Allergies come in all shapes and sizes ...
Just like allergy sufferers. And they are on the rise. For many people allergies can range from sniffling and sneezing to skin rashes to gastrointestinal issues. A certain percentage, however, have more than these uncomfortable symptoms to deal with. Anaphylaxis, a serious life-threatening reaction, causes approximately 1,500 deaths a year in the United States alone. Clearly, allergies are nothing to sneeze at!
Articles for Advocacy
A medical journalist with a severe allergy to peanuts and nuts is the perfect writer to inform us about the current status of preventing allergic reactions using peanut patches and ingesting “peanut pills.” The author concludes that progress is being made especially for young children, but she won’t be parting with her epinephrine any time soon.
New Treatments for Peanut Allergies Sound Promising…
…But Questions Remain
By Shefali Luthra
January 6th, 2019
Whenever I see a report touting possible new peanut allergy treatments, I devour it. I can’t help it. It’s an occupational hazard for any health journalist whose reporting specialty and medical history intertwine.
Have you ever been in a restaurant with someone who intensely questions the waiter about how the food is prepared because they have a food allergy? According to a recent study, one in 10 adults do have a serious food allergy, but nearly twice as many really just have a food intolerance. Of course no one wants to experience unpleasant symptoms, but it’s important for researchers to define the extent of the food allergy epidemic in the U.S. The results also showed a surprising number of people experiencing adult-onset food allergies. But the most distressing news from the study revealed that only a quarter of those with a genuine allergy had a current epinephrine prescription.
Do You Think You Have a Food Allergy?
New Study Says There Is A 50% Chance You Don't
By Victoria Forster
January 4th, 2019
Researchers have found that over 10 percent of adults in the U.S. are estimated to have a food allergy, but almost twice as many people as this think they have a food allergy but probably don't.
The new study published today in JAMA Network Open also found that 19 percent of adults think they are allergic to one or more foods, but that the symptoms they report are inconsistent with a true food allergy.
Rather than wait in line at a busy doctor’s office and incur a hefty co-pay, many of us turn to the internet whenever we have a new symptom or start taking a new prescription. But beware the information you find there! Unlike the “fake news” politicians like to conveniently refer to, there really is a lot of incorrect medical information you will find on the World Wide Web—and doctors will testify this can be life-threatening. Whether it’s about a particular drug or vaccine, many people believe that if they read it online it must be true, and this can even lead to a “placebo” or “nocebo” effect. So before you make any medical decisions based on something you’ve read, be sure and run it by your doctor.
Dr. Google Is a Liar
Fake news threatens our democracy. Fake medical news threatens our lives.
By Haider Warraich
December 16th, 2018
It started during yoga class. She felt a strange pull on her neck, a sensation completely foreign to her. Her friend suggested she rush to the emergency room. It turned out that she was having a heart attack.
She didn’t fit the stereotype of someone likely to have a heart attack. She exercised, did not smoke, watched her plate. But on reviewing her medical history, I found that her cholesterol level was sky high. She had been prescribed a cholesterol-lowering statin medication, but she never picked up the prescription because of the scary things she had read about statins on the internet. She was the victim of a malady fast gearing up to be a modern pandemic — fake medical news.
While misinformation has been the object of great attention in politics, medical misinformation might have an even greater body count. As is true with fake news in general, medical lies tend to spread further than truths on the internet — and they have very real repercussions.