These days, we're hearing a lot about the benefits of a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein that makes dough elastic, and it's found in many of the staple food items we consume every day. While many people without sensitivity to the substance are opting for these diets, those with gluten allergies have a more urgent reason to cut this substance out of their daily routines.
Gluten sensitivity differs from many food allergies, as it can have chronic, malignant effects on the intestines, muscles, and joints. Over 250 symptoms have been observed in patients with an observed sensitivity. Patients most commonly complain of bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. This condition has a genetic origin: there are several types of sensitivity, each traceable to the body's failure to handle these specific proteins properly.
It's important to distinguish gluten allergies from other similar conditions, such as celiac disease and wheat allergies. Celiac disease is, in fact, a specific kind of gluten sensitivity that is treated by cutting the protein from a patient's diet. However, the disease poses a host of risks to the immune system that an allergic condition does not. Wheat allergy is often confused with gluten intolerance, but it involves a reaction to a totally different set of substances.
How is gluten intolerance diagnosed? Well, the jury's still out on this. At present, researchers have not found any surefire biomarkers to indicate the disorder. Physicians will often ask patients to undergo a "gluten challenge," during which they are required to either regularly eat or cut out the substance for a specified time period. A diagnosis can then be made based on any symptoms patients experience. Those who seem prone to intolerance are advised to cut this protein from their diet, which means excluding foods that contain wheat, barley, rye, and cross-contaminated oats.
If you're experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, you should consider asking your doctor about getting tested for gluten allergies. The sooner you know, the sooner you'll be able to modify your habits for a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Thanksgiving is the time of year when cooks prepare magnificent feasts. Special dishes are often served that you just don't get the rest of the year. These yummy recipes are great, but you need to be careful if you have food allergies. The best way to enjoy a holiday meal is to identify allergies, make food substitutions, and communicate your needs to the cook.
Make a list of foods that you cannot eat. This will refresh your memory, and you can give the list to the cook if you will be sharing a meal at a friend or relative's home.
When you are doing the cooking, you can create side dishes that do not contain the ingredients that you can't eat. That is one of the simplest solutions, or you can make ingredient substitutions and still enjoy a nice meal.
Most people with food allergies can eat fresh slices of vegetables like carrots, celery, or cucumbers. If you are allergic to milk products, however, you need to check the ingredients in the homemade dips that often accompany these veggies or avoid them all together.
The Main Course
The best turkeys are those that are tender and juicy. However, if you have an allergy to wheat, you need to be careful when choosing the turkey. Turkeys that are exceptionally juicy are often injected with wheat that many people cannot tolerate. Check the label on the packaging to determine if it contains wheat. Another alternative is to buy gluten-free birds. Also keep in mind that gravy purchased from the store contains wheat. Making your own gravy is safer and probably tastier.
Many different cooks often prepare Holiday meals, so it may be hard to convey what you cannot eat ahead of time. If some dishes look questionable, just politely ask what the ingredients are. The cooks will certainly rather answer a few questions that have you suffer through an allergy attack.
Individuals with food allergies must take great care to be selective about what they eat during the holidays. Just because you have to be careful doesn't mean you can't have any fun. As long as you make sure to check the ingredients of each dish you try, you're sure to be able to taste your way through the season!
Dogs make wonderful pets and are found in many homes throughout the world. However, about 10 percent of the people in the United States are actually allergic to some dogs and experience itchy eyes, stuffy noses, wheezing, sneezing, and coughing when they are around them. Nevertheless, people with pet allergies still want the love and companionship provided by these animals. There are some ways to make this possible.
For starters, it's important to realize that you're not actually allergic to dogs – you're allergic to their dander. Dog hair is actually not the allergen, but it contains dog dander that people are often allergic to. Dander consists of old skin cells that are shed from a dog. Saliva and dog urine also contain dander. Choosing a dog that sheds less and produces less dander could make it possible for you to have this pet in your home. Read on for some of the best breeds for those with pet allergies.
Choosing a Breed
The Chinese Crested Hairless has just a little hair on the tail, feet and head. It is considered to be a popular breed for those people who have pet allergies because it has so little hair to carry dander.
The American Hairless Terrier was specifically bred to reduce allergy symptoms. People who react to many other types of breeds often do just fine with this terrier.
Miniature Poodles shed just a little hair and usually make good pets for anyone suffering from allergies.
The Bichon Frise has a double coat, which helps to lessen the amount of dander that is shed and reduce allergy symptoms for the pet owner.
These breeds are suggestions that seem to work well for those people with known pet allergies. However, it doesn't mean that all people can tolerate these breeds. You should spend a little time with the dog you are considering to see how you personally react. With the proper breed, pet ownership could be in the cards for even those with the worst allergies!
Traveling can create unique challenges for people with allergies. Hotels may have dust mites or even mold, and airplanes and trains seem to always contain an allergy trigger. Whether it's from spending time in new places or around new people, you're likely to be exposed to something that can irritate your allergy conditions. Try a few of the following tips on your next journey to make your allergies less of an issue.
