Friday, October 10, 2014

Early Skin Exposure May Cause Peanut Allergies In Children

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Teen survey for school regarding peanut allergies: She'll present her results at teen FARE summit.

Elisabeth, a teen who recently found out she has nut allergies, decided to research the social impacts of having dietary restrictions like nut allergies on high school students. She created a survey in order to evaluate these social impacts and she asks our help in circulating it to gain a broad response.

Elisabeth's survey is done through the Science Research Program in her school in Westchester, New York, and it is both online and completely anonymous. In that program once the student collects enough data, then they find results and present these at science fairs in their area. Elisabeth is also presenting at the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) Teen Summit in November, which is for those with dietary restrictions/food allergies, and is located in Washington D.C. 

Here's the link to the survey:

First in a series called "Wonderful Rants By POKWASPA" -- This one is by member, G. Liz Flecha.

First is a first for me!  I've never reposted a member's personal post on our fellow blog, but today's creative gem just begs to be reposted and offered more of a spotlight.

We all applaud G. Liz Flecha's creativity and superb articulation regarding how it feels walking in our shoes. So, with her permission, I'd like her piece to be the first "re-post on our blog" in a series called:

"Wonderful Rants By POKWASPA

-- This one by POKWASPA member, G. Liz Flecha.

Posted today, October 9th, 2014 

---  "If you know me at all, you know I'm not terribly politically correct. Ahem. If you've hosted my daughter on a playdate or babysat her, you know that I am not terribly psychotic about her peanut allergy.

 This isn't my inner mama lioness coming out, honest. But here is the deal - Some kids are really, really deathly allergic to peanuts. And when you start a tirade in the name of a child being able to eat peanut butter wherever she damn well pleases, do you realize how dumb you sound? 

Do you realize how idiotic it is to get red in the face, screaming "It wasn't this way in the 70s! My kid loves peanut butter! I have a picky eater I can't control, a 5 year old who is somehow able to command that I feed him PBJ every day! Your child can't infringe upon my right not to diversify my kid's diet! I don't want my kid to be empathetic! You're just paranoid!" 

But I have decided that maybe, just maybe, these folks just don't really understand. So if you are one of these people, take a deep breath and let's walk together... First of all, I get it. I love peanut butter. I really do. I have been known to empty half a jar on a soft tortilla and eat it for lunch. 

The feeling I have for peanut butter rivals chocolate and coffee. I recognize that it is both a treat and a protein, that rare mix of fairly awesome, room temp servable foods you can pack in lunch box. But here's the thing about peanut butter - it gets on everything. 

Your lunch box, your face, your fingers, the table... We're not talking celery here, we're talking mess of spaghetti-like proportions. I don't think it's fair to call it political correctness run amok to say that a peanut allergic child is fairly likely to get that mess on themselves. 

Yes, you can educate the crap out of a five year old about protecting themselves, but if you are a kindergartener and your best friend grabs your hand with her gooey one to run on the playground, chances are you didn't ask her to wash first. 

So we can go ahead and say that it's not political correctness, okay? We had Maria tested at one year old. That means, before she knew not to stick LEGOS in her nose, we had to start teaching her to avoid certain candy, that she couldn't share food with friends but was expected to share everything else. 

That she had to ask adults if there were nuts in the snack they were serving while simultaneously teaching her how to politely say she didn't like the yogurt they were offering. I'm not trying to say that peanut allergic parents have a harder job than non-allergic parents - we all have our struggles in these arenas - I'm just asking for a little empathy. 

Which brings us to perhaps the crux of the "My kid is eating what she wants, screw you" argument. Try to think of an allergy as a disability, if you will. 

Would you be okay with your child telling someone in wheelchair to buck up and get walking? Mocking someone's speech impediment? 

Because you are effectively teaching your child that 1) my child's needs are less important than his wants or 2) my child is a liar. Which brings me to perhaps the most enraging undertone of the whole anti-peanut allergy trollfest. 

Every time you say "We didn't have allergies growing up" or "How does a person even know a 2 year old has peanut allergies, they aren't even eating peanuts!" that's what you are saying. You are saying that I (or my child) made this up. 

Yep. That I just woke up one day and said, "How can I mess up everyone's school snack schedule this year? Oh I know! Let's tell everyone Maria has an 'allergy'. That would be hilarious!" 

