Posts by: Dave

acaai logoEarlier this week, we reported on a study by the American Thoracic Society (ATS) suggesting parents of children with poorly controlled asthma have them tested for peanut sensitization. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) disagrees.

Shortly after the ATS announcement, Dr Matthew Greenhawt, MD, FACAAI issued a statement on behalf of the ACAAI. Greenhawt is an assistant professor in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Michigan and a member of U-M’s Child Health Evaluation and Research and Evaluation Unit in the Department of Pediatrics.

According to Greenhawt, “Such testing could potentially lead to misdiagnosis, and represents an unnecessary and unjustified use of resources.  While many of the children in the abstract are peanut sensitive on testing, it raises a question of relevance as to why testing was performed. There is no evidence that diagnosing peanut sensitization better controls chronic asthma. Chronic asthma is not a manifestation of peanut sensitization or allergy. There is no practical value to testing in this situation because these children are not showing any signs of possible peanut allergy.”

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AllergyEatsLogoWe’re big fans of AllergyEats, a service that harnesses the dining experiences of the allergic community to rate restaurants in terms of “allergy-friendliness”. It’s an application of the peer review process that works incredibly well because it’s all about families with food allergies sharing information amongst themselves to the benefit of the entire community.

So we were excited when we received the following news from Paul Antico, CEO of AllergyEats:

PaulAt AllergyEats, we’re preparing to undergo a revolutionary redesign of our app and site. It will be the most significant undertaking here since our initial launch.

As part of this, we need as much community feedback as possible – from both those who have used AllergyEats and those who haven’t. We have released a survey today that takes about 10 minutes to fill out. This survey will be critical to the success of our project as we learn more specifically about the community and what they would like to see out of “AllergyEats 2.0.”

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American-Thoracic-SocietyIn a study to be presented at the ongoing American Thoracic Conference (ATS) 2015, it was determined that many children suffering from asthma have a sensitivity to peanuts but their families are unaware.

“Many of the respiratory symptoms of peanut allergy can mirror those of an asthma attack, and vice versa. Examples of those symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing,” said study lead author Robert Cohn, MD, MBA. “This study aimed to evaluate the proportion of asthmatic children who also demonstrated a sensitivity to peanuts.”

The study researched the charts of 1517 children diagnosed with asthma at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. Of the charts reviewed, 665 (43.8%) had IgE testing for peanuts, and of this group 148 (22.3%) had positive results.

Of the children with positive IgE tests, more than half (53%) of the children and their families did not suspect there was any sensitivity to peanut.

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GapA diagnosis of food allergy changes everything. Day-to-day tasks such as finding safe foods, arranging playdates, preparing for school, and planning holiday celebrations become monumental projects when a loved one’s life is at stake.

We read about the trials involving OIT, SLIT, patches, probiotics, omalizumab and myriad other approaches and are frustrated by the pace of advancement toward safe, effective treatments and an ultimate cure.

Part of the problem is that it takes $500 million to adequately fund food allergy research but only about $65 million of that is covered by government and private sources, based on a 2013 estimate. That leaves an enormous gap, so promising trials, studies and research projects limp along or sit on the back burner, waiting for proper funding.

How do we fill that gap and accelerate the process? That’s where a new organization comes in: End Allergies Together (EAT). If the name is familiar to you, it may be because you read their recent Op/Ed piece on CNN’s website.

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Yes, it’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, a great time to educate others about the causes and dangers of anaphylaxis. But while awareness itself is a wonderful thing, it doesn’t mean a whole lot unless it motivates a change in behavior.

So pause for a moment and answer this one overriding question:

Did you remember to Take 2?

What we’re referring to, of course, is to always take 2 life-saving epinephrine auto-injectors along and having them on-hand wherever you go. Whether you’re relaxing at home, off to school, or just stepping outside to walk the dog, take 2 along everywhere… every time.

Why 2? Because a single dose may not be enough to halt the progression of anaphylaxis when you or your child suffers a severe allergic reaction. And you never want to be caught with too little epinephrine on-hand when a life depends on it.

