Expert advice for asthma and allergy sufferers

Professor John Craven and Nikita Travers

Professor John Craven awards a cheque for two hundred pounds to Nikita Travers on behalf of Admiral Lord Nelson School.

More than 100 children and adults with asthma and allergies have been learning about their condition with the help of local experts.

Hampshire-based families affected by these conditions attended a free event held by University of Portsmouth which combined the academic approach to asthma and allergy with talks from a GP, a hospital doctor and a patient.

One in four people in the UK live with asthma and allergies which means that almost every family has someone or knows someone who suffers. The effects can be mild and seasonal or severely life restricting.

Chairing the ‘Focus on Health: Asthma and Allergy in your Family’ event, Professor Tara Dean, Director of Research at the University and Honorary Deputy Director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Centre on the Isle of Wight, said: “We aimed to reach out to local families who suffer with asthma and allergies and help them realise they can have more control over their condition and their treatment plan and that their voice can be heard.”

Three children from local schools received prizes at the event. They had taken part in an art competition to design a poster showing what it looks or feels like to live with asthma and allergies.

Charlotte Larder, a year 9 pupil from Admiral Lord Nelson School was the winner, with what was described by Professor John Craven, Vice Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, as a “bold, well executed approach to the subject”. She won an Amazon voucher and £200 for her school to spend on science equipment.

Runners up Lauren Boxall, a year 8 pupil from Cowplain Community School, and Melody-Autumn Fisher, a year 7 pupil from Admiral Lord Nelson School, also won Amazon vouchers.

John Craven and Charlotte Larder

Professor John Craven with Charlotte Larder, who won the art competition.

As part of the event’s schools element, Dr Heather MacKenzie, a researcher specialising in food allergies at University of Portsmouth, had visited the schools involved and talked to pupils about living with asthma and allergies.

At last night’s event speakers included Dr Carina Venter, senior research fellow at the University of Portsmouth and registered dietician who specialises in food hypersensitivity in children; Dr Tom Brown, who works in the Asthma Research Team at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth and is currently researching ways to better predict asthma attacks; Dr Charlotte Wade, a GP in Somers Town Health Centre; and Hazel Gowland, who has a severe nut allergy, and works for Allergy Action. Hazel urged people to complain if food products weren’t labelled correctly. She said “The more nagging the government gets the better, we can change things in this way.”

Also attending were representatives of several local charities, such as Allergy UK, the Anaphylaxis Campaign, Healthwatch, Allergy Action, British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK.

 

UoP News © 2019 All Rights Reserved