Ask Dr. Manny: I heard a finding about children, asthma and a germ in their stomachs. What’s this all about?
Toasting the New Year is a tradition that can cause more than a headache the next day. For some people, drinking may also trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
“It is usually not the alcohol itself that produces the reaction. It is most likely ingredients, such as sulfur dioxide (metabisulfite), yeast and additives. Common allergic reactions include hives, skin rashes, flushing and warmth of the skin, bronchospasm or shortness of breath, especially in those with asthma,” according to Clifford W. Bassett, MD, FAAAAI, Chair of the Public Education Committee of the AAAAI.
The key preservative in wine is sulfur dioxide. It is naturally produced by wine yeast in small quantities during fermentation. Sulfur dioxide is also used as a preservative in foods such as dried fruits, baked goods, condiments, canned foods, shellfish, frozen shrimp, canned tomatoes, frozen potatoes and fruit juices. If you tend to have a reaction to these foods, you may also experience it with wine.
Histamine can be another culprit. Bacteria and yeast in the alcohol generate it. Histamine is naturally released by the body during an allergic reaction so even if you don’t have an actual allergy, drinking alcoholic beverages may cause a runny or stuffy nose, itchy, runny eyes or worsening of asthma symptoms. Red wines often have a larger amount of histamines than white wines.
If you think you are allergic to beer, it is most likely the barley, corn, wheat or rye in beer that may cause similar allergic reactions.
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, visit www.aaaai.org for more tips and information that can help you have a happy, healthy new year.
Original article on Medical News Today
While many people report added stress during the holidays, doctors say the season can also uncover hidden allergies that would otherwise go unnoticed. NY1’s Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
Dana Conte is allergic to almost everything, including Christmas trees.
“My family has a tendency of getting live, real trees and I am in charge of decorations. So last year and I was not thinking, normally I usually put gloves on…didn’t think anything of wear the gloves because it was late at night. Wake up and from my forearm, my elbow straight down to the tips of my fingers was one big red blotch,” Conte said.
Seasonal triggers are often red flags. That’s why Bassett says this is another good time of the year to get checked for allergies.
“Indoor allergies can really fluctuate and build up during the holidays particulary a few years ago where you started to notice a trend where people would have fresh Christmas trees within five to six days, itchy eyes, irritate noses, scratchy throat cough,” Bassett said. “Or it can be things such as garlands, wreathes and other things and again during the holidays you have the fireplace going, you have the yule log, you also have scented products such as potpourri, fragrance candles, all these things can be irritants during the holidays.”
For Conte who works in the hospitality industry, party food and holiday meals can also be shaky territory.
“There have been times where I’ve gone to work. They’ve changed the recipe on the stuffing. I ate it and it was delicious. I’ll go home and I’ll have to use my epi-pen because there was peanut oil in the stuffing or they used it on the turkey baste or something,” Conte said.
Sometimes what you think might be food allergies could actually be food sensitivity. And with all of the eating and drinking going on this time of year, doctors say it might actually be a good time to start up a food journal to see what you may be reacting to.
“Studies indicate about one out of four people think they have a food allergy,” Bassett said. “The incidence of food allergy is a lot lower and the reason is because people may have a food intolerance such as lactose intolerance or other conditions, acid reflux that can cause irritation or problems and sometimes it can be easily confused with a food allergy.”
To determine whether or not you have a food allergy, Bassett says it’s still best to get tested. If you need it, you can always have an action plan in place for what to avoid or how to treat allergic reactions. That way you can spend less time in the doctor’s office, and more time celebrating the holidays.
Original article and video on NY 1
It’s one thing to toss aside thoughts of calories and weight gain on Thanksgiving. But indulging isn’t so easy for people with food allergies and diabetes. Here is some Thanksgiving meal advice for people with special eating concerns—and for those preparing their dinner:
People with food allergies should plan their strategy before Thanksgiving arrives. “If you’re being invited to someone’s house for dinner, tell the person that you have an allergy,” advises Clifford Bassett, chair of the public education committee at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. The same goes for people who intend to dine in a restaurant on Thanksgiving. Call the restaurant a few days prior to your visit to inform a manager or the chef of your requirements. Besides ensuring that your meal itself doesn’t contain allergens, it gives you the opportunity to ask that the chef not use the same utensils to prepare your meals as he does to work with food containing ingredients you’re sensitive to, Bassett says. Parents traveling for Thanksgiving with children who have food allergies may want to take along safe snacks. You’ll avoid questionable foods at the airport and ensure that your child doesn’t graze on potentially dangerous treats or appetizers at a family member’s house.
If you’re cooking a meal for a large group on Thanksgiving, it might be a good idea to ask your guests about any food allergies, a health problem that is becoming increasingly common. A study published online by the journal Pediatrics this month found that, since 1993, the number of kids with food allergies has increased 18 percent and that the number of children who get treatment in hospital emergency departments for food allergies has tripled.
