Allergy 4 All

Should babies be given solids earlier to prevent food allergies?

babyeatingIs this one of the worst wrong turns in the history of parenting advice? Telling people to delay the age they start their babies on solid food might be contributing to the rise in food allergies.

Babies used to be given their first solids when they were around 4 months old. Many start showing an interest in the food their family is eating around this time, as well as developing a larger appetite. But since the World Health Organization published a report about a decade ago saying that babies should be exclusively breastfed until 6 months, countries like the UK and US have recommended parents hold off until then.

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Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)

sneezeIf you suffer from allergic rhinitis (hay fever), your mouth or throat may become itchy after eating an apple or celery.

This reaction occurs because the proteins found in some fruits and vegetables are very similar to those found in pollen. These proteins can confuse the immune system and cause an allergic reaction or make existing symptoms worse.

Cross-reactivity happens when the immune system thinks one protein is closely related to another. In the case of allergic rhinitis and foods, the result is called oral allergy syndrome (OAS).

The most frequent reaction involves itchiness or swelling of the mouth, face, lip, tongue and throat. Symptoms usually appear immediately after eating raw fruits or vegetables, although the reaction can occur more than an hour later.

Rarely, OAS can cause severe throat swelling or even a systemic reaction, called anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-LAK-sis), in a person who is highly allergic.

OAS can occur at anytime of the year. Although there is no definitive test for the syndrome, affected individuals often have a positive allergy skin test or blood test for specific pollen, along with a history of symptoms after ingestion of the suspected foods.

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Interim Guidance on Early Peanut Introduction and Prevention of Peanut Allergy

PeanutsMILWAUKEE, WI – While an update to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) food allergy guidelines is due to begin this summer, a "Consensus Communication on Early Peanut Introduction and the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in High-Risk Infants" has been published today by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, an official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Why is this consensus communication important?
The results of the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) study provided new evidence to support early, rather than delayed, peanut introduction during the period complementary foods are first given to infants. Specifically, the LEAP study demonstrated a successful 11 to 25% absolute reduction in the risk of developing peanut allergy in high-risk infants (and a relative risk reduction of up to 80%) if peanut was introduced between 4 and 11 months. It is important to note that children with lesser risk factors for peanut allergy were excluded from the LEAP study, so there is no prospective, randomized data that speaks to the benefit or risk of early peanut introduction in the general to low-risk populations.

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The A to K of asthma triggers

iStock 000020007182SmallDeaths from asthma have fallen dramatically in Australia in the last 15 years, from about 800/year to about 400/year. That is the good news, but the tragedy of asthma deaths continues. Most of this improvement is related to effective preventer therapy using inhaled corticosteroids. These have saved lives. The first line of asthma management remains the control of asthma symptoms and optimising lung function.

Everyone with asthma will know that they have certain triggers that make them wheeze or cough or get tight in the chest. This knowledge can supplement and complement therapy with drugs. That is why knowing your triggers is so important. Also, it may open up avenues for other treatment, such as allergy shots or drops.

So, let’s run through this list:

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