The Hilltop Allergy Letter
VOLUME 15 NUMBER 2
MARCH - MAY 2016
We welcome all new and established patients to our newsletter. This is formulated four times a year to inform patients and the medical community with regard to new developments in asthma, allergies, and clinical immunology. Please feel free to take this home with you and share it with family and friends.
As spring comes upon us, we can expect tree pollens to begin pollination as early as March, although they usually begin pollination in April. Grass pollination is typically seen mid-April into May. Tree pollination usually ends in May with the exception of pine pollen which can continue through June. Weed pollination usually starts mid-summer into fall. Factors that favor the beginning of tree pollen season include above-freezing temperatures, lack of snow on the ground and longer hours of sunlight.
HOW SAFE IS SKIN TESTING?
Allergy shots have a very low risk of causing severe allergic reactions. Studies have shown that less than 2% of patients receiving allergy shots will have a severe reaction. Nonetheless, these can be life threatening and therefore patients are monitored after allergy shots for the development of allergic reactions.
Allergy skin testing uses similar products to what is used for allergy shots. A recent study showed that skin testing is very safe with the overall rate of significant reactions (systemic allergic reactions) being 0.077%. The greatest number of reactions was to foods. The most likely food to cause a reaction was peanut. This study certainly reveals how safe skin testing is. Skin testing is the preferred method to diagnose allergic disease. Source: Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2016, volume 115, pgs. 229-233.
A RISE IN HOSPITALIZATION FOR SEVERE FOOD ALLERGY REACTIONS
A recent study looked at the rates of hospital admission for severe allergic reactions to foods. This study, from the Australian National Hospital Data Base, compared rates of hospitalization for severe food allergy reactions from 2005 to 2012. During that time, the overall rate of admission for food-related anaphylactic shock increased by 46%. This status shows continued increases in food-related anaphylaxis which mirrors other developed countries. While children to age four have accounted for most of these cases, the rate of increase was highest in those aged 5 to 14. This suggests that the risk of anaphylaxis is shifting to older adolescents and young adults who are at highest risk for fatal anaphylactic shock. This certainly underscores the need to be vigilant with regard to food allergy reactions in patients, especially children and teenagers. Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2015, volume 136, pgs. 365-375.
A POSSIBLE NEW WAY TO PREVENT ASTHMA
Early life exposures to animals may decrease the risk of developing allergies to the animal and possibly the development of asthma, although some studies have shown that asthma risk can increase with early exposure to animals. A recent study evaluated long-term outcomes associated with sleeping on animal fur during infancy. This German study looked at 2,441 children. In these children, parents reported data on whether or not their children slept on animal fur such as sheep skin during the first three months of life. Fifty-five percent of these children did sleep on animal fur during infancy.
Children who slept on animal fur had lower rates of asthma at age six. Source: European Respiratory Journal 2015, volume 46, pgs. 107-114.
AROUND THE MITCHELL HOUSE
The Mitchell House is on the Federal Register of National Historic Sites. It is our goal to maintain these properties in their excellent and historic state.
This spring, we will be starting repair and maintenance of our Carriage House roof. This house has maintained its integrity for over 80 years. It is now in need of repair. The copper gutters need to be replaced, as copper, like any metal, can rust over time. This should not have any impact on the function of our office.