So while you’re busy spreading awareness, be sure to heed the message. To help remind you and your loved ones, click here to download a collection of flyers from our Take 2 Campaign like the one below and be sure to hang them everywhere.

Because, let’s face it: awareness alone won’t stop anaphylaxis. Only epinephrine will.

Click here for printable flyers from out Take 2 campaign

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Pretzel!We’re pleased to announce the addition of a new member to our Manufacturer Partnership Program whose products now appear in the Safe Snack Guide and Allergence, our product screening service.

Eleni's New YorkEleni’s New York specializes in beautiful hand-made, hand-iced sugar cookies baked from scratch in a dedicated peanut and tree nut-free facility. No conveyor belts, no automated decorating, no mass production, all done the old fashioned way, one cookie at a time.

The company also markets a line of Crisp cookies in a variety of flavors and Color Me! cookies that come complete with edible markers. (Click to learn more about Eleni’s and their products.)

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GeorgiaCapitolBuildingThe governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, signed a bill into law last week allowing for stock epinephrine in places of public accommodation throughout the state.

SB 126 provides the legal framework for placement of epinephrine auto-injectors in restaurants, malls, camps, and other public establishments for use when anaphylaxis – a potentially fatal allergic reaction – is suspected. The bill also provides the necessary Good Samaritan immunity for trained individuals who administer the drug in good faith.

Georgia passed legislation allowing stock epinephrine for schools two years ago. SB 126 also provides for the prescription of stock levalbuterol sulfate and albuterol sulfate (typically used in asthma “rescue inhalers”) for use in schools when a victim suffers severe respiratory distress such as wheezing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing.

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Superhero Mom

Mother’s Day is almost here! Before you sign off to enjoy the weekend, we want to express our sincerest thanks to all you moms out there, especially those of you who battle every day to keep your kids safe in the face of their food allergies.

We know it’s often a thankless job, one that your family, friends, and neighbors may not fully appreciate. But we also know that beneath that disguise of yours beats the heart of a superhero, one who makes the world a safer place for a child threatened by dangers the public never sees.

So to you, Moms, we send our best wishes for a wonderful Mother’s Day from your friends at!

(And as we always do, we remind you to Take 2 along with you when you celebrate!)

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AllergicLiving LogoThe May edition of the Allergic Living News Report – dedicated to Food Allergy Awareness Month – features a free, must-read e-booklet entitled: “18 Things You Need to Know About Food Allergy Reactions”.

This resource as especially valuable for families coping with food allergies as well as teachers, school nurses, restauranteurs, and everyone else that deals with the public in a setting involving food. Distributed as an easy-to-download PDF that can be viewed on your ebookletPC, tablet and phone, it provides a summary of important facts, strategies, and statistics to keep in mind should you or a loved one experience (or suspect) an anaphylactic reaction. The publication is structured in an easy-to-read read conversational format and covers many topics such as “Severe reactions: are they rare or frequent?”, “Define anaphylaxis”, and “When antihistamines don’t measure up”.

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hershey-logoWe field hundreds of questions each month about our Safe Snack Guide, a resource relied upon by thousands of schools and tens of thousands of parents nationwide to keep peanuts and tree nuts out of the classroom and the home.

Most are for products from companies that have yet to join our Manufacturer Partnership, the ones denoted in the Guide by black bullets. For these, we make a best effort to verify they are not produced on shared lines where peanuts and tree nuts are also processed, and we do this generally by starting with the consumer service line.

Recently, we’ve had a number of inquiries regarding Hershey’s Kisses and 1.55oz Milk Chocolate Bars, the two Hershey’s brand items listed in the Guide. We decided it was time to revisit the safety of these products by reaching out to the Hershey Company directly and requesting an official response from the firm. Our inquiry was specific: Are these items made on shared lines with peanuts and tree nuts?

We received the following response from Jeff Beckman, Director of Corporate Communications for the Hershey Company:

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