If you are one of those people, Let me assure you, if I was going to make something up about my kids, it wouldn't be an allergy. Genius level IQs? Modeling contracts? 

Yeah, I'd say those things. I'd even say that they tandem surfed on the back of shark while juggling chainsaws and reciting the Declaration of Independence. 

Don't insult both my integrity and my creativity by implying that "allergy" is the best I could do. If you read all of this, thank you. 

If it changed the way you thought, bless you. 

And if you still think peanut allergies are a joke, unfriend me. My family doesn't need your kind in our lives.

    --- by POKWASPA (Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy) FB group member, G. Liz Flecha

Well done, G. Liz Flecha!  Great post.

Keep them coming!

--- Louise Larsen, founder/director POKWASPA

POKWASPA Visual Lesson Plan: Why we are so terrified of your lack of tolerance and understanding about peanuts.

Just found this little image / message -- and felt the need to respond.

Uh, actually WE care about our children's allergies, because, unlike the person who created the above visual message, we care about all children.

And, NO, you do not have the right to endanger any child's life.  Period.

You just don't.

Perhaps you are a "Visual Learner" so let me make my point with images --

Here's why we at POKWASPA are literally terrified of your snacks, treats, lunches, meals -- of your kid's unwashed hands and face, of your pets, of school classrooms, playgrounds, parks, public transportation, everywhere outside of our home --

Because the stuff that can kill my kid, and thousands of others just like her is found --



Peanut Products.

And it is found --- EVERYWHERE.

It is found....

--  On their hands.

--  On their faces.

--  On YOUR face

--  In your wholesome, delicious child-tempting foods.

--  In your hamburgers.

-- On your dogs.

-- In school science projects, and art projects...



Because what can and will kill our children is what you just don't want to stop eating.  But, we are literally begging you to evolve, please, and make changes that will keep kids from dying a needlessly tragic death.  All because some people feel they have a right to kill children over a snack food.

We are asking you to please keep your peanut products far away from those who will die from contact with it.

We would do the same of you if you asked us to.

If it takes a village to raise one child, what does it take to raise thousands of deathly food allergic kids? 

It takes a GLOBAL village.  YOU are part of OUR global village.  We all live here on planet Earth, and right this second you and I are connected by the internet.  You are part of our global village, and I'm asking, I'm begging you to please, please, adapt your needs to fit the "new normal" regarding food allergies, which is that for some reason we can't even help, our children are dying from contact from your food.

So please, won't you adapt and make some small changes to help us raise our children and keep them alive?

Thank you so much for listening.   -- POKWASPA.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pfizer Canada and WestJet Make Travel Easier for Canadians with Severe Food Allergies / Epi Pen maker creates Social Media Contest offering those anaphylactic to foods the chance to win trip for four!!!

PR Newswire

Pfizer Canada and WestJet Make Travel Easier for Canadians with Severe Food Allergies

