According to a study published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, allergies to specific foods can be passed via blood transfusions, though such cases are extremely rare.
The research was initiated after an eight year old Canadian boy with no history of food allergies suddenly experienced an anaphylactic reaction to salmon after receiving a transfusion of platelets as part of ongoing chemotherapy treatment. Four days later he had a reaction to peanuts.
Investigators traced the source of the platelets and found that a single donor had multiple severe food allergies including fish and peanuts.
Though extremely rare, researchers found that food allergies can be passed through an antibody that reacts against allergens, immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is found in blood platelets.
By now you’ve probably read the Allergic Living article about two families that have filed lawsuits after losing their sons to anaphylaxis. The details are horrific, as they always are when a child is taken by allergic reactions.
In one case, a boy of 16 from Minnesota died from an anaphylactic reaction when it turned out the pancake he was eating at a restaurant was contaminated with milk. The family did not have his auto-injectors on-hand and had to rush him home, but by then it was too late.
In the other, an 11 year old Alabama boy died from a severe reaction to a supermarket cookie. Though an employee assured the family that the cookie contained no tree nuts, it did in fact contain walnuts. His mother administered Benadryl once the symptoms presented themselves and at some point afterward administered his auto-injector, but despite being airlifted to the hospital he could not be resuscitated.
These deaths are every parent’s nightmare, especially for those of us who are part of the community of kids with food allergies. But if there is anything to be redeemed from these tragedies, it is what can be learned to prevent them from happening to other children.
With no disrespect or judgement meant for the grieving parents of these boys, and knowing nothing more about the circumstances that lead to their reactions, let’s remind ourselves of what we can do to prevent occurrences similar to these in the future.
There’s a good reason why we refer to Erin Brockovich as “The Robyn O’Brien of Environmental Issues”.
Ms O’Brien – author, TED speaker, founder of AllergyKids Foundation, and leading advocate for clean, safe, affordable food – hits yet another ball out of the park with her editorial on the recent LEAP (Learning Early about Peanut Allergy) Study. In it, she excoriates the media, study’s authors, and quoted physicians for a lack of disclosure regarding the funding and selection of subjects for the study.
Here’s a sample from the article:
That’s like conducting a diabetes study on sugar and throwing out the diabetics before you start. It skews the results to suggest a false positive when if the food had been given to the entire population, without pre-screening, the results would have been entirely different.
On February 23rd at this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) in Houston, a study was presented regarding incidence of anaphylaxis in schools during the 2013-2014 school year, confirming the need for stock epinephrine.
Of 5683 schools that responded to the study survey, a total of 919 anaphylactic events were reported by 11% of the schools. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Congratulations to the people of New Jersey with the signing of A304/S801 – NJ’s stock epinephrine bill – into law by Governor Chris Christie.
Epinephrine is the only drug used to treat anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction. “Stock” refers to epinephrine that is not specifically prescribed to an individual but can be used on anyone that is displaying symptoms of anaphylaxis.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute of Parkville, Australia today announced results of a test they conducted of a novel new twist on an existing peanut allergy therapy.
The treatment combines traditional peanut oral immunotherapy (OIT) with a probiotic, lactobacillus rhamnosus. A fixed dose of the probiotic is provided daily along with daily doses of increasing quantities of peanut protein as is customary in OIT.
60 Children were enrolled in the test, with half given the treatment and the other half a placebo. Of the 28 children given the treatment, 23 (80%) were able to include peanut in their diet at the conclusion of the 18 month course of therapy.
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We’re fighting a war out there… a war against anaphylaxis. If you have a severe allergy or care for someone who does, you’re on the front lines. So put on your helmet, be vigilant, and don’t forget your only weapon against the enemy: your epinephrine auto-injector.
Take 2 along everywhere… every time.
A study by researchers of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may shed light on why women suffer more frequent and more severe instances of anaphylaxis than men.
Anaphylaxis – a life threatening allergic reaction triggered by foods, medication, and animal stings and bites – occurs when immune cells release enzymes that cause tissues to swell and blood vessels to widen. Clinical studies have shown that women experience anaphylaxis more often than men, though the mechanism for this has not been clearly understood.
NIAID researchers found that female mice experienced more severe and longer lasting anaphylactic reactions than males. They discovered that Estradiol – a type of estrogen – enhances the effect of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), an enzyme that causes a number of symptoms of anaphylaxis.
No doubt you’ve already broken a New Year’s resolution or two if you’re like us. (Though we do vow to get to the gym more often… eventually. No, really!)
Here’s our New Year’s resolution list for parents and caretakers of children with food allergies. These are much too important to break, and we hope you’ll join us in resolving to make 2015 a safe and happy year – with no mention of “child” and “anaphylaxis” in the same headline!
After learning the results of tests performed by SnackSafely.com and the subsequent admission by ContentChecked that their app ignores “may contain” and other cross-contact warnings, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) has altered the Corporate Partners page on their website. The advocacy no longer displays language that could be construed as a tacit approval of ContentChecked, replacing it with a general disclaimer that “FARE does not review, test, sponsor, endorse or recommend any products or services that may appear on our website.“
SnackSafely.com continues efforts to reach users of ContentChecked who may be relying on the app to determine the allergy content of foods. In tests, ContentChecked declared a series of common food products “free from peanuts” despite clearly visible “may contain peanuts” warnings on their labels. Users relying on the app put themselves and their children at risk of adverse reactions and anaphylaxis.
The company has so far ignored calls by SnackSafely.com to remove their app from the marketplace until its deficiencies are addressed, instead continuing to advertise that “you can feel confident when you are shopping with ContentChecked.”
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