Category: Allergy News Updates

Oral immunotherapy

Just thought I’d pass this information along:)


News Tips from the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy Of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
February 28, 2010
Feb. 26-March 2, NEW ORLEANS
-Oral immunotherapy study at Hopkins Children’s shows it works

Children with egg allergies who consume increasingly higher doses of egg protein — the very nutrient they react to — appear to gradually overcome their allergies, tolerating eggs better over time and with milder symptoms, according to research conducted at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and elsewhere.
The findings from a multi-center trial are to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Feb. 26 through March 2.
Previous research at Hopkins Children’s showed that the same approach, known as oral immunotherapy, can be used successfully to treat children with milk allergies. Some of the children in the milk allergy study overcame their condition completely, and many experienced less severe allergic symptoms as a result of the therapy.
Now, researchers are reporting similarly encouraging results in children with egg allergies.
“Just as we saw in our patients with milk allergies before, oral immunotherapy for children with egg allergies works in the same way by slowly retraining the immune system to tolerate the allergens that caused allergic reactions,” says study investigator Robert Wood, M.D., director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children’s.
Researchers caution that confirming these early results requires long-term monitoring of the current patients and enrolling more children in the ongoing trials. They also caution that oral immunotherapy should be implemented only by a trained pediatric allergist.
In the 11-month study of 45 children ages 5 to 18, researchers gave 40 patients increasingly higher doses of egg whites during multiple food challenges conducted in a clinic and under a doctor’s supervision, while 15 children received placebo, “dummy” food that looks like egg whites but contains no egg protein. All children received higher and higher doses of either placebo or actual egg protein in the course of the 11 months.
At the end of the study, during a final food challenge, more than half of the children who had been consuming eggs (21 out of 40) could tolerate 5 grams of eggs without having an allergic reaction. None of the children who received placebo were able to tolerate eggs during the final food challenge.
When symptoms did occur, investigators say, they were mild to moderate and involved mostly itching and swelling of the mouth and throat.
Children who consumed eggs also had lower blood levels of IgE antibodies — immune markers that rise during an allergic reaction — and a significant drop in the levels of egg-specific basophils, a type of white blood cell that multiplies during an allergic reaction.
Food allergies have been steadily rising in the last decade and are becoming harder to outgrow, research shows. An estimated 2 percent to 3 percent of U.S. children have egg allergies.
Placing small amounts of milk protein under the tongues of children who are allergic to milk can help them overcome their allergies, according to the findings of a small study at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Duke University.
The findings will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The approach, known as SLIT (sublingual immune therapy), involves giving children small but increasingly higher doses of the food they are allergic to until their immune systems “learn” to tolerate the food without triggering an allergic reaction or triggering only mild symptoms. Previous research from Hopkins Children’s showed that a similar approach known as oral immunotherapy can successfully treat children with milk allergies. Unlike SLIT, oral immunotherapy involves consuming milk protein rather than merely placing it under the tongue.
The current study suggests that both approaches could be effective in treating milk allergies in most patients, authors say, but that oral immunotherapy appears to be slightly more effective than SLIT. The investigators caution that the results are preliminary and that the two approaches must be compared in larger groups before their equal efficacy can be confirmed.
While both approaches work by exposing the patient to progressively higher doses of the allergenic food, SLIT is done with lower doses—and therefore with lower risk for a severe allergic reaction. Researchers caution that both therapies can lead to violent allergic reactions in some patients, and should be always done under a doctor’s supervision.
  “We are very excited to see that both approaches can achieve significant improvement in children with milk allergies, but we continue to see slightly better tolerance in children on oral immunotherapy,” says lead investigator Robert Wood, M.D., director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children’s. “Nonetheless, SLIT emerges as a new, if slightly less powerful, weapon in our arsenal.”
In the study, all 30 children ages 6 to 17 were treated with milk drops under the tongue (SLIT) for several weeks until they built up their tolerance. Once minimum tolerance was achieved, the children were divided into two groups. Ten children continued their SLIT treatment while the other 20 consumed milk powder by mouth (OIT). After three months of treatment with increasingly higher doses of milk protein, all children underwent a food challenge, which involved drinking milk under a doctor’s supervision.
All children in the “by mouth” group were able to drink on average seven times more milk without an allergic reaction or with mild symptoms compared to their baseline milk challenge before the treatment. Nine of the 10 children treated with milk drops under the tongue, were able to do so.
Children in both groups experienced allergic symptoms equally often during the treatment. In the “under the tongue” group, 33 percent of the 3,619 doses of milk administered caused symptoms, compared to 35 percent of the 3,773 doses in the “by mouth” group. Most symptoms were mild, with the most common ones being mouth and throat itching and irritation. Abdominal and respiratory symptoms occurred very infrequently, the researchers report.

In the News

I got this from another group I belong to and thought I’d pass it along:

In the News

The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center on Facebook sent out the follow link on an upcoming episode on Nickelodeon, Sept 27th.
It features/references Dr. Wood., addressing the increase in food allergies in our children.

