Pollen In The Air

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts...

Pollen is the number one outdoor allergen that is involved in the sexual reproduction of the plants. Pollen grain is the male gemate of male gTalinum - ovules stigmas and pollen tubesenetic material in flower plants. Pollen is produced in the anthers, a structure within the flower. When the pollen is ready to release, the anther ruptures and exposes the pollen which is then transported to the female organ of the flower.  In order for seeds to be produced, the pollen must be transferred from the male part of the flower to the female part of the flower.

Pollen is a fine to coarse grains which produce the male gametes (sperm cells). Pollen comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and surface markings characteristic of the species. They have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants. When pollen lands on a compatible pistil or female cone (i.e., when pollination has occurred), it germinates and produces a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule (or female gametophyte).

During spring and fall time the air contains many types of pollen. The smallest pollen grain, the forget-me-not is around 6 µm (0.006 mm) in diameter. Wind-borne pollen grains can be as large as about 90–100 µm.

The transfer of pollen grains to the female reproductive structure is called pollination. The transfer can be mediated by the wind or insects. 

Wind-pollinated plants typically produce enormous quantities of very lightweight pollen grains and the pollen is dispersed by air currents. The types of pollen that most commonly cause allergic reactions are produced by the drab, inconspicuous, plain-looking plants (trees, grasses, and weeds) that do not have showy flowers.

Common tree pollens are olive, birch, elm, oak, and walnut. Grasses generate many pollens. Examples include: blue, rye, bermuda grasses and red top. Allergy caused by grass pollen is second only to ragweed. Weeds are mostly wind-pollinating. Examples of these are ragweed, sagebrush, pigweed, and tumbleweed. Ragweed is the most important cause of seasonal allergic hay fever. There are many more trees, grasses, and weeds that generate allergy-causing pollens. Airborn pollen can be blown for long distances. Pollen has been found floating in the air 400 miles out at see and 2 miles up in the sky. Pollen even can cross continents.

Insect-pollinated plants  produce pollen that is relatively heavy, sticky and protein-rich. These type of plants tend to have bright petals for flowPeacock with pollen on his headers and are scented and exude nectar to attract insects. The main insect pollinators are bees and butterflies. The pollen will cling to the visitor as it makes the rounds of flowers to eat nectar. That’s why plants with colorful flowers generally don’t cause allergic reactions since the pollen is not usually present in the air. Many insects and some mites are specialized to feed on pollen.

For many trees the small inconspicuous flowers are produced just before the leaves develop from the buds and go unnoticed by most people. Weather has significant effects on pollen release. Warm, dry, sunny, and windy conditions favor pollen release. Cold temperature, high humidity and rain will suppress the release of pollen because the rain clean the air of pollen grains.

Tree pollen levels typically peak from late March through most of April and it last about 2-4 weeks. Another pick time is in September when ragweed pollen level begins to increase early in the month and usually peak around September 10. The levels drop slowly and are often still high in October.

A variety of producers have started selling bee pollen for human consumption, often marketed as a food (rather than a dietary supplement). The Honeybee comb: brood, pollen, honey and larva ...largest constituent is carbohydrates, with protein content ranging from 7 to 35 percent depending on the plant species collected by bees. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not found any harmful effects of pollen consumption, except from the usual allergies, but there can be possible dangers not only from allergic reactions but also from contaminants such as pesticides and from fungi and bacteria growth related to poor storage procedures.

Related videos:

Every pollen has a story:  http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_drori_every_pollen_grain_has_a_story.html

Discovery news: Massive Tree Pollen Explosion Explained: http://youtu.be/favTwuRaAgI


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Proposed New Air-Pollution Standards.

The UThe EPA was directed to set standards for radi....S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards for fine particulate matter (PM) pollution  to reduce soot in the air we breathe.

The White House recently modified the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to limit soot emissions, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, inviting public comment on a slightly weaker standard than the agency had originally sought.