'Reach for the Sky' contest aims to increase awareness on a growing public health issue in Canada
KIRKLAND, QCSept. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - Serious allergies are on the rise and to raise awareness of anaphylaxis,  Pfizer Canada, Canadian distributor of EpiPen® (epinephrine) Auto-Injectors, and WestJet are launching a social media contest called Reach for the Sky, offering Canadians with severe food allergies, or those at risk of anaphylaxis, the chance to win a WestJet Vacations package for four.  
"Pfizer Canada in partnership with WestJet is committed to making travel and travel planning as worry-free as possible for those WestJet guests who are among the 2.5 million Canadians who self-reported having at least one food allergy," said Allen Van Der Wee, General Manager, Global Established Products Business Unit at Pfizer Canada Inc. "Anaphylaxis is a serious health concern, especially when travelling. We are proud of our continued partnership with WestJet, an organization that embraces the culture of care and understands the serious medical issues involved with severe allergies. We support their efforts in being prepared to help guests should the need arise."
Food-induced anaphylaxis is reported to have increased 350 per cent in the last decade.In addition, severe food allergies among children in the US have increased from an average of 3.4 per cent during 1991 to 1999 to 5.1 per cent during the years of 2009 to 2011, according to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2
WestJet has long taken measures to accommodate their guests while maintaining a balanced experience for all other guests with food allergies. WestJet carriers are equipped with EpiPen®and EpiPen® Jr Auto-Injectors, trusted by Canadians and their health care providers for more than 25 years. That said, travelers at risk of severe allergic reactions are ultimately responsible for taking all the necessary precautions, including carrying their own epinephrine auto-injector(s) at all times.
"We take the health and safety of our guests very seriously and we are pleased to be working with Pfizer Canada and offer EpiPen® to help provide additional support and raise awareness for people at risk of severe allergic reactions," said Lorne Mackenzie, Director, Regulatory Affairs at WestJet.
For more information about WestJet's Allergy Policy, please visit www.westjet.com.
Reach for the Sky Photo ContestTo enter, eligible participants must visit the EpiPen® Canada Facebook page and submit an inspirational photograph along with a caption explaining how living with severe allergies does not restrict them or their child from going after their dreams. The national launch of the voting period will occur in October for the public to decide their favourite entry out of the top 20. For more details on the Reach for the Sky contest or to enter the contest, visit the EpiPen® Canada Facebook page.  
*Should you be carrying an EpiPen® Auto-Injector? Take the Severe Allergy Risk Test to help determine your risk of a severe allergic reaction and visit www.EpiPen.ca for more information.
About PfizerPfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Pfizer's diversified health care portfolio includes biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines for humans, and many of the world's best‐known consumer products. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca or you can follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/PfizerCA) or Facebook (facebook.com/ Pfizer.Canada).
Important Safety InformationEpiPen and EpiPen Jr (0.3 and 0.15 mg epinephrine) Auto-injectors ("EpiPen") are indicated for the emergency treatment of anaphylactic reactions in patients who are determined to be at increased risk for anaphylaxis, including individuals with a history of anaphylactic reactions. The EpiPen Auto-Injector is a disposable, pre-filled automatic injection device that administers epinephrine in the event of a severe allergic reaction.  After using EpiPen, you must seek immediate medical attention or go to the emergency room. For the next 48 hours, you must stay close to a healthcare facility or be able to call 9-1-1. For more information about EpiPen, please visit www.EpiPen.ca.
About WestJetWe are proud to be Canada's most-preferred airline, powered by an award-winning culture of care and recognized as one of the country's top employers.  We offer scheduled service to more than 85 destinations in North AmericaCentral America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through our regional airline, WestJet Encore, and with partnerships with airlines representing every major region of the world, we offer our guests more than 120 destinations in more than 20 countries.  Leveraging WestJet's extensive network, flight schedule and remarkable guest experience, WestJet Vacations delivers affordable, flexible travel experiences with a variety of accommodation options for every guest. Members of our WestJet Rewards program earn WestJet dollars on flights, vacation packages and more.  Our members use WestJet dollars towards the purchase of WestJet flights and vacations packages on any day, at any time, to any WestJet destination with no blackout periods  ̶  even on seat sales.  For more information about everything WestJet, please visit www.westjet.com. More information about WestJet's allergy policy can be found on www.westjet.com in the Travel Essentials section under Guests with Special Needs.
EpiPen®, EpiPen® Jr are registered trademarks of Mylan, Inc. licensed exclusively to its wholly-owned affiliate, Mylan Specialty, L.P.; sub-licensee, Pfizer Canada Inc., Kirkland, Quebec H9J 2M5.
1 Ben-Shoshan,et al. A population-based study on peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, and sesame allergy prevalence in CanadaJournal of Allergy Clinical Immunology 2010 Vol. 125 Issue 6:1327-1335 June 2010 Available at: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/epidemiology/joseph/publications/medical/benshoshan2010.pdf[Accessed September 4, 2014].
2 Food Allergy Research and Education. Available at: http://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats[Accessed September 4, 2014]. 

Food For Thought -- Wiping out food allergies with fermentation.

