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Showing posts from March, 2009

Hay Fever Robots Make Theur Debut in Japan- Why Do the Japanese get all the Fun Stuff First?

It's a bird, it's a plane... it's an allergy-bot!

Weather News, a Japanese weather information company, has installed hundreds of globe-shaped light-emitting "robots" throughout the country, which estimate pollen levels and glow a different color based on the concentration of pollen in the air. Allergy sufferers can tell with a quick glance how miserable their day is likely to be, and can also sign up for pollen counts to be text-messaged to their cell phones each morning...



Although not nearly as George Jetson-like in its appeal, allergic folks state-side can also access up to date pollen conditions from the National Allergy Bureau. We don't use robots, though. Pollen counts in the U.S. are done manually, by volunteers!

To access airborne allergen information for your area, visit the National Allergy Bureau website.

Oral Immunotherapy for Peanut Allergy- On the Horizon, but Not Ready for Prime-Time

Since the recent American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology conference in Washington D.C., much has been made of studies describing oral immunotherapy for peanut, egg and milk. These studies have demonstrated that some food allergic children can eventually tolerate ingestion of significant amounts of their trigger food after a protocol or gradually increasing oral doses of that food.

You may have seen this story on the morning/evening news programs, or read about it in your local paper or online. Certainly, parents of my patients have been coming in asking if I can provide this therapy for their food-allergic children in my office.

They are invariably somewhat disappointed when my answer is: "Sorry, not yet."

Let me explain why.

Although the prospect of inducing some measure of tolerance to a food allergen is exciting, there are a number of things to keep in mind:

1) To date, the peanut immunotherapy studies have evaluated relatively small numbers of children (<40)…

Don't Use Hand Lotion Before Going through Airport Security- Or, Why Mommy's Milk is "Da Bomb"

Guess whose breastmilk tested positive for explosives?

As my family, friends, and patients know, I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding. Nursed Son #1 for a little over a year, and going on 8 moths with Son #2. Benefits definitely outweigh the occasional inconveniences. But yesterday, my dedication to "La Leche" was certainly tested.

Any nursing mother who works outside the home is intimately familiar with "The Pump". At work, in a restaurant, in the car (preferably not while driving, although I've been known to attempt such multitasking madness in the past) - you name it, we've pumped there.

Planning a trip away from baby is never easy, but when you're nursing, it complicates matters. Rather than pump and dump, I elected to store the milk and bring it back home for baby. I did a good deal of planning: arranged for a large fridge in the hotel room, packed plenty of bottles, bottle brush, a zillion little plastic storage bags, coolers, ice packs... ev…

Your Kiddo Won't Eat?- It May Be More than Pickiness...

Yesterday, I attended an excellent lecture series on eosinophilic esophagitis, a relatively newly recognized disease in adults and children which results in difficult to control heartburn symptoms and difficulty eating.

Eosinophilic esophagitis results from abnormal accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lining of the esophagus (food pipe), and has a strong relationship to food allergy.

If you or your child have heartburn symptoms which have not improved with a proton pump inhibitor (examples include Prilosec, Prevacid, or Protonix, among others), you may be experiencing more than reflux. Ask your primary care physician if you might benefit from a referral to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy (a video evaluation of the inside of your esophagus, stomach, and/or intestines).

If a biopsy reveals high numbers if eosinophils (specialized white blood cells which are highly involved in allergic inflammation), you may benefit from further evaluation and dietary management. Approximately…

Allergy Meeting News...

I am writing today from our nation's capital, where I have spent the last few days attending the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The amount of research and clinical information presented at this meeting is enormous, and is already starting to show up on Good Morning America, the New York Times, etc...

Some highlights:

* Avoidance of milk, egg, and peanut for the first few years of life may not be protective against the development of food allergies in at-risk children.

* Oral immunotherapy to milk, egg and peanut is showing promise in children.

* Atopic dermatitis (eczema) benefits from proactive treatment with an antiinflammatory ointment twice weekly, even when the skin is clear.

And so much more! I will discuss these issues in more depth in upcoming posts- as always, nothing is ever as simple as it seems on the news or in the paper. Each patient's case is unique, so do not act on anything you hear or read before discussing it with you…

New Albuterol HFA Inhalers May Increase Breath Alcohol

In an effort to save the ozone layer, the government has ridiculously mandated the phase out of standard chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) albuterol inhalers, and replaced them with hydrofluoroalkane (HFA).

Yep, in all their wisdom, the feds decided that all those asthmatics puffing away on their albuterol inhalers were creating a larger hole in the ozone layer than a gazillion automobiles or horrendously outdated factories. Don't get me started.

Well, don't puff on that new HFA inhaler within 5 minutes of getting pulled by the police over while you're speeding down the highway in your SUV... turns out that some of the HFA inhalers include ethanol, and it just might transiently raise your breath alcohol (less so than a drink of wine, though). Or so report researchers from Australia in a recent issue of the journal Respirology.

To be honest, if you need to urgently take albuterol, maybe you should just pull over for a while.

So... how long before the Hollywood lawyers start using t…

Show Someone You Love Them- Share Your Spitoon!

So, it's been a little while since my last post. The Bajowala household is dealing with a mini gastroenteritis epidemic right now. Lots of tummy aches, throwing up, and laundry.

My husband is out of town for work nearly every week, and it certainly makes parenting two young boys an adventure, especially when we're dealing with illness. But this time, dear hubby is sick as well, and all alone on the road. So, he called Son #1 from his hotel room to commiserate this evening. Here's a rough transcript of the telephone conversation.

Dad: How are you, buddy?
Son #1: Daddy, I throwed up. A lot.
Dad: Yeah, I'm throwing up too.
Son #1: Come home, Daddy. I will take care of you, and then you will feel better. You can puke in my bucket, okay?
Dad: What?!?
Son #1: I throwed up in my bucket that Dadi (grandma) gave me. You can do it too. We can puke in it together. Then we will feel so much better.
Dad: Okay, buddy. Thanks! Feel better- I love you.
Son #1: I love you too, Dad…