The EPA had originally wanted to tighten the annual exposure to fine-particle soot from 15 micrograms (µg) per cubic meter of air (this is the current legal limit) to 11 micrograms per cubic meter, but the Office of Management and Budget directed the EPA to make the limit between 12 and 13 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Howard Feldman who directs regulatory and scientific affairs for the American Petroleum Institute told the Los Angeles Times that a more stringent standard would be expensive and be of little benefit.

The 12-13 µg is a less strict standard than many environmentalists wanted. A 2011 report by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force, and Earthjustice suggested that A 2011 report by the American Lung Association, Clean Air Task Force, and Earthjustice suggested that a limit of 11 µg per cubic meter of air could prevent more than 35,000 premature deaths a year.

The World Health Organization estimates that 3% of all mortalities from cardiopulmonary disease worldwide are due to exposure to fine particles, as are 5% of lung cancer deaths.

Particle pollution, commonly referred to as “soot,” is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution. It is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Fine particles linked to a wide range of human health problems. Once inhaled they pass through the throat and nose , enter the lungs, the bloodstream and other organs, causes serious health effects. They worsen allergy, asthma, and other respiratory diseases.

Fine particles, 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller, can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or from gases emitted from power plants, oil refineries, other heavy industries and automobiles which react in the air.

Cleaning fine PM from the air can help to reduce emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and lost productivity caused by asthma exacerbations.

A new study by a group of researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that curbing ozone could provide greater benefits than previously thought. The team looked at 20 states and the District of Columbia where power plants and boilers are required to limit nitrogen oxide pollution between May 1 and Sept. 30 each year. As a result, these states and the District cut prescription drug expenditures by 1.9 percent, or $900 million a year, and had 2,200 fewer annual premature deaths among individuals aged 75 or older, within the studied period from 2003 to 2008.

Particulate matter

standards are important to protecting the public’s health and current standards are inadequate.

AAFA urge everyone — especially those whose health is more likely to be compromised by pollution — to let EPA know that it should act to protect their health by issuing stronger standards to control particulate matter pollution.

AAFA post details online on how to comment at: www.aafa.org/advocacy.





Drinking green tea may provide relief for allergy sufferers.

English: Tea of different fermentation: From l...

Although tea drinking has been associated with health benefits since ancient times, only in recent years have its medicinal properties been investigated scientifically.

“Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents,” says Hirofumi Tachibana, the study’s chief investigator and an associate professor of chemistry at KyushuUniversity in Fukuoka, Japan. “If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it.”

Do not confuse green tea with oolong tea or black tea. Oolong tea and black tea are made from the same plant leaves, but they are prepared differently and have different medicinal effects. The longer the tea leaf is fermented, the more caffeine and the less polyphenols in contains. Polyphenols, also referred to as flavanoids, are chemicals that act as antioxidants and help rid of the body of free radicals.  Tea’s health benefits are largely due to its high content of flavonoids . Green tea is not fermented at all. Oolong tea is partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented.

Green tea contains six primary polyphenols, known as catechins. Catechins according to the latest study are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties.

Researchers in Japan identified a polyphenol in green tea , methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which appears to be the most potent and biologically active antioxidants found in tea. The compound is found in higher concentrations in green tea, the least processed of teas, than in black and oolong variety. EGCG might be able to prevent inflammation and swelling, protect cartilage between the bones, and lessen joint degeneration.. Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.  A Chinese study published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed a 46%-65% reduction in hypertension risk in regular consumers of oolong or green tea, compared to non-consumers of tea. Drinking green tea may also fight fat.

It now appears that the compound works by blocking the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two compounds in the body that are involved in triggering and sustaining allergic reactions- Tachibana says.

Green tea contains 2% to 4% caffeine. Caffeine is thought to stimulate the nervous system, heart, and muscles by increasing the release of certain chemicals in the brain called “neurotransmitters.”

Although promising against allergies, no one knows how much green tea is needed to have a therapeutic effect or which green tea varieties work best. Researchers are currently looking for additional anti-allergenic compounds in the tea.

Green tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world, behind water. It is very popular in Japan, and has a growing following in the United States.

