and thunderstorms (which are common in spring); and
- See your pharmacist and/or doctor to check that you are being appropriately treated, with preventer medications.
It is important to note that:
- Not all thunderstorms, even on days with high pollen counts, trigger thunderstorm asthma
- Other weather factors are involved in thunderstorm asthma
- It is not only people with pollen allergy who may be affected by thunderstorm asthma
- Other allergens such as fungal spores, massive humidity and temperature changes over a short period can also affect some people with asthma and other respiratory diseases during a thunderstorm
Further information on thunderstorm is available at:
AusPollen Apps are available at www.pollenforecast.com.au and these aim to provide accurate and easily accessible information on local pollen counts. Completion of a short questionnaire https://survey.qut.edu.au/f/187809/5405/ will help the AusPollen research team to evaluate usefulness of the apps and how the service can be improved. This research is funded by NHMRC Partnership Project GNT1116107 and co-sponsorship from partner organisations, including ASCIA and AIFA.
Nov 28, 2016:
As the end of 2016 approaches it is timely to reflect on the significant development, achievements and collaborations of ASCIA over the past year, and plans for 2017.
Thank you to ASCIA members and supporters for your greatly appreciated contributions throughout 2016. We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2017 on a wide range of projects.
A summary of highlights from 2016 and plans for 2017 is available at www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/highlights
Nov 16, 2016:
AIFA has provided $100,000 in research grants to support 6 projects over the past 3 years.
This funding includes two $10,000 grants announced this month, one supporting research into Jack Jumper Ant immunotherapy and the second that will improve development of a drug for allergy.
For information about these grants go to
To donate in support of AIFA research grants go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au/donations/donate-now
Nov 8, 2016:
Local AusPollen Apps provide information on daily levels of pollen in the air and are currently available for Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney at www.pollenforecast.com.au by downloading the free App for iTunes or Google Play, and through Twitter or Facebook.
Completion of a short (~5 minute) online questionnaire https://survey.qut.edu.au/f/187809/5405/ before and after the pollen season will help the AusPollen team to evaluate usefulness of the AusPollen Apps and how this service can be improved.
AusPollen research will help with planning pollen count stations for the future and determine if there are local triggers that make hay fever and asthma worse.
This research is funded by NHMRC Partnership Project GNT1116107 and co-sponsorship from partner organisations, including ASCIA and AIFA www.allergyimmunology.org.au
Nov 3, 2016:
THANK YOU to all who participated in the National Allergy Strategy survey for teens and young adults (KABAM survey). The response has been overwhelming and we look forward to reviewing the information to ensure we develop suitable resources for 12-24 year olds with severe allergy. Stay tuned for updates on resource development.
Oct 5, 2016
The National Allergy Strategy Knowledge and Barriers to Allergy Management (KABAM) survey for teens and young adults will be available from 5th October – 3 November 2016. This survey is for people aged 12-24 years old with severe allergy.
The survey is being conducted to enable the National Allergy Strategy to collect information about what 12-24 year olds with severe allergy would like to know about managing their allergy and how they would like to access the information. As the survey will guide resource development it is important the survey is completed by the individual not their parent or guardian.
Sep 21, 2016:
The ASCIA 2016 conference provided more than 600 delegates with a unique opportunity to hear from 6 international experts and more than 30 local experts on a wide range of areas in allergy and clinical immunology. The conference also included 79 posters, 48 poster presentations and 16 clinical grand rounds presentations.
Congratulations and thank you to Dr Susan Perel (Chair), A/Professor Jane Peake and Dr David Gillis for organising an outstanding program for the ASCIA 2016 Conference. Thank you also to Kathy Beck and Anna Sullivan for coordinating an excellent Nurses' and Dietitians' Update and Professor Katie Allen for another successful CFAR Symposium.
Thank you also to sponsors and exhibitors, who continue to provide ongoing support for ASCIA Annual Conferences and other ASCIA educational initiatives.
For more information go to www.allergy.org.au/conferences/ascia-annual-conference#s2016
We look forward to your participation in the 28th ASCIA Conference next September in Auckland, New Zealand.
