Tuesday, June 16, 2009

FDA Recommends Removal of Zicam from Market- Proof that Just Because It's Labeled as Homeopathic, Doesn't Mean It's Safe

Just received the following update from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:

This morning, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a news conference warning physicians and consumers about Zicam Cold Remedy intranasal products, indicating “these products may pose a serious risk to consumers who use them.” Specifically, the FDA has received more than 130 reports of anosmia (loss of sense of smell, which in some cases can be long-lasting or permanent), associated with use of these products. Some individuals also report loss of sense of taste.

Included in the warning are: Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Zicam Cold Remedy Gel Swabs, and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size. All are administered by direct application to the nasal cavity, and as described in the labeling, are intended for use in “adults and children 3 years of age and older (with adult supervision). These products are available without a prescription, and they contain zinc gluconate (identified as zincum gluconicum on their labels) as their active ingredient.

These OTC’s are marketed as homeopathic and therefore are not subject to FDA approval. However, given the risk, the FDA has issued a warning letter to Matrixx Initiatives, Inc, makers of the products. During the news teleconference, the FDA indicated they have asked Matrixx to work with the FDA in removal of the products from the market.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

My Advice to Our President- Get Some Professional Help in Your Quest to Quit Smoking

President Obama addressed the American Medical Association in Chicago on Monday June 15th, aggressively pushing his plan for health care reform. During his speech, he stated, "That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. It means quitting smoking, going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening." OK, I can agree with that.

However, on Friday, June 12, an exchange between reporters and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made it clear that the President has not yet kicked the habit. http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/06/obama_may_still_be_smoking_war.html

C'mon now, Mr. President! Your daughter is asthmatic- and you're still puffing away?

From the sounds of it, it seems that his sole aid in the fight to quit is Nicorette gum. Really? The leader of the free world, and all he can come up with is Nicorette? OK, maybe mood-altering medications like Zyban and Chantix are not the most appropriate for someone with his job description... but surely, counseling is allowed? If the Prez is getting professional help with this struggle to quit, I think he should proudly announce it, so as to decrease the reluctance of other smokers to seek help.

And if he's not, what is he waiting for? He had the perfect opportunity this morning- maybe he should have asked the auditorium full of doctors for a consult.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Great American Peanut Butter Challenge- Bring It On!

With much cajoling, I was able to convince Son #1 to submit to an open peanut butter challenge. This is a task much easier said than done.

After the tolerated accidental ingestion and negative skin test, I knew the risk of a reaction was low, but I still wanted to follow the protocol and do it right. So I spent a little over 2 hours feeding him incrementally larger amounts of creamy peanut butter. (Disclaimer- in all seriousness, please do not do this at home. Food challenges can be dangerous, and should be performed by a medical professional trained to immediately recognize, and equipped to treat, the symptoms of a life-threatening allergic reaction. Luckily for me, I just so happened to fit the bill.)

So, picture me chasing a 4 year old around every 30 minutes with a measuring spoon.

Me: "Come on, honey. One more bite, okay?"
Son #1: "You can't catch me, Mommy! I'm fast!"
Me: (out of breath) "Slow...down...or... I'm calling...your...father."
Son #1: (reluctantly) "Aaah. Eeew- sticky! "

Normal vital signs, no rash & an awake, alert, happy kid who apparently isn't a big fan of peanut butter. That's OK. All I needed was confirmation that he can tolerate peanuts without turning into a swollen itchy blob. He doesn't need to become the spokesboy for Skippy.

I'm the AllergistMommy. My work here is done.

(Nevermind, Son#2 just tried to eat dice. My work here is just beginning.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

If You Think This Is a Good Invention, You Really Need to See an Allergist

This photo has been circulating on the internet for quite some time, but it is so ridiculous that I felt it deserved another moment in the sun...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Against All Odds, Son #1 May Have Outgrown His Peanut Allergy

Traditionally, peanut allergy has always been thought of as persistent, with only ~30% of kids outgrowing the hypersensitivity. This is in contrast to allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat, which are often outgrown by 6-7 years of age.

So, when we discovered that Son #1 was allergic to peanuts, cashews, and pecans (luckily limited to a mild reaction- hives), I figured that we were due for a lifetime of avoidance. And we have been really good about strict avoidance, for the most part...

A few weeks ago, however, he was able to tolerate some accidental peanut exposure, so I decided to retest him last week.

Imagine my delight when skin tests to peanut and pecan were negative, as well as a subsequent prick-prick test with peanut butter-- my kid is possibly in the lucky 30% of children who outgrow peanut allergy!

An open food challenge is yet to be done- mainly because my son refused to eat any peanut butter ("Mommy, I can't eat peanut butter- I'm ALLERGIC!"). I may have to devise a blind challenge for him...