FCAAIA Notes: Well, this study ought to make the Twinkie division of Hostess happy! All kidding aside, we really don’t know much about the effect of food preservatives on long term health. This paper only looked at one compound so its conclusions cannot be extrapolated to the myriad of things listed on Cheetos and other foods.
Several years or so ago, studies indicated that organic foods are not “healthier” (however they defined that…) than other products. So, maybe a better question in the big picture is “Are food preservatives bad for me?” I think more studies should be done Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: Here I am in the dead of winter with a blizzard raging outside my window. If it weren’t for the supplements I take every day, I am sure I would be vitamin D deficient or insufficient.
Vitamin D remains a hot topic in the medical literature. It has been shown repeatedly that low levels are associated with worse control of allergies, asthma, other allergic conditions and recurrent infections. Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: This article is more of a reminder than news. In fact, influenza vaccine is so safe in egg allergic patients that even the recommended 30 minute observation after injection is (in my opinion) probably over-cautious. The recommendation that egg-allergic children get flu shots without testing to the vaccine or incremental dosing were put forth several years ago. Unless you or your child has had an allergic reaction to a flu shot, no other special precaution is needed.
It has been 20 years since we recognized that there is no egg protein in the MMR. Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: Unless you are one of the decidedly rare people who has had a severe reaction to a previous immunization, there is not a reason to avoid them. Even patients with egg allergy can safely receive immunizations (including flu shots, but excluding yellow fever vaccine) in a single dose.
Immunization (starting with small pox and then polio) is probably the most important public health advance in this country in the last 70 years. Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: This article is a quick reminder of the “atopic (or allergic) march”. It is very common for children with atopic dermatitis to develop nasal allergies and asthma around early school age, even as the skin disease seems to be improving. It is not so clear WHY it happens.
We also know that about 1/3 of infants and toddlers with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis have a food that can at least contribute (cow’s milk, hen’s egg, soy, and wheat account for over 90% of those cases). So, it is not surprising that these conditions are related and a risk for one another.
If your young child with atopic dermatitis starts to get frequent nasal symptoms, coughing or other manifestation of asthma, or recurrent need for antibiotics, let us know. Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: Penicillin allergy is out-grown at a rate of about 10% per year, so after 10 years, only about 10% of patients are still allergic. Of course, many people who think they are allergic to penicillin were never allergic in the first place. Altogether, about 95% of people who carry a label of “penicillin allergy” are not allergic.
Penicillin is still the drug of choice for many infections. It is an inexpensive class of medications and penicillin derivatives treat a great many common infections.
Perhaps the most important point in this article is what Dr. Khan said in the last paragraph, “Anyone who has been told they are penicillin allergic, but who hasn’t been tested by an allergist, should be tested”. Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: There are a few important points in this article. First a positive test does not necessarily mean allergy. Anyone can have a positive test to anything and not be allergic. You are not actually allergic unless you also have a reaction with exposure. A positive test without allergy is called sensitization (as was the case in 53% of these children). Second, specific allergies are not inherited as much as the tendency to develop allergy. That is why the researchers tested to a battery of foods rather than just the food to which the older sibling was allergic. Finally, most younger siblings of food allergic children were NOT allergic to any food.
I understand the anxiety that a second child might also be allergic Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: OK…don’t panic and don’t stop breast feeding. The benefits of exclusive breast feed to 6 months old are undeniable. Previous studies have associated exclusive breastfeeding with a decreased risk of allergies. But, no study has ever concluded that breast feeding PREVENTS allergies. That’s a big distinction. And, it’s one I frequently make when a parent says something like, “How can my child have allergies? I breast fed for a year!”
This is only one study and they didn’t even distinguish between exclusive breast feeding versus breast/formula combination. Keep nursing! It is better for the baby and as female pediatrician said to me in 1982, “It’s faster, it’s cheaper, and it comes in a more attractive container.” Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: Most asthma can be well controlled with reasonable amounts of the usual medications with which you are familiar…inhalers, nasal sprays, antihistamines, leukotriene modifiers, and/or allergy shots. AI small percentage of patients has such brittle disease that all these medications still do not control their symptoms. They require frequent and high doses of oral steroids and have frequent exacerbations requiring ER visits or hospitalizations.
The suffix “-mab” indicates the medication is a monoclonal antibody. Mepolizumab is the second FDA approved “biologic” for asthma (omalizumab (Xolair) was first). These medications are expensive but effective if given to the appropriate patient. We will see more and more biologics in the future. Stay tuned for dupilomab, another monoclonal antibody Continue reading
FCAAIA Notes: Do you control your child’s food allergies or do they control you? As much as we wish it was not so, food allergy is a fact of life. The only 100% effective treatment is avoidance. Nonetheless, accidents happen. So, yes, we need to be vigilant but we also need to live happy lives. If you are overly anxious about your child’s food allergies, he or she will become so too.
Please let us know if this article strikes home for you. We can help. Continue reading