For those with diabetes, it’s OK to indulge a bit on Thanksgiving, says Nora Saul, manager for nutrition services for the adult division of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. But you should not skip a meal before dinner in an effort to keep calories down or control blood sugar. Instead, “still have regular meals but try to choose things that have good sources of fiber so you’ll be more filled up by the time you get to dinner,” Saul says.
Also, think ahead to what favorite foods you are likely to encounter during Thanksgiving dinner—your aunt’s dinner rolls, for example—and try to limit consumption of foods that you’re not so excited about. That way, your overall carbohydrate count for that day “may be a little higher than normal but [still] remains reasonable,” Saul says. And try to fit in a little exercise; physical activity helps to lower blood sugar levels.
For cooks preparing Thanksgiving dinner for people with diabetes, there are simple steps that can help make the meal a healthier one for everyone, not just for diabetics. Saul advises using lower-fat ingredients, choosing lean cuts of meats, using sugar substitutes when preparing food, and offering low-fat desserts and other alternatives to sweet desserts, such as fruits.
Saul advises people with diabetes not to feel guilty for enjoying a good Thanksgiving meal. You can get back to your traditional meal plan on Black Friday.
Original article on US News Health
A 12-year-old has a condition that causes her to sneeze continuously.
How kids with food allergies can have a happy and safe Halloween.
MILWAUKEE, Oct. 27 (UPI) — Parents of children with asthma need to help their kids avoid Halloween triggers, a U.S. doctor advises.
Dr. Clifford Bassett of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says little attention is given to the dangers lurking in Halloween festivities for those with asthma.
“If your child suffers from asthma and/or allergies, be aware and prepared for potential triggers to ensure a safe and fun time for all during the holidays,” Bassett says in a statement.
When children go trick-or-treating, parents should be prepared and keep a rescue inhaler close at hand.
Ways the academy doctors advise parents to avoid asthma triggers include:
— Keep the child mask-free. Masks can contain latex or harbor dust and mold. So can recycled costumes from the attic or basement. Wash new costumes before wearing.
— Keep the child on the doorstep while trick-or-treating to avoid cigarette smoke, pet dander and other in-house triggers.
— Keep an eye on the weather. Cold air and humidity can make breathing difficult for a child with asthma. Be sure to dress for conditions.
— Keep children home if they don’t feel well. Hold off on trick-or-treating. Cold and flu symptoms can severely aggravate asthma conditions.
Original article on UPI.com
Doctors worry about shortage of seasonal flu vaccine for at-risk patients.
For the past month and a half, Dr. Clifford Bassett has spent countless hours on the phone, trying to find enough seasonal flu vaccine for his patients.
He has been unsuccessful.
“Every time I call [the supplier], I can’t get an answer,” said Bassett, director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. “They say, ‘Wait until September.’ September comes around, and they say, ‘Wait until October.’
Dr. Ulder Tillman, health officer for Montgomery County, Md., reported similar problems.
“The full-demand needs of mass flu clinics across the country were not fully anticipated,” he said. “Several school-based vaccination clinics had to be canceled for lack of vaccine; community health centers … have not been able to vaccinate their patients, [and] some private providers [say] they, too, are out of vaccine.”
Bassett and Tillman are just two of a number of medical professionals across the country who suspect that the energy invested in getting out the H1N1 vaccine is pushing production and delivery of the seasonal flu vaccines to the wayside.
Bassett said he has called several colleagues in New York City to see if anyone else was having this problem and found that, while some pharmacies have the flu shot in stock, “doctors can’t get supply at their offices. & I don’t think there’s ever been an issue before where we couldn’t get enough seasonal flu vaccine.”
Meanwhile, medical professionals in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey and New York said they are getting only a fraction of the seasonal flu vaccine they ordered, according to ABC News and The Associated Press.
In all of these states, the story seems to be the same: Manufacturers are cancelling or delaying shipments, and many states will run out of flu shots until new shipments come in mid to late November. Consequently, many are having to cancel seasonal flu clinics and ration seasonal vaccine by need.
Bassett said he has heard of at least one doctor taking unusual measures to obtain doses of the vaccine.
“A colleague of mine needed flu vaccine and literally had to pay almost three times the usual cost to obtain some from an unscrupulous vendor,” he said.
Swine Flu Vaccine Concerns Edge Out Seasonal Supply
Although most providers expect to receive enough seasonal flu vaccine by November, the current shortage is causing some concern.
Seasonal flu, generally speaking, is a much more serious illness than most people appreciate. Even a typical flu season results in 36,000 U.S> deaths each year, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Iowa, the Polk County Health Department has had to cancel all 31 of its community flu and pneumonia clinics for the month of October because of the lack of vaccine. With 1,000 flu shots remaining, Health Department Director Terri Henkels said, the shipment for more vaccine has been delayed until early- or mid-November.
