Allergy 4 All

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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Ragweed is invading Europe, and climate change will make it worse

ragweedResearchers warn of growing health risks as invasive species creeps across the continent.

Ragweed pollen has made life miserable for allergy sufferers in Europe, and it's likely going to get much worse over the coming years, according to a study published today. By 2050, airborne pollen loads from the invasive species are projected to increase by a factor of four — largely due to climate change — pointing to what the paper's authors describe as an "urgent" need for action.

Read more: Ragweed is invading Europe, and climate change will make it worse

Penicillin allergy: A practical guide for clinicians.

Penicillin allergy is the most commonly reported drug allergy in the United States. However, after undergoing a complete evaluation by a board-certified allergist, including skin testing, 90% of patients labeled as 'penicillin-allergic' are able to tolerate penicillin. Clinical presentation is key in classifying reactions as either mediated by or not mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE), and in determining which patients may benefit from penicillin skin testing, graded-dose challenge, or desensitization. Cross-reactivity between penicillin and other beta-lactams is less common than previously thought.

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Kid Having Trouble in School? Maybe It’s Allergies

Spring is in the air, and business at our office is humming. At this time of the year, we not only see lots of patients, but receive requests from the media to answer questions. Year in year out, the advice doesn’t change much—avoid pollen if you can, take antihistamines and maybe nasal steroids, and think about getting immunotherpy–allergy shots. This year there are a couple of tablets on the market, which Larry has written about. The tenor of most discussion is highly familiar. People muddle through the season with the excuse, allergies are annoying, but it’s “only” allergies. This too shall pass.

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