Get medications refilled before your trip. In case of travel delays, it may be a good idea to carry an extra dose of medications. Medications should always be packed in a carry-on bag or purse for easy access. Never pack them in luggage that could be lost at the airport. It is also a good idea to keep all medications in original containers to get through airport security.
Additionally, people that have an allergy to food should put snacks in their carry-on so they can avoid disagreeable foods on airlines and trains.
Try to locate a hotel that offers allergy-friendly rooms. Some hotels are now totally smoke-free, which could be helpful. Avoid smoke-free rooms that are located one floor above the smokers' floor. The smoke can rise up to your floor and aggravate your allergies.
Many hotels advertise if they are pet friendly. Since animal dander can be tough to control or clean up, your allergies may act up if a dog or a cat has recently stayed in the room you are assigned. These hotels should be avoided when you have allergies to animal dander.
Pollution is generally at its lowest during the late evening and early morning hours. It is a good idea to use the recirculation setting when running your air conditioner in the car, so you do not pull in outside air. This minimizes your chances of being exposed to environmental elements that may trigger your allergies.
Although it is illegal on most domestic flights, some international flights may still permit smoking. If you have allergies, request a seat far from the smoking area.
Taking some of these things into consideration is a nice way to ensure that your travel will be as easy as possible. Never let your allergies get in the way of going on a trip and having an adventure again!
We are hearing talk of food allergies more often because there seems to be an increase in allergies found in children. What should you do if you think your child might have an allergy? Stay calm and consider these important points. Don't hesitate to contact a pediatric allergist if you see serious symptoms.
If you are familiar with some of the symptoms of food allergies, you may think about trying to diagnose your child but this is usually a mistake. Common symptoms can include stomach pain, hives, sneezing, coughing, itching or diarrhea. Diagnosing a food allergy is difficult because many of the symptoms could be pointing to another problem and not necessarily a food allergy.
Changing a Diet
Parents assume that changing the child's diet is the best course of action when in reality it is another pitfall. Health professionals don’t recommend changing a child's diet before you have seen a pediatric allergist. It is actually harder to get a proper diagnosis when foods are removed from a diet. Eliminating essential food groups from a child's diet can be unhealthy and they could become deficient in key nutrients needed for growth.
Keep a Log
Write down all the food your child eats for a couple of weeks and note any symptoms seen after eating. It is a good idea to note the time they ate in relation to the time a symptom may have appeared. A log with two weeks worth of documentation can help a specialist to rule out several foods and determine a better recommendation.
Since most parents do not have the training to properly determine what is wrong with their child, it is best to get professional help. Avoid practitioners who are not qualified to test for food allergies. If you see unusual symptoms, contact a pediatric allergist to get your child tested. Consult with a dietitian about food and nutrition if your allergist finds problems.
Parents and schools have come to realize the seriousness of treating severe allergic reactions quickly with allergy shots. Schools are taking the initiative to see that epinephrine auto-injectors are available and used to stop allergic reactions in children and staff.
Federal legislation for keeping epinephrine at schools was signed by President Obama in 2013. The Emergency Epinephrine Act provides strong incentives for states to legislate epinephrine and provide trained personnel to dispense the shots. All states except two already have legislation in place or having pending legislation ready to go. Rhode Island and New Hampshire have no legislation in place for stocking schools with epinephrine at this time.
Anaphylaxis is a dangerous allergic reaction, which can be life-threatening. Allergy shots containing epinephrine can stop allergic reactions in an instant. Most classrooms have an average of at least two children with known food allergies that may need immediate attention and require an injection of epinephrine.
Medications, foods, insect stings, latex and other triggers can cause anaphylaxis reactions. In most cases, 90 percent of food allergies are the result of eating soy, milk, tree nuts, shellfish, peanuts, fish or wheat. In some instances a child merely has to touch or inhale an allergen to have an allergic reaction.
Now that most states have epinephrine legislation in place, it will be up to the schools to keep epinephrine and find the money to make the purchases. In addition, the schools must provide training to teachers, nurses and administrative personnel for administering shots. Auto-injectors come loaded with medication that is dispensed with a small needle into the upper region of the thigh.
Parents who have children with known allergies are advised to have their children carry their own allergy shots. Young children can easily lose their epinephrine shots, so emergency epinephrine auto-injectors stored on the school's premise provides an excellent backup source.
Peanut allergies have frustrated researchers for a long time but they may have finally found a solution to the problem. Recently, researchers from the Oxford University found possibly conclusive evidence regarding the cause of peanut allergies. The results may surprise you.
People consume peanuts fried, boiled, raw or dry-roasted and they are found in a number of commercial products. Unfortunately, allergies to peanuts are quite common and symptoms can be severe. So, why do some people have food allergies to peanuts and some do not? Researchers now believe that the processing process is the key.
It has been known for a long time that Western countries have higher incidents of peanut allergies than people in East Asia. Genetic backgrounds may play a small part in whether people have allergies. However, researchers know that people in East Asia have a preference for fried, boiled or raw peanuts and Western people seem to prefer dry-roasted peanuts.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Oxford University conducted studies with mice to determine if the roasting process could possibly cause allergies. Mice received injections of dry-roasted nuts or raw nuts to see if they reacted differently.
