Keep your food-allergic camper happy
June 4th, 2014
12:15 PM ET
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Editor's note: Mireille Schwartz is the founder and executive director of the Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board, an organization that promotes education and awareness. It also provides no-cost medical care and medication to families with severely allergic children. She is the author of "The Family Food Allergy Book."

No doubt your children are ecstatic that summer's here - and you'll be just as excited when you can send them off to camp, right? Follow these safety tips to ensure food allergies don't get in the way of all the fun:

More than 12 million Americans - including 1 in 13 children - suffer from food allergies.
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Food allergies are on the rise - here's (maybe) why
March 3rd, 2014
06:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: Mireille Schwartz is the founder and executive director of the Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board, an organization that promotes education and awareness, and provides no-cost medical care and medication to San Francisco Bay Area families with severely allergic children. She is the author of "The Family Food Allergy Book."

Food allergies are on the rise, and are currently the fifth leading chronic illness in the United States.

Since the mid-1990s, food allergies have shifted into high gear; what used to be a relative rarity has become increasingly commonplace, with scientists estimating that the problem is getting worse.
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Hope for peanut-allergic people
January 31st, 2014
06:00 PM ET
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When you live in fear of you or your child accidentally ingesting peanut crumbs, any hope of undoing severe food allergy is welcome.

A large clinical trial published this week in the Lancet confirms what smaller studies have shown in the past: Oral immunotherapy - swallowing tiny, increasing amounts of peanut over time - has the ability to desensitize allergic individuals to peanuts.

Peanuts are one of the leading causes of food allergy reaction, and 400,000 school-aged children in the United States have this allergy, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Symptoms may occur from any contact with the peanut protein, which is why cross-contamination of foods can be very dangerous.
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Filed under: Allergies • Health News • Peanuts


January 7th, 2014
12:46 PM ET
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What gives M&Ms their bright colors? That depends on which country you're in.

Mars Inc. primarily uses artificial food coloring for the candy in the United States, but M&Ms derive their candy coloring from natural sources in Europe.

Now a Change.org petition begun by Renee Shutters and the Center for Science in the Public Interest is calling on Mars to stop using artificial dyes in its American M&Ms as well. As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 142,000 supporters.
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Filed under: Allergies • Health News


Food allergies take a toll on family finances
September 18th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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Two of Emily Cunningham's three children have food allergies. And protecting her kids is taking toll on the family budget.

When she was nine months old, Cunningham's four-year-old daughter Elena ate a spoonful of yogurt and broke out in hives. Elena is allergic to eggs, tree nuts, dairy and peanuts, and even brief contact with one of the these hard-to-avoid items is all it takes to set off a potentially life-threatening immune reaction.

Cunningham's eight-month-old son Wyatt has a bad dairy allergy too.
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The 6 valid reasons to ask for a menu substitution
August 27th, 2013
12:00 PM ET
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Details.com editor James Oliver Cury tackles controversial food-and-drink-themed etiquette issues.

To much of the restaurant-going world, chefs seem to have exchanged “the customer is always right” with another saying: “No substitutions.” Seeing those two words at the bottom of a menu can sour the mood, if not your palate, before you’ve even taken the first bite. It’s a needlessly pre-emptive, passive-aggressive kind of note. Imagine if a hotel contract stated: “Don’t even think about asking us if you can stay in your room past noon.” It’s one thing to have a policy and quite another to deny a request before it’s even been made.

And yet, the increasingly ubiquitous no-substitutions policy is a reaction to customer demands run amok. But rather than choose a side, I think there’s a middle ground - a set of rules that, if followed by both restaurant owners and patrons alike, could benefit everyone. First, let’s take a close look at where each side is coming from.
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Top tips for dining out with food allergies
May 23rd, 2013
03:45 PM ET
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Whether it's a special occasion or a Saturday night, for many Americans, dining out is one of life's great pleasures.

However, for the millions of Americans with severe life-threatening food allergies, dining out can feel like a minefield.
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Filed under: Allergies • Health News


Seem like food allergies are on the rise? They are.
May 2nd, 2013
02:45 PM ET
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Food and skin allergies are becoming more common in American children, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both have been steadily increasing for more than a decade.

Food allergy prevalence increased from 3.4% to 5.1% between 1997 and 2011, while skin allergy prevalence more than doubled in the same time period. That means 1 in every 20 children will develop a food allergy and 1 in every 8 children will have a skin allergy. According to the CDC, respiratory allergies are still the most common for children younger than 18.

The new report, which looked at data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that skin allergies decreased with age, while respiratory allergies increased as children got older.
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Got allergies? Fast food may be at fault
January 15th, 2013
12:15 AM ET
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Teenagers and young children who eat fast food could be increasing their risk of developing asthma, eczema and hay fever, according to a study published Monday in the British Medical Journal's respiratory journal Thorax.

The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study used written questionnaires completed by 319,196 13- and 14-year-olds from 51 countries and by the parents of 181,631 6- and 7-year-olds in 31 countries. They were asked if they had symptoms of the three conditions and about their weekly diet – including the types of foods they ate over the last year, and how often.
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