The October issue of  Archives of Internal Medicine provides a few tips to get the most out of tea-drinking: Drinking a cup of tea a few times a day to absorb antioxidants and other healthful plant compounds. In green-tea drinking cultures, the usual amount is three cups per day. Allow tea to steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins. The best way to get the catechins and other flavonoids in tea is to drink it freshly brewed. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds. Tea can impede the absorption of iron from fruits and vegetables. Adding lemon or milk or drinking tea between meals will counteract this problem.

Allergy sufferers schould take some precautions:

  • See a doctor for the best treatment options.
  • Avoid allergens that can cause the allergy: dust, pollen, certain foods and chemicals
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Educate yourself about allergy

Green tea also contains alkaloids such as caffeine (although in lower amount than black tea), which give green tea its stimulating properties.

If you are hypersensitive to caffeine or tannin, you may want to consider avoid drinking green tea.

Sun exposure may decrease the risk of Food Allergies, Asthma and Eczema

Sunlight Feed


People living in areas with lower levels of sunlight are more likely to develop food allergies, asthma and aczema than those in areas with plenty of sunshine, according to a new scientific study.

The research was led by Dr. Nick Osborne from the European Centre for Environment & Human Health. He used data from analysis of Australian children and how rates of food allergies, eczema and asthma varied throughout the country. He believes these findings provide us with an important insight into the prevalence of food allergies and eczema, which appear to be on the increase.

Australia is an excellent place for this type of study as it spans nearly 3000 miles from north to south, with a large variation in climate, day length and sun strength. On average children in the south of the country were twice as likely to develop eczema as those in the north. There was also a link between latitude and allergies to peanuts and eggs. The report suggests that exposure to the sun may play a role in rising levels of food allergy and eczema.

Researchers pointed to exposure to sunlight as the cause for the findings. Generally speaking the further south or north from the equator you live the higher the incidence of developing food allergy or eczema.  People who live in sunnier climates – closer to the equator – get more sunshine on a daily basis.

Always, care has to be taken we are not exposed to too much sunlight, increasing the risk of skin cancer- warned Dr.Osborn.

Sunlight is the body’s greatest source for vitamin D. Researchers say that deficiency of vitamin D could be involved in the increase in asthma and allergies. Vitamin D could lower the risk of asthma in children by up to 40 per cent, according to a new report.

The theory is that people due to modern lifestyle spend more time indoors with less sunlight exposure  – travelling in cars rather than walking, for example – as well as the widespread use of sunscreen. These habits have led to the decreased production of vitamin D in the skin of many people.

In fact, by some estimates, around half of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient. For the body to make vitamin D, the skin needs to be exposed to light. At most latitudes, you can get enough vitamin D simply by spending 15 or so minutes in the sunshine everyday without wearing sunscreen; at extreme latitudes, the atmosphere filters more of the UV out and you need longer exposure. Vitamin D supplements are also available.


Journal of Allergy and clinical Immunology

Science Daily


Meat Allergy linked with Tick Bites

English: The tick Amblyomma americanum (Lone S...

These fall are bringing out more ticks than it was usual before in the Mid South and East Coast area.

A new study suggest a connection between the rise in creepy crawlies, and the increase in a certain allergy to beef and pork.

“Every patient I’ve had with this allergy has had a tick bite. It seems to be related to what is called the Lone star tick”. –said Dr. Tina Merrit of the Allergy Clinic of Northwest Arkansas. They are very common in Arkansas and Missouri, but cases of the freaky allergy are popping up along the East Coast too where areas also abound in Lone star ticks. 90 percent of the meat allergy patients had a history of tick bites.

“We’re in the process of collecting the very tiny amounts of liquid out of a tick mouth and learning how to analyze that. I believe there’s evidence that ticks are causing the allergies. If it’s a tick disease, it might involve fighting ticks. We’re searching for proof,” said  Doctor Jack Lay from the University of Arkansas.

Delayed allergic reaction showed up roughly three to six hours after eating red meat. Symptoms can range from hives to anaphylactic shock. Experts say the six-hour lag between exposure to meat and the allergic reaction complicates things even more. It’s very atypical because most food allergies occur very quickly.