In Minneapolis, walk-in flu clinics for seasonal flu vaccine have been cancelled until Oct. 21, and, in St. Louis, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has cancelled three dates for free seasonal flu shots because of a shortage of flu shots and “higher-than-expected” demand.
Although he admitted that there are seasonal flu vaccine shortages throughout the city of Madison, Steven Van Dinter, spokesman for SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, is less concerned. “Typically we don’t do seasonal flu vaccination clinics in September, so there’s some time to play with. & There will be plenty for people eventually. It’s just right now there’s a shortage.”
In Montana, health officials are putting forth a similar message, saying that while shipping delays have created a shortage of seasonal flu vaccine in the state, citizens and providers should not be concerned as back orders of flu shots will arrive well before flu season kicks into high gear in December.
Flu Shots May Be Too Late for Some
But while most states are reporting that H1N1 is the predominant flu circulating, Bassett warned that “by the time we get the supply [of seasonal flu shots], it might be too little too late. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to work, and they are asking people to wait two week between the seasonal flu shot and getting the swine flu vaccine.
“I have a lot of patients at high risk, pregnant women, people with asthma or heart disease & that need to be protected now.”
Original article from ABC News
(CNN) — Sneezing and wheezing may stamp out those flames of desire. A new study reveals that allergies could be getting in the way of amorous activities.
In a study, allergy sufferers reported more problems with sleep and sexual activity than other groups.
“If you can’t breathe, and your nose is running, and your eyes are itchy, and you’re sneezing, and you feel awful and you feel tired, you don’t feel very sexy,” said Dr. Michael S. Benninger, chairman of the Head and Neck Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and a lead author of a recent study.
In the study published in the latest edition of Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, 83 percent of people with allergic rhinitis reported that their condition affected sexual activities.
When a person with allergic rhinitis breathes in an allergen such as pollen or dust, he or she can get symptoms such as itching, swelling and sniffling.
“When we look at how people interpret the disability of allergies, they show people who can’t go to a park or can’t appreciate their kid’s ball games,” Benninger said. But sexual activities also affect quality of life, he said.
“We’re hoping this would stimulate people to start looking beyond the typical symptoms of allergic disease and looking at the impact of how people live,” said Benninger. “It’s really not your nasal congestion that’s the issue. It’s really how your nasal congestion impacts how you function. It’s looking at the quality of life.”
In the study, Benninger and a co-author compared answers from more than 700 people consisting of allergy sufferers, people who have similar symptoms but do not have the condition, and a control group.
Compared to the other two groups, allergy sufferers described more discomfort related to sleep, fatigue and sexual activity. Only 3 percent of people said their allergies never affected sleep.
“Almost all allergy sufferers feel it impacts their sleep,” Benninger said. “If you can’t breathe, you’re not going to sleep well.”
Twenty-seven percent reported that allergies almost never affected their sexual activity and 38.8 percent said it sometimes affected it. Another 17 percent answered that it always or almost always had an effect.
The study did not ask patients the reason why their allergies affected their sex life.
“It can be speculated that the chronic obstruction, runny nose, sneezing and decreased smell may all result in impacting the satisfaction of sexual activity,” researchers wrote in the study. “Even the simple act of kissing may be altered by these symptoms. Many people may not feel ‘sexy’ or may actually be embarrassed by their symptoms so that they would avoid intimate contact.”
About 17 percent of those with allergies said their condition never affected sexual activity.
“The number of people who said this did not affect them was quite, quite small — indicating that this is a problem that’s out there,” said Dr. Clifford Bassett, a medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, who was not involved in the research. “They’re not talking about it with their practitioners. And their practitioners are probably not asking about it.”
Bassett said the way allergies affect people’s sex lives has not been examined very closely.
“I do hear anecdotally from time to time patients saying, ‘I don’t feel very sexy or attractive because my nose is running. There’s an itch in my nose. My face is itchy. I’m stuffy. I can’t breathe. I can’t do exercise whether it’s lovemaking or anything else that affects me,’ ” he said.
This could be a hidden and more widespread problem, said Bassett, who plans to ask how allergies affect sexual activities in patient questionnaires.
“The bottom line: It’s a high number of people in this study that indicated this was a problem,” Bassett said. “I think we need to do a better job discussing this with patients.”
Benninger recommended patients find out what they are allergic to, so they can avoid the irritants. For example, a person allergic to pollen should close the window in his or her bedroom to keep the allergen out, he suggested.
“If you’re allergic to cats and let’s assume that the bedroom is the most frequent place for intimacy and your cat lays on the pillow, and then you go in at night, and you’re now sneezing — that kind of kills it,” he said. “There are things people can do to control their environments.”
Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat allergies. Allergy sufferers whose sex lives have been affected should avoid sedating antihistamines, which could make a person sleepy, or oral decongestants, which can make a person feel anxious, Benninger said.
“The most important thing is allergies should not be a factor that impacts intimacy and sexual activity,” he said.
Original article from CNN Health