Friday, October 30, 2009

A Single H1N1 Vaccine Dose May Be Enough (even for kids!)

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 06: Doses of H1N1 influenza ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

In this season of influenza pandemics, our vaccine-naive little ones were scheduled to be subjected to not one, but 2 separate influenza vaccines, in a total of 4 doses! Ouch!

Well, here's some good news from GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Pandemrix, one of the H1N1 vaccines currently being distributed and administered around the world. A single shot may be sufficient to confer protective immunity! The study is not yet complete, but preliminary results look promising... Son #2, who was none to happy with me when I gave him seasonal influenza vaccine 1 of 2 on Wednesday, would be pleased (if he had any idea what any of the fuss was about)!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Tips for Allergic Kids

Halloween is an exciting time for children... costume parties, silly music, bags and bags of CANDY...

Yep. It's the candy part that gets our undies all in a knot.

Never mind the damage all that sugar does to those little teeth (Here's an idea-our dentist buys back candy at $1 per pound and sends it to our troops overseas!).

For the parent of an allergic child, the concern is more about the damage that the hidden food allergen might do to our kids. The zombie costumes are ghoulish enough- do we really need to amp up the freakishness with hives and giant swollen lips?

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology offers some Halloween tips here:

I think these ideas are a great start, but I do doubt the practicality of distributing your own safe snacks to neighbors in advance of trick-or-treating. (Not really fair to expect them to keep track- or even be able to recognize your kid if he or she is in costume!)

Here's my tip to add to their list (modified from our dentist's plan): "Buy back" questionable treats from your allergic child. In exchange for giving up what may easily amount to half of the trick-or-treating stash, offer your child a coupon for a trip to the movies, the toy he's had his eye on, or a special spa day for your little princess. Be creative- and let your child participate in the deal ahead of time- the anticipation of the value upon trade-in will make giving up all that candy much less painful!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New flu prevention and treatment recommendations for people with asthma

From the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:

MILWAUKEE – With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that an initial analysis of 1,400 adults hospitalized for H1N1 found that 26% had asthma, how can the more than 34 million Americans with asthma protect themselves from the virus and complications?

An article set to appear in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) recommends that people with asthma who have suspected or confirmed influenza should be strongly considered for antiviral medications because of their increased risk of developing a complication such as bacterial pneumonia.

Additionally, most patients with asthma should be vaccinated with the seasonal and 2009 H1N1 inactivated vaccines.

“People with asthma are at high risk of serious complications from influenza infection, including H1N1, but vaccination can significantly reduce this risk. If you have asthma, seasonal influenza and H1N1 vaccination is recommended. Be sure to get the injectable vaccines, not the vaccine nasal spray,” said James T. Li, MD, PhD, FAAAAI, one of the article authors.

The live attenuated influenza vaccine, which includes the nasal spray FluMist®, is not recommended for patients with asthma due to concerns about triggering an asthma exacerbation.

Vaccinations for both the seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 are among the best prevention tools available to prevent complications from the flu, especially for individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma. But what if you are allergic to a substance in the vaccines?

Asthma patients with an egg allergy or history of an allergic reaction to the influenza vaccine should see an allergist/immunologist for proper testing and evaluation, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

The AAAAI offers a comprehensive library of resources on the novel H1N1 virus—especially as related to allergic diseases—including treatment recommendations, vaccine news and information for patients. Subscribe to the RSS feed to be notified of the latest updates as they happen.

The AAAAI ( represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. To locate an allergist/immunologist, visit the AAAAI Physician Referral Directory at