Archive for July, 2014

Fish Allergies

In recent years, the conventional wisdom is that the Americans consume too much meat in their diet. Public health officials have said that we should diversify our diet with dairy, vegetables and fish. Yet some Americans are allergic to fish and may be allergic to products that contain fish.

WebMD states that food products containing fish ingredients are: “Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauces made with Worcestershire; Caesar salad and Caesar dressing, caponata (Sicilian eggplant relish), caviar and fish roe; artificial fish like imitation crabmeat, and fish sauce, oils, and gelatin.”

I tell my patients that those who are allergic to fish, may only be allergic to only a certain type of fish. Some allergists feel that a fish allergic person should avoid fish altogether, but that person may feel that he or she should be allowed to eat other types of fish in their diet. They can ask their allergist to test them for their specific fish allergy.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) website states that after your allergist tests you for your particular fish allergy “take extra precautions to avoid cross-contact (when two foods come into contact with each other and their proteins mix) when purchasing fish from a market or when dining out.”

Typical symptoms of fish allergies, like other food allergies, may include: nausea, stomach cramps, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, headaches, and asthma. Yet some people are so sensitive to fish allergies, that merely touching fish or being in an area where it is being cooked can provoke a severe anaphylactic response. People that are so allergic adverse are advised to carry an epien (epinephrine injector) with them and to avoid fish contaminated areas.

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Are Your Allergic To Your iPad?

In my practice, I see a lot of pediatric rashes: heat rashes, medicine rashes, ringworm and even swimmer’s itch, among others. But now there’s a rash that’s connected to our web obsessed culture–the iPad rash.

It appears that the Apple’s i Pad has been cast as the culprit in reports of unexplained allergic rashes in children, according to an interesting story I recently saw in the Washington Post. The paper reported the iPad allergy outbreak from a study in the medical journal, Pediatrics.

The study profiled an 11- year old boy who had an itchy body rash which wouldn’t go away, who was treated at a San Diego hospital. The Daily Mail, a London-based newspaper stated “the boy had a common skin condition that causes scaly patches, but he developed a different rash all over his body that didn’t respond to usual treatment. Skin testing showed he had a nickel allergy, and doctors traced it to his iPad, which he had used daily.”

The boy improved after he put his iPad in a protective case.

However, the 11-year old isn’t an isolated case when it comes to nickel allergies. At the beginning of this year, people who brought the fitness tracker, Force- a wearable band– reported developing contact dermatitis from wearing this device. The manufacturer, Fitbit recalled the band after it was revealed that nickel was involved in the production of this product. Some wearers tried to cover the nickel port with tape, but it didn’t stop rash.

Dr. Sharon Jacob, a dermatologist at the San Diego hospital where the 11-year old was treated stated that “nickel allergies are becoming more common, or increasingly recognized.” And said that “national data showing that about 25 percent of children who get skin tests for allergies have nickel allergies, versus about 17 percent a decade ago.”

If you or your child have developed a rash that won’t go away or won’t respond to over-the-counter treatments, see your allergist.

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Allergies Keeping You From Dining Out? Allergic Girl Can Help

A lot of my patients have food allergies and many are afraid of dining out. I tell them there are a number of blogs and books they can consult to allay their fears of an allergic attack when eating out. But one of the most interesting allergy consults is New York-based one, Allergic Girl Resources. Her website is
Founded by Sloane Miller, Allergic Girl Resources offers a wide range of services for the allergy prone such as one-on-one counseling with families, a consultant with restaurants and other food establishments as well as working with governmental agencies about food allergies. She also written a well – received book on being allergic– Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies–and received the Samter Journalism Award by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

One of the most informative aspects of the Allergic Girl website is the restaurant ratings. The website rates these eating establishments by the following criteria:

“Chef/ Owner/Menu change- This restaurant has had a change which may result in a change of allergy-friendly status.

“(Year). The year the restaurant was visited.

“*Means that the restaurant is consistently good and is allergy-friendly consistently.

“Provisional- Ms. Miller was once there but has not been back.

“Menu- This restaurant has a special menu for various dietary restrictions.

“Book- This restaurant has an ingredient book at the manager’s station.

“Price-$ to $$$$. All price ranges.

“Child friendly. This restaurant has a children’s menu.”

Concerning allergy friendly restaurants, she explains on her website that even if it appears that the restaurant is not specifically allergy friendly on its menus, she had occasions in which was at one eating establishment and told the wait staff her dietary restrictions and asked if they could come up with a meal for her. The chef, she said, was delighted to come up with a meal that met her allergy needs. Sometimes, she says, all you have to do is ask.

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