Korean kimchi made from fermented vegetables. (Photo: Taehoon Kang, Flickr)
Food allergies are becoming an epidemic. If you have young children, you know that the warnings are everywhere. You can't bring certain "high-risk" foods in school lunches anymore, and many children take a shocking amount of medication every day to help curb their reactions.
study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that food allergies among children increased almost 50 percent from 1997 to 2011. Researchers also estimate that 15 million Americans and 17 million Europeans currently suffer from food allergies. The concentration of reactions in developed countries is baffling scientists, but a new study may have the answer that our grandmothers knew all along: We need to eat more fermented foods.
When I was growing up, even the word "fermented" was gross to me. It conjured up images of rot and mold, and that's something I was always told to stay away from. Ironically enough, this fear of the natural fermentation process may be one of our biggest enemies today.
This new study introduced mice with peanut allergies to a natural gut bacteria found in humans called clostridia. While the bacteria blocked the peanut allergies in the mice, it also pointed out another important find. In a 2004 study, immunologist Dr. Cathryn Nagler and her team discovered that certain antibiotics remove clostridia from the system, allowing allergies to develop and thrive. So in combination with this new study, it's safe to say that the overuse of antibiotics is directly causing the increase in food allergies.
"We have co-evolved with our microbiota, and it has an enormous impact on our health," Nagler said to the BBC. "It's having a negative impact now because we've disturbed it with antibiotics, a high-fat diet and C-sections."
Nagler goes on to comment in another interview with KCET about infants and antibiotics: "An infectious disease specialist made the point that most kids in the U.S. receive two or three courses of antibiotics in infancy. Most of the treatments they receive are for viral infections, meaning they're getting a treatment that serves no purpose."
Although it may take several years to get clostridia approved for pill form, it's important to note that gut bacteria is created naturally through the fermentation of certain foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and many other delicious foods can help reintroduce your intestines to the bacteria it needs for proper digestion and health. And yes, beer counts as a healthy fermented food, although pasteurization kills the good bacteria.
Fermentation has been around since the beginning of time as a way to preserve food. Before refrigerators, ice in bags and chemical preservatives, people fermented their food for long-term storage. So why did its use decline in the past 100 years or so? Mainly because fermentation has certain variables that don't play well with mass production. There's no easy and cheap way to manufacture, age, transport and store fermented food on a large scale.
Home fermenting can be tricky (and potentially dangerous, if done incorrectly), so your best bet is to do lots of research before just letting some cabbage rot on your counter and eating it. "The Art of Fermentation" is the absolute best book you can get on the topic. Author Sandor Katz takes a look at fermentation from the do-it-yourselfer's perspective, showing that just about every type of food can be properly fermented with the right knowledge and care.
"Mastering Fermentation: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Fermented Foods" is another good one if you're looking for recipes to try out once you understand the basics. Author Mary Karlin shows you how to make everything from fermented vinegars and mustard to tips on preserving and curing meats.
If you're still a bit grossed out by fermentation and the idea of introducing it to your body, you might be surprised to learn that you are probably already eating it. Sourdough bread, beer, yogurt, cheese, pickles, apple cider and even salami are all commonly fermented foods. Some of these are now artificially fermented with chemicals through a cheaper manufacturing process, so be aware of what's real and what's been processed in a lab.
And if you're overwhelmed with the work it takes to ferment on your own, there are a few helpful products out there to make things faster and easier. The Kraut Source is a small-scale fermentation device that was recently Kickstarted to help the average busy consumer make small batches of what the inventors call "gourmet fermentation."
So don't be afraid to embrace the preservation methods of our ancestors, and you may discover a whole new taste to enjoy, while giving your body the proper tools it needs to fight digestive or allergy problems.
Shawn Schuster is a small-scale sustainable farmer in Alabama. He can be reached on Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.

Accessed: Wednesday, October 8th 2014


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

North Carolina Seminar on Food Allergy Research Updates, with Trish Gavanar, RN, BS

For POKWASPA members living in the North Carolina area who would like to spend a day learning more food allergy facts from those who make sharing the latest information about food allergies their job.

Food Allergy Research Updates

(click link above for tickets)