FAAN responds to Slate article by Meredith Broussard

Allergy website resources

This was posted on a support group that I belong to and I thought it was worth passing on:)

There are a lot of websites online now that can help you and your family manage food allergies, but this was published by Cookie Magazine and re posted by I thought it would be a good start for those who are new to the group and just being diagnosed. 

Here is the link with direct links to websites, but I’m posting text too in case the link is inactive in the future.

Best All-Around Sites for Info
and Resources

Make sure you’re up to speed on the latest allergy findings, product recalls, and advocacy issues.

• Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network: The go-to guide for the latest info on food allergies. Sign up for allergy alerts so you know when a product has been recalled, and check out recipes and products, which include children’s books, cookbooks, epinephrine auto-injector carriers, and more.

• Food Allergy Initiative: Tons of tips on how to manage food allergies at home, in school, and at camp. It also offers strategies for eating out and traveling, as well as genius restaurant cards that explain a specific allergy and who to call in an emergency—in different languages.

• Kids with Food Allergies: Find an allergy buyer’s guide, links to allergy articles and research, support forums, and more.

• Food Allergy Website Just for Kids: Part of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network this site for kids has allergy-related projects, coloring pages, and activities.

• Beyond a Peanut: Created by a mother whose child has allergies, this site sells allergy flashcards with simple explanations and images—perfect for bringing grandparents, caregivers, and friends up to speed on food allergies.

• Allergy Haven: Listings of recommended allergy-related books.

Allergy-Related Products and Accessories

Kids with allergies need to carry their medication at all times, but let’s give them something cooler than a plastic baggie:

• Take in Case: Invented by a mom, this new carrier straps onto your (or an older child’s) leg, so you can forgo the bag altogether.

• KozyEpi: Find a fun selection of cute, whimsical pouches for one or two EpiPens.

• Allergypack: This site carries cool, rugged carriers.

• Epi-Access International: Buy a carrier with space for one inhaler plus a photo and emergency-contact information.

• Medicine Bags: If you’re carrying more than just epinephrine, then opt for either a bright red medicine bag that holds a lot and stands out in your bag, or choose the heavy-duty, clear nylon medicine bags—sort of a fancy resealable baggie that comes with an emergency card.

• Lunch bags: If your child brings lunch or snacks to school or day camp, try these red cooler bags, which can be customized with your child’s name and allergy.

• Allergy stickers: Avoid the risk of having someone feed your child the wrong food with pantry stickers that clearly indicate which food is safe and which is off-limits. You can also get allergy alert stickers that indicate your child’s specific allergies.

Allergy Bracelets and IDs

When you’re away from your child, a medical bracelet ensures that a caregiver, teacher, or friend’s parent has easy access to emergency information.

• Lauren’s Hope: Choose from a large selection of tasteful “medical jewelry,” including sports bracelets on subtle black bands and color-changing mood beads with Swarovski crystals.

• Well Alarm: Make the allergy obvious with a bracelet or necklace that features either a peanut, a bee, or a shellfish charm, or customize a dog-tag necklace with your information.

• STAT Kids: Check out the bright red silicone wristbands with eye-catching white lettering identifying your child’s food allergy, in sizes to fit toddlers through teens. You can choose from a variety of food allergies or pick one that says “multiple food allergies.”
Safe Desserts

Kids with allergies love sweets too! Now, they can have their pick of healthy, allergy-safe cookies, candy, and chocolates.

• Divvies: Pick up homemade cookies and cupcakes, as well as a wide selection of chocolate bars, chocolate chips, jelly beans, and popcorn. Great for gifts.

• Home Free: Started by a mom, Home Free sells cookies and coffee cake that do not contain peanuts, tree nuts, and dairy—and all are made in a dedicated facility.

• Vermont Nut Free Chocolate Company: This site is a savior for chocoholic tots with allergies. Load up on chocolate bugs, snowflakes, flowers, and footballs—as well as chocolate lollipops and the most amazing dark-, white-, and milk-chocolate pretzels.

Allergen Alert

I got this e-mail today and thought I would post it.  I’ll post an update as soon as I hear one:)

March 16th, 2009

Attached is a Manufacturer Allergen Ingredient Labeling (MAIL) ALERT for Imagine Foods/Hain Celestial Group Rice Dream Rice Drink (Vanilla, Enriched).

A child suffered an anaphylactic reaction immediately following ingestion of this product. Note the following product code: Mar 03 09 03MAR09P5FNA 21:24 29-260. The product was purchased in Michigan.

Cross-contamination with milk in the processing of the product is suspected. The product will be tested by FAARP, an independent food allergy testing laboratory at the University of Nebraska to validate the presence of allergen ingredients.

The manufacturer has been notified of this incident and invited to post a response on the ELL website.


