The Allergy Mom® Melissa Scheichl Provides Education and Support

Melissa Scheichl

Growing up Melissa Scheichl (aka The Allergy Mom®) of the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada, had both seasonal and food allergies and her mother suffered a dangerous anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting. As challenging and scary as these experiences were, however, allergies did not become a major focus of her life until her children were born almost 16 and 14 years ago.  
Read the article here.

An “Anaphylaxis in America” survey team finds All Doctors’ Knowledge is NOT the Same (2)

asthma-and-allergy-foundation-285-119In a frightening survey sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), results showed there are huge gaps in knowledge of allergens and symptoms of anaphylaxis among emergency room doctors, pediatricians, family medicine practitioners and even allergists/immunologists. This makes it even more important for parents to educate themselves in order to be strong advocates for their children who have severe food or other allergies.

An “Anaphylaxis in America” survey team finds All Doctors’ Knowledge is NOT the Same

By Kristen Stewart

Every second counts when it comes to an anaphylaxis attack.  Parents and children with life-threatening allergies know this.  Legislators in many states who have passed bills to stock epinephrine in schools know this.  Almost all physicians know this too.  In the abstract.

That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, there’s also some less-than-good news.  According to a recent study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), there are some startling gaps in doctors’ specific knowledge.

“The survey revealed some alarming findings,” said Mike Tringale, MSM,

Senior Vice President of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and one of the authors of the 'Anaphylaxis in America' survey.  “For example, not all physicians recognized coughing, skin reactions and abdominal pain as possible symptoms of anaphylaxis.  Also, many physicians didn’t identify tree nuts, milk or eggs as foods likely to cause a severe allergic reaction.”

For the survey, over 300 physicians including allergy/immunology specialists (half pediatric and half with internal medicine training), emergency medicine physicians, family practitioners and pediatricians were interviewed.  Most said they were very familiar with the term anaphylaxis and many had even witnessed an anaphylactic reaction.

When asked more specific questions, however, the differences by specialty appeared more noticeable.  Breathing problems were identified as a symptom by over 70 percent of all the doctors but coughing was recognized by only 30 percent of family practitioners (compared to 55 percent of internal medicine allergy/immunology specialists).  There was a similar gap with approximately 55% of the allergy/immunology experts and pediatricians recognizing skin reactions as a symptom but only 26 percent of family practitioners realizing it.

Similar variations were found in identifying triggers.  Nearly 1 in 3 family practitioners and 1 in 4 emergency room doctors didn’t know peanuts could be a trigger while 90+% of allergy/immunology specialists did.  Medications also showed differences in education with almost 40 percent of allergy/immunologists and pediatricians realizing readily available medicines like aspirin, Advil and Motrin could cause reactions compared to just 9 percent of emergency medicine doctors and 6 percent of family practitioners.

Lack of doctors’ specific medical knowledge wasn’t the only thing researchers learned.  The study also revealed that many physicians don’t understand or appreciate how much severe allergies can affect patients.  Only 1 out of 10 family practitioners and 3 out of 10 pediatricians believed “severe allergies” had a major impact on quality of life according to Tringale which is in direct contrast to data AAFA has gathered from patients themselves.

Fortunately now that these gaps in knowledge have been exposed, the hope is education can begin to fill them.

“It’s critical to raise awareness for anaphylaxis not only among the public, but among physicians,” said Tringale.  “Physicians across all practices who care for patients at-risk for anaphylaxis should be aware of the professional guidelines for anaphylaxis and properly trained in diagnosing, treating and managing severe allergies.”

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America can help.  Tringale encourages physicians and patients to visit the AAFA website for more information about anaphylaxis prevention and treatment as well as free tools such as allergy action plans.

To learn more about the Anaphylaxis in America project which includes information about the physician survey and patient and public surveys, go to the AAFA web page on allergy research.

An “Anaphylaxis in America” survey team finds All Doctors’ Knowledge is NOT the Same

asthma-and-allergy-foundation-285-119In a frightening survey sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), results showed there are huge gaps in knowledge of allergens and symptoms of anaphylaxis among emergency room doctors, pediatricians, family medicine practitioners and even allergists/immunologists. This makes it even more important for parents to educate themselves in order to be strong advocates for their children who have severe food or other allergies.

An “Anaphylaxis in America” survey team finds All Doctors’ Knowledge is NOT the Same

By Kristen Stewart

Every second counts when it comes to an anaphylaxis attack.  Parents and children with life-threatening allergies know this.  Legislators in many states who have passed bills to stock epinephrine in schools know this.  Almost all physicians know this too.  In the abstract.

That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, there’s also some less-than-good news.  According to a recent study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), there are some startling gaps in doctors’ specific knowledge.

“The survey revealed some alarming findings,” said Mike Tringale, MSM,

Senior Vice President of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and one of the authors of the 'Anaphylaxis in America' survey.  “For example, not all physicians recognized coughing, skin reactions and abdominal pain as possible symptoms of anaphylaxis.  Also, many physicians didn’t identify tree nuts, milk or eggs as foods likely to cause a severe allergic reaction.”

For the survey, over 300 physicians including allergy/immunology specialists (half pediatric and half with internal medicine training), emergency medicine physicians, family practitioners and pediatricians were interviewed.  Most said they were very familiar with the term anaphylaxis and many had even witnessed an anaphylactic reaction.