Trish Gavankar RN, BS

Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

Morrisville, NC

Event Details

Food Allergy Research Update
Join us as we discuss the most recent updates in the management and study of food allergies. Chinese Herbal Medicine has become a buzz word in the food allergy world. Dr. Xiu-Min Li and Mr. Henry Ehrlich will discuss the impact of Eastern Medicine on the future of food allergy management. Thought leader, researcher Dr. Wesley Burks will discuss recent advances of Oral Immunotherapy, Sublingual Immunotherapy and Epicutaneous Immunotherapy. Testing methods have also advanced and Dr. James Thompson will discuss how to use component testing in improving diagnosis and management of food allergies. Parenting a child with food allergies who also takes part in clinical research has some unique challenges. Trish Gavankar RN, BS will relate this perspective. 
8:30AM: Registration
9:00AM: Dr. James Thompson, "Can Component Testing Improve Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergies?" 
10:00AM: Dr. Wesley Burks, "Recent Advances in OIT/SLIT/ EPIT"
11:00AM: Break
11:30AM: Mr. Henry Ehrlich, "Chinese Herbs, East Meets West"
12:30PM: Lunch (Boxed Lunch Provided)
1:30PM: Trish Gavankar, RN, BS, "A Mother's Perspective"
2:30PM: Break
3:00PM: Dr. Xiu-Min Li, "The Study of Chinese Herbal Medicine"
4:00PM: Conclusion
*Boxed lunch provided, please contact organizer for dietary needs by October 17
*Contact organizer for a detailed event flyer 

This event is sponsored in part by FARE and Rock Food Allergies Consulting
Have questions about Food Allergy Research Updates? Contact Trish Gavankar RN, BS

Explanation regarding possible link between antibiotic use and rise of food allergies by author, Henry Ehrlich

There are many current theories about the possible rise of food allergies.  

Some can at times appear complicated and overwhelming to parents already saddled with learning how to raise a child with a food allergy.  

Henry Ehrlich is author of two regarded books about food allergies


Louise Larsen:   Henry, you've written extensively about the history and rise of food allergies in our population, as well as offered in-depth perspectives about many new treatments on the horizon.

Can you share a simple explanation with parents in my support group, Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy, regarding the theory that antibiotic use in our environment may have created the sudden rise of food allergies in our population?

Henry Ehrlich:  The role of gut microbes in the food allergy epidemic (and lots of other medical issues) is a hot topic because of Dr. Martin Blaser’s book, "The Missing Microbes."  I read the book to review it and here’s my best summary of his thesis.

Our gut is normally a community housing many different kinds of single-purpose microbes that have evolved and work together “cooperatively.” When they are wiped out, those jobs don’t get done. We are all concerned with food allergies. 

Why are some people allergic to certain proteins and some not? It is pretty clear that food allergies are in great part a digestive problem. According to Dr. Blaser and many others, this is because the microbes that are supposed to assist in digestion are gone. 

Certain proteins aren’t fully broken down and pass into the blood stream. They end up in parts of the body where the immune system is strong, like the skin and the lungs, and the immune cell perceives them as harmful things like parasites. 

Some parents have distinct knowledge of use of antibiotics by their kids—usually part of a necessary medical intervention. Others say “my kid never had them.” However, we have used so many of them over the past half-century that they end up in our water supplies. They are used to fatten livestock, and so forth, so they can’t really be fully avoided. American kids receive more than twice as many courses of antibiotic treatment in the first five years of life as Scandinavian kids. Doctors prescribe them for things like viruses, which don’t even respond, and when they end up in the water, the rest of us end up drinking them. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

"Risk Taking Behavior among Adolescents with Food Allergy: See enclosed link to this survey

A research study entitled Risk Taking Behavior among Adolescents with Food Allergy is currently enrolling participants. The goal of this study is to learn more about the risk taking behaviors of food allergic adolescents

– both in regard to general risk taking and risk taking as it relates to food allergy.  In order to participate in the study, adolescents between the ages of 14 and 22 years who currently have a food allergy are being asked to complete an entirely anonymous and confidential electronic survey.  No protected health or identifying information is being collected.  No compensation is being offered in exchange for study participation.

I, Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, am personally conducting the study.  All aspects of this research study have been approved by the Northwestern Institutional Review Board, IRB STU00097291.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 22 and are interested in participating in this study, please click on this secure link to access the anonymous and confidential survey [https://redcap.nubic.northwestern.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=TcT8XLeZeA].

If you are a parent with a food allergic child between the ages of 14 and 17 and have no objections to your adolescent child participating in this study, please forward him/her this link [https://redcap.nubic.northwestern.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=TcT8XLeZeA].  The link will take him/her to the completely anonymous and confidential survey.

If you would prefer for your child not to participate, no further action is required.

If you have any questions prior to making your decision, please contact Research Project Coordinator Victoria Rivkina at312-503-3193 orvictoria.rivkina@northwestern.edu or myself at 312-503-5581 or r-gupta@northwestern.edu.