Kathleen Silverman

Eat, Learn, Live (ELL)


Interview with the Journal:)

I’m being interviewed for the Journal regarding my childrens’ milk allergies and the release of my new Companion guide and Cookbook.  Here are some of the questions and my complete answers:  (I’ll let everyone know when it gets published:))

1. How did you cope with the news your first child was allergic/intolerant?

When we gave our oldest son his first bite of yogurt, he went into anaphylaxis and we had to rush him to Urgent Care. Within minutes his body was covered in hives, his eyelids swelled shut, and his arms and legs swelled up. It was terrifying. When we finally saw an allergist who diagnosed his Milk and Egg allergy, we had no idea where to turn or what to do. We made numerous mistakes which resulted in trips to the Emergency Room and many doses of Benadryl. It took years to finally understand the magnitude of his allergy and how to deal with it.

2. How did you discover what to feed him?

A lot of what I fed him at first was trial and error, often resulting in hives, vomiting, and trips to the Emergency Room. Eventually I did a lot of research on the internet and found comprehensive lists of what products contain the milk protein and what to avoid. I learned quickly to read every label, even if “dairy-free” is written on the front, as many products still contained caseinate (derived from milk) resulting in rashes on my son.

3. Is it odd that so many of your kids have this, or is that rather common?

I find it very odd that so many of my children have problems with dairy as both my husband and I have no problem with dairy products. I spent the first years in denial, hoping it would go away. Now, it is just a part of our daily living as I’ve learned to deal with it and adapt meals for the entire family.

4. Do you know actual statistics for kids who are allergic?

US News reported that 4% of children and teens in the US are affected by a food allergy. This has increased 18% over the last decade.

5. What made you decide to undertake the cookbook?

I found my inspiration for writing my cookbook 2 1/2 years ago when I started nursing my youngest daughter and had to go off of all dairy products myself due to her colic-type symptoms. As soon as I went off all dairy products, her symptoms went away. While I have always been sympathetic to my children, I was amazed at how bland the dairy-free food was that I had been preparing for them. I found myself craving savory meals and creamy sauces. I decided then and there that I would start cooking better not only for myself, but for my children. I wanted to share my findings with others who were going through a similar situation, thus starting my quest to find and create savory dishes that the entire family could enjoy.

6. What was the process…how did you get recipes, test, get it published, etc.

This first thing I did in preparing to write my cookbook was collect all of my favorite recipes that I’ve adapted, created, and modified over the years and put them all into one place. I then sent out e-mails to friends and family and asked them to submit recipes that they enjoyed that might be dairy-free. This was a long and tedious process as many people had no idea what meals may or may not be dairy-free. I spent hours sifting through recipes and even found some hand written ones from grandparents. Those were treasures. I then branched out and joined an allergy support group. This was very helpful not only for recipes but also for moral support to know that I was not alone in my struggles with the allergies of my children. In addition to this I started a blog documenting my experiences with my childrens’ milk allergies and started up a website  As recipes came in, I organized them and screened them for appropriateness in my cookbook. After I organized everything, I knew that I needed to test and photograph each recipe, as I only wanted to use the best in my cookbook. I once again sent out e-mails asking for volunteer test kitchens. Many family members and friends helped out in this process. I asked them to rate the recipes, tell if they would change anything, and asked if their family enjoyed the recipe. We also tested every recipe in our own kitchen and I had my children and husband rate them. This process took a very long time. In addition to test kitchens, we had food parties. One favorite one was the bread and soup cookoff. Everyone made one of the soup dishes that I was testing or one of the bread dishes. We then all came together and sampled all of the food. I had little anonymous cups for people to rate each dish from 1 to 5. It was a lot of fun and a great way to help choose the best recipes possible. We also did this with multiple pancake recipes, cookie recipes, and the like. I was surprised to find that some of my favorites were no longer my favorites. It was a lot of fun trying new things. After I had all the recipes tested and photographed, I started the long process of compiling them into a format ready for printing. I love scrapbooking and found it a lot of fun to showcase the photos and to play with the fonts. After the book was completed and edited, I finally met with a self-publishing company, BookSurge, and a few weeks later, my book was ready to print and is now available for sale through my website, Amazon, and other on-line book stores. It was a very gratifying experience to finally finish something that I had started.

7. How long did it take start to finish?

It took me 2 1/2 years start to finish to collect, test, photograph, and compile my cookbook. It was a happy day when it was finally published!

8. What are some of the features?

In The Milk Allergy Companion & Cookbook, there are over 175 tested recipes, amazingly all dairy-free, a shopping and eating out guide, a list of hidden sources of dairy, ideas for nursing moms who have to go off of all dairy, ideas for birthday parties, school, and other special occasions, quick meal ideas and a list of dairy-free snacks, and tips and tricks for cooking dairy-free (as well as a few tips on how to adapt for an egg allergy).

On the website,, I have put together links to other helpful milk allergy sites, a blog detailing my own experiences, free dairy-free recipes monthly, an eating out guide, and more in-depth information about the cookbook.

9. What do you hope to accomplish with the book and companion web site?

If I can help one person out there who is struggling with a milk allergy, then I have succeeded. I hope that through my book and website I can help those individuals who have been newly diagnosed with a milk allergy avoid some of the pitfalls and trips to the emergency room that we had to go through. I hope to provide recipes that use normal ingredients that the entire family can enjoy, with or without a milk allergy. I also want to inspire others to recognize that there is hope and that one can embrace and savor life in spite of their milk allergy.