When asked more specific questions, however, the differences by specialty appeared more noticeable.  Breathing problems were identified as a symptom by over 70 percent of all the doctors but coughing was recognized by only 30 percent of family practitioners (compared to 55 percent of internal medicine allergy/immunology specialists).  There was a similar gap with approximately 55% of the allergy/immunology experts and pediatricians recognizing skin reactions as a symptom but only 26 percent of family practitioners realizing it.

Similar variations were found in identifying triggers.  Nearly 1 in 3 family practitioners and 1 in 4 emergency room doctors didn’t know peanuts could be a trigger while 90+% of allergy/immunology specialists did.  Medications also showed differences in education with almost 40 percent of allergy/immunologists and pediatricians realizing readily available medicines like aspirin, Advil and Motrin could cause reactions compared to just 9 percent of emergency medicine doctors and 6 percent of family practitioners.

Lack of doctors’ specific medical knowledge wasn’t the only thing researchers learned.  The study also revealed that many physicians don’t understand or appreciate how much severe allergies can affect patients.  Only 1 out of 10 family practitioners and 3 out of 10 pediatricians believed “severe allergies” had a major impact on quality of life according to Tringale which is in direct contrast to data AAFA has gathered from patients themselves.

Fortunately now that these gaps in knowledge have been exposed, the hope is education can begin to fill them.

“It’s critical to raise awareness for anaphylaxis not only among the public, but among physicians,” said Tringale.  “Physicians across all practices who care for patients at-risk for anaphylaxis should be aware of the professional guidelines for anaphylaxis and properly trained in diagnosing, treating and managing severe allergies.”

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America can help.  Tringale encourages physicians and patients to visit the AAFA website for more information about anaphylaxis prevention and treatment as well as free tools such as allergy action plans.

To learn more about the Anaphylaxis in America project which includes information about the physician survey and patient and public surveys, go to the AAFA web page on allergy research.

New Michigan Law Boosts Food Allergy Awareness in Restaurants

Michigan State CapitolHere’s an update from the state of Michigan, where they just passed a law requiring restaurants to have at least one manager certified as a “food safety manager” whose training will include an approved course or video containing information on food allergies.

New Michigan Law Boosts Food Allergy Awareness in Restaurants

By Ishani Nath

New legislation in Michigan is making it making it a little safer to dine out with food allergies.

The new Michigan restaurant rules, also known as the Senate Bill 730, amend a current food law to increase food allergy awareness within restaurants.

The bill was in the works for two years and received support from allergy groups, including FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education), and government affairs professionals.

Here is what the new rules will mean for restaurants and patrons in Michigan:

  • At least one manager at each food-service establishment must become certified as a “food safety manager”. To get certified, the manager will need to take training about food allergies through a sanctioned course or video course.
  • Restaurants must inform customers, either as a note in the menu or as a window sticker, that they need to inform servers of food allergies.
  • Food allergy awareness posters must be put in staff areas of the restaurant.

“We’re trying to make it so that it’s a little more consistent in training,” Senator Judy Emmons, who sponsored the bill, told Allergic Living. She was  inspired to sponsor the bill when she heard the stories of families dealing with severe allergies. “Hopefully it helps patrons to understand that we are making efforts to address issues that very well could be life-threatening.”

Emmons says the aim of this law is to make improvements that could be implemented effectively across the state.“We didn’t want to make it overly burdensome,” she says. “We wanted to make sure the information and the training was easily available, make sure that it was something that the manager could easily share with the staff.”

Similar laws are already in effect in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some cities, including New York City and St. Paul, Minnesota, have also made it mandatory for require food service establishments to put up posters with information about food allergies.

Peanut Allergy Researchers Say They May Have Found Key To A Cure

A pile of peanutsThere’s exciting news from Melbourne, Australia where researchers at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute gave about 30 allergic children a daily dose of peanut protein together with a probiotic in an increasing amount over an 18-month period. At the end of the trial 80% of the participants could eat peanuts without any reaction.

Peanut Allergy Researchers Say They May Have Found Key To A Cure

A Melbourne-based study of children given nut protein with probiotic has transformed the lives of 80% of those who took part in clinical trial

Australian researchers have found a possible key to a cure for people with potentially fatal peanut allergies.

A Melbourne-based study has already transformed the lives of many of the children who took part in the clinical trial.

Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute gave about 30 allergic children a daily dose of peanut protein together with a probiotic in an increasing amount over an 18-month period.

The probiotic used in the study was Lactobacillus rhamnosus and the dose was equivalent to eating about 20kg of yoghurt each day. At the end of the trial 80% of the children could eat peanuts without any reaction.

“Many of the children and families believe it has changed their lives, they’re very happy, they feel relieved,” said the lead researcher, Mimi Tang. “These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies.”

Almost three in every 100 Australian children have a peanut allergy.

“We focused on peanut allergy because it is usually lifelong and it is the most common cause of death from food anaphylaxis,” Tang said.

Further research is now required to confirm whether patients can still tolerate peanuts in the years to come. “We will be conducting a follow-up study where we ask children to take peanut back out of their diet for eight weeks and test them if they’re tolerant after that.”

Tang warned against trying the treatment at home. “Some families might be thinking about trialing this at home and we would strongly advise against this. In our trial some children did experience allergic reactions, sometimes serious reactions.

“For the moment this treatment can only be taken under the supervision of doctors as part of a clinical trial.”

The information provided on this site is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical advice,
diagnosis, or treatment with a licensed physician.
The Allergy Advocacy Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization.
Copyright 2020 © Allergy Advocacy Association, Inc. All rights reserved.  Terms & Conditions