Content Updated 21 September 2016
Aug 23, 2016:
We are proud to announce that the AusPollen project has been awarded $626,442 in the latest round of NHMRC Partnership Project grants with a further $653,129 in partner organisation in kind and cash support. AusPollen, the Australian Pollen Allergen Partnership, will build, implement and evaluate the first standardised national pollen monitoring network. Grass pollen is the main outdoor trigger for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic asthma. This project seeks to improve the management of people with these common conditions, by delivering pollen alerts and healthcare information via websites and apps.
The AusPollen project was one of the first projects to receive a seed grant from the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) in 2015. Seed funding for projects like this enable researchers to progress their work and apply for larger grants. To find out how you can donate to AIFA to help provide seed funding for projects such as AusPollen go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au
The AusPollen program was initiated with the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), Asthma Australia, Stallergenes Greer Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO and MeteoSwiss. For more information about AusPollen go to www.pollenforecast.com.au
Aug 10, 2016:
The main changes are an increased emphasis of key messages, inclusion of images to show how to position a person with anaphylaxis and revised wording regarding the importance of giving the adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjector first, then asthma medication in a person with severe allergy and asthma.
All ASCIA anaphylaxis resources and e-training courses have been updated with the changes that have been made to the ASCIA action plans.
Instructions for the EpiPen® adrenaline autoinjector remain unchanged in Australia and New Zealand. However, ASCIA has added "Hold leg still" to the instructions.
Patient outcomes can be improved by ensuring that acute management of anaphylaxis is consistent with ASCIA Action Plans. In an anaphylaxis emergency, ASCIA Action Plans provide guidance on how and when to give the adrenaline autoinjector.
It is therefore essential that all patients prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector are provided with an ASCIA Action Plan for Anaphylaxis.
ASCIA Action Plans should be reviewed when patients are reassessed by their doctor, and each time they obtain a new adrenaline autoinjector prescription, which is approximately every 12 to 18 months.
Content updated 10 August 2016
May 18, 2016:
ASCIA Guidelines for infant feeding and allergy prevention and information on how to introduce solid foods to infants have been released on the ASCIA website: www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-prevention
These guidelines provide parents and health professionals with advice and recommendations relevant to allergy prevention, breastfeeding and introduction of solid foods. These documents combine the information from the previous ASCIA Infant Feeding Advice and ASCIA Guidelines for Allergy Prevention.
The Guidelines also include 3 revised recommendations, based on a consensus agreement by participants in the Centre for Food & Allergy Research (CFAR) Infant Feeding Guidelines Summit, hosted by Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) on Friday 13th May 2016. This Summit resulted in consensus, as reported this week in Health Matters:
ASCIA Food Allergy e-training, ASCIA Food Allergy Clinical Updates and other resources have been updated to include the 3 revised recommendations.
It is important to note that food service providers (such as childcare centres) should refer to the ASCIA guidelines for prevention of anaphylaxis in schools, preschools and childcare services: www.allergy.org.au/schools-childcare
May 16, 2016:
It is with great pleasure that we confirm that the federal government's funding of $500k for National Allergy Strategy implementation was announced at the launch of Food Allergy Week in Sydney on 16 May 2016, by the Minister for Health, the Hon Sussan Ley MP.
The National Allergy Strategy was launched in August 2015 and was developed in partnership by ASCIA and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA), in consultation with more than 60 other key stakeholder organisations.
This funding will provide support for the implementation of the following 3 urgent National Allergy Strategy initiatives:
- Standardising drug allergy management,
- Improving allergy management for teens and young adults, and
- Allergy management in food service including in the hospital setting.
We are very excited about this development and take this opportunity to thank all those involved, organisations that have provided previous support and the federal government for the funding that was announced today.
Thank you in particular to the National Allergy Strategy co-chairs, A/Prof Richard Loh and Maria Said, and coordinator of the Allergy Summits and National Allergy Strategy development, Sandra Vale. For over 2 years they have devoted so much of their time, energy, drive and expertise to the National Allergy Strategy.
For further information, please visit www.nationalallergystrategy.org.au/
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