The Lone star tick is a very small tick that can have a white dot on the back and it’s very common in the Mid South area, but is found throughout the eastern, southeastern and south-central states.

All three life stages (larva, nymph, adult) of the lone star tick will feed on humans, and may be quite aggressive. Lone star ticks will also feed readily on other animals, including dogs and cats, and may be brought into the home on pets. The saliva from lone star ticks can be irritating; redness and discomfort at a bite site does not necessarily indicate an infection.

The infection may be hard to diagnose because there’s no rash and the tick and its bite are very tiny. Lab inspection of a blood sample under a microscope is currently the only way to confirm infection.

Tick-borne illness may be prevented :

–         by avoiding tick habitat  Avoid tick habitat like wooded and bushy areas with high grass and  leaf litter. Walk in the center of trails.

–         by using insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin, Use insect repellents that contain 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up  to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth. Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. It remains protective through several washings. Pre-treated clothing is available and remains protective for up to 70 washings.

–         by wearing long pants and socks,

–         by performing tick checks and promptly removing ticks after outdoor activity. Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.

–         Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parents should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.

–         Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs. Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks.

Be extra vigilant in warmer months (April-September) when ticks are most active.



Raising awareness for food allergy is crucial

English: Food types likely to cause allergic r...

Life can be difficult with allergy.

Food allergies are a growing health concern. As many as 6 million children in the U.S. are affected and food allergies are more common and more danger than ever before.

Kids can be born with food allergies but most of the time it is acquired. Many food allergies in children are mild and fade over time. They can outgrow selected food allergies, but peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish allergies usually last a lifetime.

There is NO CURE for allergies.

There is NO MEDICATION available to prevent reactions.

AVOIDANCE  of food is the ONLY way to prevent a reaction:

–          be aware of the foods being eaten

–          read ingredients label

–          speak up when going out to eat

–          educate yourself

Symptoms of Food Allergies can include various degrees of the following:

–          Hives

–          Flushed skin or rash

–          Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth

–          Swelling of the face, tongue, or lip

–          Vomiting and/or Diarrhea

–          Abdominal cramps

–          Coughing or wheezing

–          Dizziness and/or light headedness

–          Swelling of the throat and vocal cords

–          Difficulty breathing

–          Loss of consciousness

Over 150 foods can cause allergic reactions, but 90% of all emergency situations involve just 8 specific food items:

    • Milk
    • Eggs
    • Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
    • Peanuts
    • Fish
    • Shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
    • Wheat
    • Soybeans

The most severe reaction to a food allergy is the anaphylaxis.  Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction which including:

    • A dangerous drop in blood pressure
    • A constriction of the airways in the lungs
    • Suffocation by swelling of the throat

TRIGGER food allergy short film:


TRIGGER is a not for profit awareness campaign. Please help protect food allergy sufferers by watching and sharing the information provided.


Hidden Ingredients In Processed Food Can Be Fatal – Food allergy Alert!

52 Weeks - Week 5 - Food Allergy and Intoloren...

A college student, Emma Egerton, 18, ordered a Chicken Tikka Korma from Spice of India in Greater Manchester, through the Just Eat takeaway online website.

The police chief’s daughter was killed by a chicken curry from her local takeaway after she suffered a massive allergic reaction because a nuts warning was left off the menu.

Just Eat is a UK-based online takeaway website that connects customers to some 25,000 food outlets across Europe, allowing them to form a personal directory of menus and choose their favorite restaurant, place an order and select from pick-up or delivery options.

Most restaurants do not know about food allergies. Just a few of them process and cater food for food allergy sufferers, others are unaware of it. Some restaurant owners and staff not even know how dangerous a food allergy can be.

Many restaurants fry the meat, vegetables, even fish or shrimp in the same oil.

No courses have yet been organized to educate the industry on the allergy related cooking procedures. Restaurants should add nut warning signs next to the dishes on the menu that contain nuts, to help consumers.

