allergies

Dean Hochman / Flickr

A group of allergy researchers in Seattle is releasing new recommendations that mark a complete turnaround from the conventional wisdom on when to introduce peanut products to babies. The guidelines come in the wake of a recent major study.

Doctors used to say parents shouldn’t let kids even try peanuts until age three. The American Academy of Pediatrics dropped that advice after incidence of peanut allergy continued to climb, quadrupling between 1997 and 2010.

Nurses, teachers and other school staff will likely have more flexibility next fall to give adrenaline shots if a student goes into allergic shock. Both houses of the Legislature have unanimously approved a bill that loosens restrictions on how and when schools can use an epinephrine injector. 

The change is meant to save the lives of kids who have a severe allergy, including some rare cases in which the first-ever reaction to a not-yet-diagnosed allergy takes place at school or on a field trip.

EpiPen

The idea of putting a needle of adrenaline into someone might seem intimidating – but that’s how you save their life if they’re in allergic shock. The legislature is considering empowering school staff to give injections more widely.

Last year, a girl in Virginia died after eating a peanut given to her by a friend.

Josh Kenzer / Flickr

Peanut allergies have been rising dramatically – enough so that many elementary classrooms have banned peanuts. About four times as many children have peanut allergies today as 20 years ago.

The severe form of peanut allergies can be deadly, which is why thousands of people must carry around an adrenaline shot (called an epinephrine pen, or "epi-pen").

Now, allergy doctors are debating whether they should offer an experimental allergy treatment. It was a topic this past weekend, at the 2012 Northwest Allergy Forum in Seattle.

Don't curse the rain, it depresses allergens

May 7, 2012

Here in the Northwest, you hear lots of complaints about the abundant rain. But this year's cool March weather and above normal rainfall in April may have eased the suffering of people with pollen allergies.

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond had a personal reason to investigate the correlation between rainfall and pollen.

"I suffer from allergies to alder and birch," he says. "I noticed that when I am usually sneezing and sniffling in mid to late March, there wasn't much of that this year."