E-Greetings from the Allergy Advocacy Association

February 2021

Greetings from the Allergy Advocacy Association! Regarding the change of seasons, we are secure in the knowledge that winter will be leaving us soon. How do we know? First, all floral arrangements for Valentine’s Day are completely sold out; second, President’s Day holiday weekend has come and gone all too soon; and last but not least, pitchers and catchers are reporting for MLB Spring Training! However, there's a lot going on before the first pitch on opening day and the blooming of springtime flowers.

In this month’s e-newsletter you’ll hear about the importance of getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, even if you suffer from life-threatening allergies. Dr. James Baker, the former CEO and CMO of Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) explains why "bending the curve" of new corona virus infections downward is so crucial … and please excuse the reference to baseball…..You’ll also learn about two new studies; one about how epinephrine is not being used often enough for treating anaphylaxis emergencies in children and the other examining clinical allergies to Sunflower seeds. And we'll take a closer look at the commonality of food allergy emergencies in restaurants. The need here for effective federal legislation has never been greater.

On March 8th thru the 10th Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) will be hosting their Courage at Congress Virtual event. Please sign up and join with activists and advocates educating law-makers on important issues impacting our food allergy community; registration is free.

When allergic reactions happen, learn how to take action! Our Epi Near You NY anaphylaxis emergency training program is now VIRTUAL! Our cost-free seminars provide:

  • Free state approved training presentation
  • New York State recognized certification
  • Assistance for public entities to obtain a non-patient specific prescription for emergency epinephrine.

Upcoming training seminar dates will be regularly posted on our Website.

Stay healthy and safe! Play ball!

Top Allergist and Immunologist: "Get Vaccinated!"

As corona virus vaccines start becoming more available, getting everyone vaccinated is of vital importance. In our interview with Dr. James Baker, the former CEO and CMO of Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), Dr. Baker addresses many concerns within the allergy community. Reporter Kristen Steward and the doctor discuss the effectiveness, safety AND necessity of everyone being vaccinated.

Top Allergist and Immunologist: "Get Vaccinated!"

Dr. James Baker, MD

By Kristen Stewart
February 20th, 2021

Looking at his bio it sure looks like Dr. James Baker has done it all. He has worked in the government and academia, in small pharma and big pharma. He also spent five years as the CEO and CMO of Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). Yet when I told him he'd done an amazing amount of work he modestly answered, "I guess that’s how it appears when you get old."

This same combination of humility and sense of humor is apparent in his brief self-description at the bottom of his posts on Pandemic Pondering: A Daily Blog, the website he began when COVID-19 hit last March — immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy. It takes navigating to the site's About page to find out he has published more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, is an inventor on 50 patents, has founded four companies and had many other accomplishments that are too numerous to list.

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Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

We know any attack of anaphylaxis can might fatal. We also know that promptly administering epinephrine saves lives. A recent study found over 20% of correctly diagnosed anaphylaxis incidents in children weren’t treated with epinephrine. Why? Dr Wes Sublett, Research Director of the Family Allergy & Asthma Research Institute, provides some of the answers in the article below.

Epinephrine Not Being Used Often Enough for Anaphylaxis in Children

Rosie-the-Riviter holding AuviQ-ChildDose package

By Dave Bloom

We know that prompt administration of epinephrine as soon as anaphylaxis is suspected leads to better outcomes, but are we using it often enough when our kids react? (Hint: No, we’re not.)

“Predictors for epinephrine undertreatment have been poorly studied,” write Neta Cohen, MD, of the division of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

So Cohen and colleagues reviewed the charts of 368 children (median age, 5.4 years) who presented with anaphylaxis-like symptoms to a busy tertiary care facility emergency department (ED) in Toronto.

They determined that although 90.8% of the children were correctly diagnosed with anaphylaxis, nearly a quarter (23.7%) were not treated with epinephrine. Of those, 13 had full resolution of signs and symptoms during the ED presentation.

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Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

If you or a loved one has a food allergy, you know that dining out can be very challenging. From the listing of possible allergens to details on food preparation, accurate information can be hard to come by. It can be frustrating and possibly lethal, even though restaurants are the second most common location for a food allergy reaction, with over a quarter of those reactions requiring epinephrine. While laws vary from state to state, there is no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens or to mandate training of restaurant staff.

Allergic Reactions in Restaurants Are Common, Yet Training Lags

A woman and friend in a restaurant with food

By Jenifer Goodwin
January 17, 2021

Restaurants are the second most common location for food allergy reactions after the home, a new study finds, and more than one in four of those reactions are severe enough to require epinephrine.

Yet there remains no federal legislation requiring restaurants to inform customers about allergens in their food, or to train food preparers about food allergies and avoiding cross-contact. Although a few states have enacted their own regulations requiring food allergy safety training, these laws are not equally robust from state to state.

Allergist Dr. Thomas Casale, a co-author of the study, says the findings underscore the need to require food allergy training for staff, and for restaurants to disclose allergens on menus.

“There should be mandatory training for restaurant staff and people that prepare the food,” including education on the major allergens, communicating about food allergies, and avoiding cross-contact, says Casale, medical adviser for the non-profit FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education).

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New Study Examines Allergic Reactions to Sunflowers

A new study being presented at the 2021 AAAAI Virtual Annual Meeting, taking place February 26 – March 1, examines the clinical and immunologic features of patients who have sensitivity to sunflower seeds.

New Study Examines Allergic Reactions to Sunflowers

Picture of Sunflower Seeds

February 08, 2021

A new case series looking at patients who have positive sunflower seed-specific IgE will be introduced during the 2021 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) Virtual Annual Meeting. While the abstract of this research was included in an online supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that was published February 1, the full poster (#299) will be presented at the 2021 AAAAI Virtual Annual Meeting.

The retrospective case series examined 117 adult patients sensitive to sunflower seeds. These patients underwent skin tests and detection of specific IgE. At times, oral food challenges were also recommended and performed. A total of 28 patients were recognized to have a clinical allergy to sunflower seed, amounting to 24% of those included in the study. Most of those also had a history of atopic disease and reactions to nuts and Rosaceae fruit. Fourteen patients (50%) suffered anaphylaxis, with all of those reactions graded as moderate save one. Of those suffering from anaphylaxis, 71% needed to go to the emergency department.

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