Archive for November, 2013

Small Amounts Of Peanut Allergen Can Pose Risk

A number of my patients have peanut allergies and I tell them that people who are allergic to peanuts can suffer serious reactions even if exposed to minute amounts of peanuts, even if it is just residue.

About a year ago, I came across an interesting study conducted by the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, to determine the persistence of peanut allergen on a typical table surface over time.

The report stated that “five ml of peanut butter was evenly smeared on a 12 inch by 12 inch on a nonporous (laminated plastic) table surface.. The table was kept in a regular hospital office at room temperature and ambient lighting. No cleaning occurred for 110 days. Immediately post application for 110 days of collecting, detectable Ara h1 was found each time a sample was taken. There was no obvious allergen degradation over time. Active cleaning of the contaminated surface with a commercial cleaning wipe resulted in no detectable Ara h 1 allergen.”

I then read a study by conducted Johns Hopkins University concerning the efficacy of various cleaning agents in the removal of peanut allergen. The researchers said that Lysol sanitizing wipes, Formula 409 and Target brand cleaner with bleach were effective in removing peanut butter from a clean table. But plain water and dishwashing soap left residual amounts of Ara h 1 on 4 out of 12 samples. In a related study for cleaning hands, hand sanitizers left a residue on some test subjects.

Also, Johns Hopkins noted in another report that the rinsing or washing out your mouth does not reduce the amount of peanut protein present. Other “activities” said the report,”did not lower the level of peanut protein present in the saliva such as brushing teeth, chewing gum or waiting an hour.” The only thing that worked, cited the report was ” eating a peanut-free meal and waiting several hours.”

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Kids Need Flu Shots Too

Flu season is here and I’m telling my adult patients they should get the flu vaccine and their children need it as much as they do.

I read a very sobering statistic from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). Cited in the Journal, Pediatrics, the CDC data stated “seasonal flu killed 830 children from 2004 to 2012, and 43 percent of them had no high-risk medical conditions.” In other words, these were normal children with no previous medical disorders.

Of the children who died, the report continued “death often came quickly: most of the children died within a week of the appearance of symptoms, and a third of them died outside the hospital or in an emergency room.”

The recommendation of most doctors is that people from 6 months of age and older get vaccinated, but, as the Wall Street Journal has noted, “compliance rates often are low. In the 2011-2012 flu season, about 42% of people got a vaccine including just half of children 6 months to 17 years old.”

As reported in the Journal, “flu vaccines offer protection against three kinds of viruses–two varieties of Type A viruses and one variety of Type B. This year, some vaccines contain a second variety of Type B virus.”

The Journal states there are a variety of vaccines that offer protection against the flu for children this year. They are:
The trivalent shot
The standard flu shot to protect against three strains of flu virus

the quadrivalent shot
New this year, a fourth strain of virus is added to the usual three

the nasal spray
This form of vaccination, called FluMist, is especially popular for use with children. It will be updated this year to include the quadrivalent vaccine. It shouldn’t be used by pregnant women as they spray contains live, albeit weakened viruses.

Consult your doctor for the vaccine that’s best for your child.

Have questions about the flu shot or immunology and live in the NYC area? Call my office for a consultation tel.#212-247-7447. Find more about my practice on my website

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