Stories about: allergies

Spring health cheat sheet

Health & Safety Series As the spring weather approaches, many common winter infections recede. However, warmer temperatures can introduce a new set of health challenges.

As trees and flowers bloom and grass grows, susceptible children will start to display symptoms of seasonal allergies, triggering flares of asthma and eczema. And, As children spend more time outdoors, parents also need to watch for exposure to ticks, poison ivy and excess sun.

Here are a few tips to keeping your child healthy this spring.

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A new option for kids with severe allergies

(image credit: CVS)

For parents of children with severe allergies, keeping our kids safe in the event of an allergic reaction is a priority. We rid our houses of allergens, we write detailed allergy plans for caretakers and we stock up on Epinephrine, the medication that will save our kids if they ever experience anaphylaxis.

Epinephrine auto-injectors are expensive, they expire every year even if unused, and we have to purchase multiples for home, school, and elsewhere. Which is why we’re thrilled that CVS now offers a generic Epinephrine auto-injector for $109.99 per two-pack — that’s about a sixth of the cost of Epi-pen and a third of the cost of Mylan’s generic version.

Before heading out to CVS to stock up, we checked in with Dr. John Lee, clinical director of the Food Allergy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “This new Epinephrine auto-injector from CVS can be used safely for anaphylaxis,” assures Dr. Lee. “It provides the same medication and the same dosing as the Epi-pen,” though he warns the mechanisms differ. He urges anyone caring for a child with a life-threatening allergy to be trained on how to use each brand.

Above all, Dr. Lee insists caretakers carry an Epinephrine auto-injector at all times — “no matter which one it is,” he emphasizes.

Learn about Boston Children’s Hospital’s Food Allergy Program.

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Health headlines: Boosting brainpower, treating overuse injuries and the latest on food allergies

Health headlines

Boston Children’s Hospital’s doctors and researchers are constantly working to uncover and understand health and medical questions. Health Headlines is a twice-monthly summary of some of the most important research findings.

Top news this week includes research focused on how early learning experiences shape development, a report on recovery from overuse injuries and a study on the relationship between blood cells and allergies.

How home visits for vulnerable moms boost kids’ brainpower

PBS News Hour reports on how rapidly expanding medical program for low-income first-time mothers combines social services with the latest in brain science. Dr. Charles Nelson, of Boston Children’s Hospital, is interviewed about his on-going research that focuses on a child’s early learning experiences and how it can shape their developing brain and impact early learning.

The best way for teens to recover from overuse injuries

The Wall Street Journal reports on overuse injuries when unrecognized and untreated they can sideline athletes from play and lead to more serious injuries and disability. Dr. Lyle Micheli, an orthopedic surgeon and director of Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine, was interviewed for the article.

Blood cells could determine whether kids get allergies

A new study suggests one reason why children develop sometimes lethal food allergies. At birth, their blood is rich in cells that can promote a hyperactive immune response.  Dr. Oliver Burton, a researcher from Boston Children’s Hospital, provides insight in the Science Magazine article.

Learn more about food allergies in children.

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Could sucking on babies’ pacifiers keep allergies from developing?

Researchers in Sweden recently published a small study showing that children whose moms and dads placed the children’s pacifiers in their own mouths before giving it to the child—sharing some of their oral bacteria—were less likely to develop allergies like eczema and asthma later in life.

The study’s smaller size suggests that more research is needed before a link between pacifier “sharing” and reduced allergy risk can be proven, but the findings do add to a growing body of research that suggests bringing up children in a hyper-clean environment may not be the healthiest way to raise them.

“Western culture is becoming an increasingly sterile environment, but that might not be ideal for young children as their immune systems develop,” says John Lee, MD, director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Food Allergy Clinic. “Their bodies need to learn what to attack and what to ignore. But if they’re exposed to too few, or the wrong kinds of germs, it can hinder development, sometimes confusing the immune system into attacking nonthreatening entities like pollen or food, which is what causes allergies.”

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