Summer greetings! We actually had a few days in a row without rain so all are rejoicing. It is now bee sting season and you would be amazed at the number of children as well as adults who do not know they are allergic. Even if you have been stung previously in your life with no problem, you could become allergic over time. If you are at a fitness club, outdoor pool, summer camp, daycare center or restaurant, be sure and mention to the manager that they are now allowed to stock epinephrine auto-injector devices to use in an emergency. Your Allergy Advocacy Association will provide training on how to administer it and give them a prescription that can be filled at any Wegmans. Just email us if you know anyone who would be interested.
Be sure to read below about our very successful Food Allergy Awareness Day in Albany. We are now even more aware of all the work that still needs to be done, particularly keeping the pharmaceutical companies in line. But step by step we will get there….
Here’s wishing you and your family a safe and happy summer!
It was great to have the chance to meet in person with our legislators at our Food Allergy Awareness Day, and we are gratified for all their support of our efforts. However, we remain concerned about recent actions by large pharmaceutical companies who produce epinephrine and its generics. There are reports of possible price fixing, intentional shortages, and expiration dates that are much too brief. Read below about our specific concerns and what you can do to help.
Successful Food Allergy Awareness Day Event, but the Epi Crisis Becomes More Complicated
By Jon Terry June 8th, 2019
Greetings from western New York. For the past few years, New York State lawmakers have enthusiastically sponsored Food Allergy Awareness Day at the state capitol in Albany. The Allergy Advocacy Association acted in concert with AM Thomas J. Abinanti and NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera with planning and scheduling for our event held on May 15th. We hosted more than thirty adults and children, most of them coping with life-threatening allergies each and every day. Our event featured many meetings with Senators, Assembly Members and their staffs; most lawmakers did express support for our program of action. At our exhibit booth in the Legislative Office Building, reporters for local media outlets conducted several interviews with lawmakers and visitors. In my opinion I think it was a great day! Our association firmly believes this annual event is very important for all individuals and families at risk for anaphylaxis in New York State.
You can blame genetically modified food for many things, but allergens are not one of them. The main reason is the major culprits such as peanuts, shellfish, milk and eggs are not genetically modified, at least as of yet. This article explains some of the future risks of genetically modifying food and how regulatory agencies are keeping a close eye on this research. Possible explanations are given for the current surge in allergies in children, as well as current methods to help prevent these allergies.
Over the last 30 years, reported cases of food allergies — especially in young children — have gone up.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4 percent of children under 18 have some kind of food or digestive allergy. That number represents an increase of 18 percent for all food allergies among children between 1997 and 2007.
For some foods, the increase has been even greater. For example, peanut allergy prevalence has quadrupled from 0.4 percent in 1997 to more than 2 percent in 2010. In fact, peanut allergy is now the leading cause of anaphylactic shock — the most severe form of allergy — due to food in the United States. And the problem isn’t just confined to the US: hospital admissions for food-related anaphylaxis has seen a seven-fold rise in the United Kingdom since 1990.
“When in doubt, just do it!” A recent study by Canadian researchers found the best possible outcomes for those experiencing anaphylaxis resulted when epinephrine was administered before the patient reached the hospital. With 3,500 participants, the study also found that administering steroids and antihistamines can have a negative effect on patient outcomes. Antihistamines are part of many treatment plans in a pre-hospital setting for managing anaphylaxis (such as in schools or at home). This is certainly something that should be addressed in the medical community since many treatment plans given to schools indicate that Benadryl should be administered first. Sadly, less than one-third of anaphylactic reactions in these 3,500 patients were treated with epinephrine before arriving at the hospital, while antihistamines were used in 46 percent of cases.
Involving nearly 3,500 patients, it is the largest study to assess the clinical outcomes of pre-hospital treatment of anaphylaxis, including the use of epinephrine autoinjector, antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine known most commonly as its brand name Benadryl) and corticosteroids. Of the patients examined, 80 percent were children aged 1 to 17 years.
Heaven forbid that a family pre-board a flight before an airline thinks they are supposed to! The MacKenzie family of Washington state has a daughter with multiple food allergies, and they simply wanted to wipe down the seating area before two American Airlines flights. The airline refused, but the Department of Transportation sided with the family, stating that food allergies should be considered a disability under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). American has since updated its policy, but only for those with tree and peanut allergies.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has found American Airlines in violation of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) for failing to allow the family of a girl with multiple food allergies the right to pre-board two flights. It has issued a warning to the airline about this violation.
DOT found that the refusal to allow the Washington state family to pre-board flights to and from Portland to Charlotte, NC (via Dallas), was a violation of ACAA’s provision that allows pre-boarding for disabilities. Nicole MacKenzie had phoned the airline asking that she and her family be allowed to pre-board their September 2016 flights, so that they could wipe down the seating area before general boarding.
The mother said her daughter Isla, then 7 years old, has severe allergies to tree nuts, peanuts and sesame. Wiping the area was meant to reduce the chance the girl would be exposed to residue from her allergens. At that time, MacKenzie was told this was against the policy of American Airlines (AA), which specifically denied pre-boarding for food allergies.