Mice that received dry-roasted samples had strong immune system responses indicating a definite reaction to dry-roasted peanuts. The results of the study indicate that peanut roasting at high-temperatures to make dry-roasted nuts and peanut butter is more than likely causing allergies than raw peanuts.
In addition to studying peanut processing, researchers from the Cambridge University found that children exposed to small amounts of nuts over time might become desensitized to peanuts. These exciting breakthroughs could make a huge difference for people suffering from peanut allergies. The studies are still in the early stages of development, but researchers are making positive strides in determining the causes of peanut allergies.
For unknown reasons, allergies are on the rise in classrooms. One in 13 children is likely to develop allergies and need a pediatric allergist. As a parent, you need to know the symptoms of allergies and how to protect children from serious illness.
Symptoms from allergies can appear in just a few minutes or take several hours before they are noticed. Mild symptoms could include difficulty breathing, hives, itching or coughing. Dangerous symptoms may include wheezing, chest pain, trouble swallowing or losing consciousness.
Children are often diagnosed by a pediatric allergist as being allergic to eggs, wheat and milk products when they are young. Surprisingly, many children grow out of these allergies as they mature. However, in some cases, children that are allergic to shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts or fish deal with allergy symptoms for life.
When sending your child to school each fall, you may notice an increase in allergy like symptoms not associated with food. Schools have a unique environment filled with odors from new flooring, dust, animal dander, dust mites and chalk dust. A visit to school could reveal the source of allergy symptoms such as classroom pets or dirty chalk boards.
Teach Your Child About Food Allergies
Make sure your child knows exactly what foods they are allergic to, and you should explain why they should not eat them. Teach your child not to trade food with other kids. Make sure your child has access to epinephrine at school if required. Talk to them about the dangers of eating home-baked goods or foods with unknown ingredients. Teach your children to recognize allergy symptoms and where to go for help at school.
Working with the School
If your pediatric allergist has determined your child has an allergy, you need to advise the school of the situation. Talk to the nurse, cafeteria staff, administrators and teachers to explain the allergy and care needs. Provide an Emergency Care Plan with the school listing details and emergency contact information.
Breastfeeding has seen an increase in popularity in recent years, with advocates touting a number of benefits for both mother and baby. Two recent studies provide more information on the health-related benefits that many babies enjoy. Specifically, experts credit breast feeding with a lowered allergy risk and number of ear, throat, and sinus infections.
As a pediatric allergist, these findings are incredibly meaningful. Dealing with allergies as a young child and into adulthood can be a taxing responsibility, and knowing that perhaps we have some way of limiting the likelihood of that happening is reassuring for parents everywhere.
The first study presents data gathered from the medical office visits of an estimated 1,300 6-year-olds. The results showed that children who had been breastfed for nine or more months had significantly lower odds of getting an ear, throat, or sinus infection than children who had not. Doctors cited the fact that a mother’s milk provides immunologic protection that can have a lasting impact later in life.
A second study provided some remarkable information about the potential for a greatly reduced allergy risk in children who were breastfed for a period of at least four months after their birth. Researchers found that these children, who had been exclusively breastfed, were approximately 50 percent less likely to develop allergies than those who had been breastfed for a shorter period of time. They warn that these numbers did not apply evenly to high-risk children whose families have an established history of food allergies. Low-risk populations were much more prone to seeing a dramatic improvement.
Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breastfeed exclusively for six months, then use other foods to supplement the baby’s diet through at least the first birthday. With findings like these, which point to a much lower infection or allergy risk, it won’t be surprising to see more and more new moms pursuing the idea of breastfeeding for their little ones when it is possible.
For those who suffer from asthma, treatment is more than important–in the most serious of cases, receiving quality care can be a matter of life and death. Those with the most advanced and complicated cases depend on medication on a daily basis just to stay alive. And while a complex, customized mix of inhalers and pills can often grant relief, it may take more than that to fight this disease.
Researchers and industry experts continue to work to provide new and better solutions for patients. As new products become available, allergists are creating more and more individualized plans that give their patients a better quality of life. They take factors like age, symptoms, severity of the disease, and any potential medication side effects into consideration. Furthermore, an asthma treatment plan may be altered year to year, or even more than once per year, as new medications and other options become available.
Inhalers are often the first option that’s explored. Many combine a steroid with a bronchodilator. Pills known as leukotriene receptors reduce airway inflammation by blocking the chemical reaction that causes it. These pills use a different approach than inhalers in that they do not have steroids. Some patients use a combination of both treatments or of multiple inhalers to treat their symptoms.
Those with the most severe symptoms cannot get relief by using these prescription medications. For situations such as this, the newly FDA-approved procedure known as bronchial thermoplasty may be an ideal solution. The entire procedure is spread out over a series of 3 surgeries in which a catheter is inserted into the lungs. A powerful heat destroys the smooth muscle there that is often guilty of restricting airways. This smooth muscle not only restricts and blocks airways, but it can also constrict lungs further in response to an allergy trigger.
While bronchial thermoplasty is only recommended in the most severe of cases, it’s good to know that researchers continue to develop new solutions for those who seek asthma treatment.