Many with a severe allergy seem to think that an anaphylaxis reaction only happens to other people. A recent survey of 917 respondents found that 89 percent of the adults surveyed said they filled their prescriptions, but 45 percent said they didn’t have their device during their most severe allergic reaction — despite having had previous medical emergencies. What’s going on? Reasons given for not filling and carrying the prescription were cost, bulkiness, allergy not severe, no history of previous reaction and that they already had one or more. Perhaps we need a public information campaign to remind people to carry their EAI devices at all times.
Could the mystery of the cause of allergies be a bacterium that now seems to have disappeared from the guts of infants? Called B. infantis, nine out of 10 American babies don’t harbor this bacterium in their gut as compared to those in less industrialized countries. The cause could be the rise in cesarean births, the overuse of antibiotics or the use of infant formula in place of breast milk. Studies suggest that by the time babies without B. infantis are older, they are more likely to have allergies and Type 1 diabetes — and be overweight.
We may be missing the key to one of the biggest boons to public health since the introduction of iodine into the food supply in 1924.
Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have found that a strain of bacteria called B. infantis that is thought to have been the dominant bacterium in the infant gut for all of human history is disappearing from the Western world. According to their research, this was probably caused by the rise in cesarean births, the overuse of antibiotics and the use of infant formula in place of breast milk.
As if they don’t have enough to deal with already, a recent study conducted at the University of Iowa found that children with autism are more likely to have a food, respiratory, or skin allergy. The researchers surveyed 200,000 U.S. children between the ages of 3 and 17 in the years between 2007 and 2016 and found that a child with autism might have almost three times the risk of having food allergies. It is also more difficult to diagnose an allergy in kids with autism because many cannot express how they are feeling. Researchers will continue to study possible causes and if the two conditions are somehow related.
Many children do not realize they are allergic to bee stings until they get stung for the first time, while many adults have been stung before and suddenly become deathly allergic. With over 50 deaths a year in the U.S. due to anaphylaxis from insect stings, this important article describes what to do for any sort of insect bite. MRSA, a strain of staph bacteria, can also be a big concern. You can read the full article here.
Summertime means more time outdoors, where you may suffer many types of stings — mosquito bites, wasp bites, bee stings, spider bites, tick bites, or fire ant bites. While most consider insect bites a minor annoyance, they are life-threatening to the two million Americans allergic to their venom. In fact, there are at least 50 deaths each year in the U.S. because of allergic reactions from insect stings. And people who have suffered an allergic reaction have a 60 percent chance of a similar or worse reaction if stung again.
Dr. Ruchi Gupta of the Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago conducted a survey with parents to ask if they felt their child with food allergies was safe at school. One in five parents surveyed felt they did not. They reported they would like to see epinephrine stocked for use on any child in an emergency, school lunch menus should display allergen information, and ingredient labels on food items are needed. They also wanted to see schools provide more food allergy education for students. Hopefully parents will band together and advocate for improvements.
One in five parents did not feel that their child with food allergy was safe while at school, according to results of a national survey published in BMC Pediatrics. While most of the 289 parents surveyed reported that their child’s school had implemented at least one food allergy policy, they felt that more could be done. Nearly 95 percent of the parents surveyed wanted stock epinephrine to be available in school, so that a life-threatening reaction to food could be treated immediately. Most parents also felt that school lunch menus should display allergen information (65 percent reported that this was not done) and that ingredient labels on food items are needed (87 percent reported that ingredient labels were not available). They also wanted to see schools provide more food allergy education for students (72 percent reported no food allergy education for students).