Thursday, November 14, 2013

Allergy Myths Debunked: Dear friends and family, some food for thought

The count-down to large holiday gatherings has begun offering a perfect time to clear up some misinformation about allergies, especially the food-related ones, that can mar the festive season. It's not only your second-cousin once-removed who doesn't get the fact her dog makes your kid wheeze or that a flu shot isn't going to kill her daughter. Research shows even doctors find allergies difficult to comprehend let well enough alone diagnosis and treat so there is work to be done here. First things first, why the erroneous information? 
"Many early medical beliefs have been proven to be incorrect as research has advanced," said allergist David Stukus, MD, ACAAI member and presenter [at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology]. "Unfortunately, some of these beliefs are still on the Internet, where an astonishing 72 percent of users turn to for health information."
Astonishing? I don't think so. I believe that 72% comes from a Pew study. Here are the myths Dr. Stukus recently busted that might come in handy, in fact, why not send this to your friends and family too:

  1.  I'm Allergic to Artificial Dyes 
  2. I Cannot Have Vaccines Due to an Egg Allergy 
  3. At-Home Blood Tests Can Reveal All My Allergies 
  4. Highly Allergenic Foods Shouldn't be Given to Children until 12 Months of Age 
  5. I'm Allergic to Cats and Dogs, but Can Have a Hypoallergenic Breed 
  6. I'm Allergic to Shellfish and Cannot Have Iodine Imaging 
  7. I Can't have Bread, I'm Allergic to Glute
Break out the Starbursts, Maraschino Cherries and red-food dye! Give that baby some nuts. Extra credit for whoever can work these myths into the pre-holiday emails about who's bringing what where and when. Kudos for the shellfish/iodine. I'm a shellfish-allergy girl and will make a special effort to correct this faulty thinking. I find talk of iodine and nuclear medicine really raises the holiday cheer.  

Don't stress though, especially if you're pregnant because infants with higher levels of cortisol in their saliva later exhibited more allergies. No pressure though. 

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