No one I knew had food allergy, let alone peanut allergy, when I was a child. I grew up at a time when peanuts were given freely on airplanes, and there was no such thing as a peanut-free table at school. Fast forward to today and the world has changed, with food allergies taking on almost epidemic-like proportions. I am an allergist and became interested in food allergies ...

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Penicillin allergies are fake news. More than 95 percent of people with penicillin allergies are not allergic.  A recent article highlighted the opportunity anethesiologists have in helping evaluate beta-lactam allergies, in particular to cephalosporins. The author was correct, these allergies are common and usually not real. Unfortunately, premedication with antihistamines as suggested may mask allergic reactions and not clear the allergy, though the idea to think about retesting ...

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Peanut allergies can be a serious problem, and many exposures happen when our kids are at school. On average, there are probably about 5 peanut-allergic children in each of our nation’s 100,000 school buildings. What’s the best policy for schools to use to help protect these kids from potentially fatal reactions? Different schools have taken different approaches, and as far as I can tell there is no authoritative national guideline ...

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Recently, a respected allergist reassured his audience: the mortality rate for food allergy is very low. The risk of dying in a car crash is much greater than the risk of dying from food allergy. The implication seemed to be that the anxiety around food allergy is misplaced. Though any loss of life is too great; statistically, food allergy deaths are rare. To the food allergy community, it just doesn’t ...

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Let’s begin with a quiz question: Patients may be allergic to: A. oxygen B. carbon C. iodine D. none of the above If you answered anything but "D," better keep reading. Consider this scenario: If a patient is allergic to penicillin, you would document “penicillin” in the medical records. It would never occur to you to list “antibiotics” as an allergy, and you certainly would not call it a “carbon” allergy for slang, just because penicillin contains ...

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Recently while traveling overseas, I found myself in a predicament not often encountered nor taught to health professionals. I was requested to address an emergency at 30,000 feet in the air. This got us thinking: How many patients consider the possibility of a medical emergency in the air? People with chronic illnesses and the older population (who find themselves retiring and having more time to travel) need to be prepared so ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 35-year-old woman is evaluated for intermittent fever, sweats, fatigue, and dull midchest pain of 2 weeks' duration. Medical history is significant for liver transplantation 6 months ago for primary biliary cirrhosis; she was seronegative for cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus, and her donor was positive for both. Results of ...

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I retired my first stethoscope today. I bought my Littmann Cardiology III during my first term of medical school in 1999. It came with a penlight, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, manual blood pressure cuff, tuning forks and reflex hammer, all contained within a traditional black leather physician’s bag with my initials in gold. Receiving your medical student diagnostic kit is one of the rites ...

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Can you imagine flying home from a family vacation and having a first-time anaphylactic reaction in the air? Did you know that airlines are not required to stock their planes with easy-to-use auto-injectors that any adult or child could operate? Francine's family was flying back home from vacation on American Airlines. Her 10-year-old son, who had no history of food allergy, ate the warm mixed nuts they served and immediately had stomach ...

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Nearly every American is touched by serious chronic illness, either as a patient or as a caregiver. The federal government recognizes the far-reaching effects of such conditions, and agencies like the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct surveillance of these diseases. Such research allows us to better understand the burden of different diseases, develop new treatments and prevention practices, and protect the public’s health. ...

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