Food allergies are not rare at all, and should not be underestimated! Food allergy is a growing public health concern. In fact, it is estimated that 150 to 200 Americans die each year because of allergic reactions to food  – according to the FDA.

  • As many as 15 million people have food allergies in the U.S.
  • An estimated 9 million, or 4% of adults have food allergies.
  • Nearly 6 million or 8% of children have food allergies with young children affected most.

The prevalence of food allergies and associated anaphylaxis appears to be on the rise.

  • According to a study released in 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about an 18% increase in food allergy was seen between 1997 and 2007.
  • The prevalence of peanut allergy among children appears to have tripled between 1997 and 2008.

To reduce the risks, FDA is working to ensure that major allergenic ingredients in food are accurately labeled. Since 2006, food labels must state clearly whether the food contains a major food allergen. The following are considered to be major food allergens:

Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree nuts ( such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans), Soybeans, Wheat, Fish, Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, and shrimp).

These foods account for 90 percent of all food allergies in the United States.

So, remember to take all measures to protect yourself and your family members who suffer from food allergies. In addition to avoiding food items that cause a reaction, we recommend that you:

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating that you have a food allergy
  • Carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine ( adrenaline).
  • Seek medical help immediately if you experience a  food allergic reaction.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) was passed by Congress to ensure that there would be clearer labeling of food for the millions of people with food allergies. As of January 01, 2006, all food products regulated by the FDA must be labeled in a specific way to identify the eight major food allergens.

For a look at the complete law, visit:


Walk for Food Allergy

Have you ever participated in a Walk for Food Allergy event? Have you ever asked somebody why they walk? They walk, because they know or love someone with food allergies. They walk because they want raise funds to help the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) to educate the public and find a cure for food allergies. They walk to save a life!

Food allergy afflicts as many as 15 million Americans including about 6 million children.

FAAN is a non-profit organization provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials.

Walk for Food Allergy events, which have raised more than $14 million for education, research, advocacy, and awareness programs since 2004, bring together families, educators, healthcare professionals, and corporate partners. Training materials for schools and restaurants, clinical studies such as oral immunotherapy, and community outreach grants are just a few of the programs that have been funded as a result of FAAN’s Walk for Food Allergy.  FAAN has set a goal to raise at least $2.4 million through its Walks in 2012.

Findings from research studies have been used to change federal and state laws, improve the daily lives of individuals with food allergy, raise public awareness, improve school policies, and provide education for patients, caregivers, and health professionals.

The Walk for Food Allergy will be held in the following cities:

Come join us for the 2012 FAAN Walk for Food Allergy.

Sept. 16 Pittsburgh, PA
Nashville, TN
Sept. 22 Austin, TX
Lansing, MI
Northern Virginia, VA
Sept. 23 Baltimore, MD
Boston, MA
Columbus, OH
Sept. 29 Charlotte, NC
Portland, ME
Triangle Area, NC
Sept. 30 Chicago, IL
Seattle, WA
Oct. 6 Detroit, MI
Las Vegas, NV
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct. 7 Miami, FL
Milford, CT
Oct. 13 California Bay Area, CA
Oct. 14 Lincoln, NE
Atlanta, GA
Long Island, NY
Oct. 21 Ridgewood, NJ
Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 3 San Diego, CA
Nov. 10 Tampa, FL
Virginia Beach, VA
Nov. 17 Dallas, TX
Dec. 1 Phoenix-Tempe, AZ

You can also sign up for a walk in your area, if you are interested.

Find out the nearest events to you: http://www.foodallergywalk.org/site/PageServer?pagename=walk_locations_by_state

Dehydration Especially Harmful For People With Allergies.

Dehydration is bad for everyone, but it’s especially harmful for people with allergies and asthma. Dehydration may trigger or worsen asthma and increase your risk of respiratory infections. Keep in mind that you can double your benefits by “eating” your water in the form of water-rich fruits and vegetables. An apple or a tomatoe each contains about 4 ounces of water. Water, milk, juice, decaf coffee and tea (especially green tea), herbal tea, and soups all count toward your fluid quotient. By drinking as much water you can tolerate – even up to 20 glasses a day – you can help liquefy your mucous and help it drain better, suggest Wellington Tichenor, M.D., an allergist in New York City.

