Thursday, January 26, 2012

Food Allergy Herbal Formula Study- Now Recruiting!

Great news for Illinois Food Allergy Families!

Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago is currently enrolling volunteers for a Phase 2 clinical trial of Food Allergy Herbal Formula-2 (FAHF-2). Please see my earlier blog post for details on this exciting therapeutic option.

In order to qualify, you must be:

  • 12-24 years old
  • Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish or shellfish

The study will take ~9 months, and will involve skin prick testing, blood draw, oral food challenge, and treatment with a pill form of Chinese herbs.

If you are interested in participating, please call:1-888-573-1833 or email:

Didn't Count to '10' When Administering EpiPen? "Don't Worry", Study Says.

Conventional wisdom has always been to "count to ten" when administering an epinephrine autoinjector, so as to allow the medication enough time to be adequately delivered into the muscle.

However, in practice, ten seconds can seem like an eternity when attempting to hold a little one still. Many parents worry that if they don't follow the "ten second rule", their squirmy kid will not receive enough life-saving medication to avert an allergic disaster.

Well, here's some good news: a recent study evaluating various EpiPen injection times has determined that even with an injection time as short as 1 second, over 95% of epinephrine was absorbed into muscle. (Baker TW, Webber CM, Stolfi A, Gonzalez-Reyes E: The TEN study: time epinephrine needs to reach muscle. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011;107:235-238.)

No little children were used as pincushions in the course of this study. Instead, the researchers used marbelized beef as a proxy for human thigh muscle, and measured the amount of epinephrine delivered using a very precise scale.

Take home message? 
Epinephrine autoinjectors are designed to be relatively forgiving of discrepancies in technique. The important thing isn't that you use them perfectly -- it's that you USE THEM.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The One Minute Mother - How the Daily Commute can be Transformative

Ever hear of "The One Minute Manager", that classic book from the 80's that advised wanna-be CEO's on situational leadership techniques? I gave "One Minute Mothering" a try today...

With my husband traveling for work most weeks, and my own expanding allergy micropractice, I don't have a lot of time for long heart-to-hearts with my kids. However, I spend a ton of time in the car with them! Usually, we rock out to Top 40 or listen to NPR. However, my boys aren't gleaning as much from public radio as I had hoped. This week, during a story on civil rights, my 3 year old asked me, "Mommy, who is Mr. Sippy?" To which my 6 year old answered, "It's not Mr. Sippy, dumb-dumb. It's MRS. Sippy!"

Therefore, I've decided to re-purpose our time in the car to full advantage. No more hoping they will learn by osmosis. I've got to be a little more proactive. So, my new project is to find quotes that speak to me somehow, and translate each one into a 2-3 minute conversation with my boys, all in the time it takes to drive from home to daycare (or from daycare to karate, karate to home, daycare to football, football to home, etc.). I'll share them here, and I'd love for my readers to share quotes or proverbs that have held special meaning in your lives. The goal is for my children to be able to reflect back upon "car time with Mommy" as something special, rather than just a taxi service.

Today's lesson (in a nutshell): "It is far better to be interested than to be interesting." 

The actual conversation went more like this: "Would you rather hang out with some who cares about you and what you're doing, or with someone who spends all their time talking about themselves and how cool they are?" (Insert child's reply here) "Right! Well, then it's important to always try to be the kind of person that you yourself would like to be friends with. People who are interested in others are always learning new things, which makes them fun and exciting to be around themselves. They also make other people feel special. How do you feel when you know you've done something to make a friend feel special?" (Insert child's reply here) "Exactly! Isn't that a wonderful feeling? Now, on the other hand, people who focus on trying to be the center of attention all the time aren't learning these new and cool things from other people, because they spend all their time talking about themselves. Who would you rather be?"

And now, we have reached the karate dojo, and my little man can reflect on this conversation while he perfects his roundhouse kicks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The AllergistMommy Wears Pajamas to Daycare, Gets Ridiculed by 6 Year Olds

I love Wednesday, because it's my day off during the week. My day to sip tea, eat biscotti, and catch up on emails, blogging, administrative tasks for work, and laundry.

No rushing to get ready in the morning while encouraging the kids to scarf down their breakfasts! Instead, I can leisurely roll out of bed and focus my efforts on ensuring that my kids are clean, dressed and fed before heading off to school. So what if my make-up isn't done and I'm not fully dressed for work? I throw my hair into a ponytail and once my coat is on, no one is the wiser, right?

Kids notice everything.

So, I was just a little embarrassed when my son was excitedly asked by a friend, "Does your mom have pajama day at work today TOO?!?!" (Kids are crazy about pajama days.)

I looked down at myself, and what I saw was horrifying:
Instead of yoga pants, I left the house in a pair of MY HUSBAND'S PLAID PAJAMA PANTS. You know, the ones that shrunk in the wash as soon as he bought them? The ones that are so ugly that I'm forbidden to wear them when he's home? The ones that are so incredibly comfortable that I can't resist wearing them when he's NOT home? The ones that announce to my 6 year old's classmates that his mother is a lazy, unstylish frump? Yeah, THOSE pants.

Apparently, my Wednesdays have gotten a little too lazy. Some administrative tasks will have to be put on hold today, while I burn everything plaid and pay my respects at