food allergy

Who among us hasn’t been tormented by the itch after a mosquito bite? This is due to the histamine release at the offending site. In some, it is a bit more exaggerated and an oral antihistamine or topical cream with the passage of time does the trick to provide optimal relief.

Now imagine that intensity and urge to scratch diffusely spread over your entire body in a constant and unrelenting fashion. Night and day. Where a more significant underlying cause won’t be benefitted and cured by time or a Benadryl, for instance.

That is called chronic “generalized pruritus” and its etiologies can range from the readily fixable to the necessitation of a liver transplant in those where treatment for the symptom might be refractory. In the extreme, sleep is impaired and even...

On my recent flight to New York City, an attendant announced that a passenger had a severe peanut allergy. If any of us had brought food containing peanuts, it was requested that we put it away for the entire flight. I poked fun at this on my Facebook page, after which I was castigated for my insensitivity and lack of compassion.

"It's the recirculated air," one person said.

"It can be ingested through particles circulated in the air," chimed in another.

A teacher weighed in, too: "A child in my class... went in to shock after touching the same door knob that someone who had... peanuts had touched earlier."

No, that's not how it works. The apparently widespread belief that recirculated peanut-tainted air can kill unsuspecting children is based on several...

Peanut allergies range from inconvenient to potentially fatal. The cause is unknown, but it is likely to involve a combination of immunogenetic and environmental factors. In the case of the latter, research suggests that peanut allergies are more common among Westerners, possibly because they eat dry roasted peanuts while Asians eat boiled ones.

Those who are afflicted by deadly peanut allergies take great pains to avoid any foods that might contain even a trace of the legume. In case they accidentally consume peanuts, some carry an EpiPen to prevent anaphylactic shock.

For these sufferers, relief soon may be...

Some PeanutsAustralian researchers have successfully trialed a peanut allergy treatment in children, which has potential to lead to a long-term cure for the condition. About 1 percent of Americans have peanut allergies, and in Australia, where the study took place, about 3 percent of the population have peanut allergies.

Most allergic reactions are not life threatening, but some can lead to anaphylaxis, where blood pressure drops abruptly and the airways and throat can swell causing breathing...