Friday Dr Q&A with Dr Liew – Outdoor Allergens

Dr Liew Woei Kang

Marcie, who inspired MarcieMom to start this blog, doesn’t have any allergy and thus, this blog has been focused on eczema. Recognizing that there are many parents whose child also have allergy, MarcieMom invites Dr Liew Woei Kang, Paediatrician with special interest in Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology to share more about managing allergy for eczema children.

More about Dr Liew: Dr. Liew practices at the SBCC Baby & Child Clinic and is also a visiting consultant to KK Hospital. He was also awarded several research grants from the National Medical Research Council, Singhealth Foundation and KKH Research centre to pursue clinical research in paediatric anaphylaxis, drug allergy, primary immunodeficiencies and Kawasaki disease. He is also the President of Singapore’s Asthma & Allergy Association which is currently administering the very first eczema fund (initiated by MarcieMom’s donation) for low income patients in Singapore.

MarcieMom: What are some common outdoor allergens in Singapore? For instance, to certain type of trees or to certain pollen? Pollen counts are usually higher in the morning and on a warm, windy day versus just after a rain. Many places in Singapore are air-conditioned, is this better or worse off for a child with dust mite, pollen or certain allergy?

Dr Liew: Outdoor aeroallergens include tree pollen (Oil palm tree pollen is commonest), grass pollen are common in temperate countries with seasons, but is uncommon in Singapore. Air-conditioning is better tolerated for eczema patients but can worsen an allergic rhinitis. The impact on specific allergens are not great except moulds, as they may grow in poorly maintained air-conditioning units.

MarcieMom: Mold is another allergen and lots seem to be growing in my home! If a child is allergic to mold, what steps should a parent take? Also, for allergies like cockroach droppings, does it mean that the parent must diligently hunt for all droppings in corners of the home and remove them?

Dr Liew: Steps to reduce mould in the environment include a well-ventilated room, and if air-conditioning is used, frequent maintenance of the AC unit. Pest control measures are best for cockcroach sensitisation, as cockroaches often “roam” around and leave traces of protein.

MarcieMom: Thank you Dr Liew, next week we’ll cover a few smaller but controversial topics like vaccines and antibiotics!

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