When researchers at the University of Buffalo studied the effects of dehydration on people with asthma, they found than it increases the risk of asthma attacks even in humid weather.

“No matter what, always drink plenty of water – at least 8 to 10 glasses a day – to keep secretions in your respir

atory tract fluid,” recommend Andrew Weil, M.D., director of the program in integrative medicine and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscan. “Drinking plenty of water also speeds up the process of eliminating irritants and toxins from the body.”Individuals need different amount of water, however. In fact, the more you weight, the more water you lose. To determine how much water is optimal for you, follow these steps.

  1. Write down your weight in pounds.
  2. Multiply your weight by  .04 , which equals pounds of water lost.
  3. Multiply the result of step 2 by 2 to determine the number of cups you need per day.

You will need to drink extra water when weather conditions are hot or dry and when you exercise. In addition, remember that caffeine and alcohol sap as much water out of you as they put in. To keep yourself from getting parched, drink an extra 1/2 cup of water for every cup you drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages..


–  Allergy Free Naturally  by Rick Ansorge, Eric Metcalf and the Editors of Prevention Health Books / Rodale.

–  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehydration

Top 5 Airborne Allergy Triggers

Inhalant allergens are airborne allergens. Inhaling airborne allergens can affect the eyes, nose, ears, voice box, throat, airways, lungs, trachea, bronchioles and skin. Typical allergic symptoms caused by airborne allergens include sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion (allergic rhinitis or hay fever). When an allergic victim’s eyes are affected, they may experience itchy, watery and red eyes.

Most common airborne allergens:

  • Pollen : Pollen come from wind-pollinating plants. These include trees, grasses and weeds. Common tree pollens are olive, birch, elm, and walnuts. Grasses generate much pollen. Examples include blue, rye, bermuda grasses, and red top. Weeds  are mostly wind-pollinated. Examples of these are ragweed, pigweed, sagebrush, tumbleweed. Ragweed is the most important cause of seasonal allergic hay fever. There are many more trees, grasses and weeds that generate allergy-cause pollens.
  • Mold Spores: Many types of molds live in our environment. Mold can be found almost everywhere in indoor and outdoor areas that are warm, dark, and/or moist. Molds are that commonly grow on bread and food left out in the open. It is also mold that grows along the grout in the shower. Mold reproduce by sending tiny spores into the air.
  • Cat Dander, Dog Dander: Cats groom themselves, they lick their fur and when the saliva (which contain a specific protein) dries, it flakes off into microscopic particles that float throughout the air. Dander does not come from hair or skin itself, but comes from a protein produced by the saliva. Cat dander is not dandruff. Dandruff is composed of skin cells.  Cat dander becomes airborne, landing on different surfaces, like human’s skin and clothing. Through the air, dander can enter the mucous membranes in the lungs, causing allergies to some individuals. Cat dander allergens can remain airborne for long periods of time. They are also very sticky and cling to wall surfaces and clothing.  Cat dander particles are about 1/10th the size of dust mites. Cats may be more likely than dogs to cause allergic reactions because they lick themselves more, may be held more, and spend more time in the house, close to humans.
  • House Dust Mites: Dust mites are microscopic animals. The droppings and decaying bodies of dust mites are common allergens. These dust mites live all around us, in bedding, carpets, stuffed furniture, stuffed animals, old clothing. They feed on human skin scales. Dust mites are most common in humid climates. They don’t survive when the humidity is below 50%. If droppings or dust mites are inhaled or come in contact with the skin, they may cause allergy, asthma, eczema symptoms.
  • Cockroaches: Cockroach allergen is believed to derive from feces, saliva, and the bodies of these insects. Cockroaches live all over the world, from tropical areas to the coldest spots on earth. The amount of roach allergen in house dust or air can be measured. Allergen particles are large and settle rapidly on surfaces. They became airborne when the air is stirred by people moving around.

Cleanliness may cause allergy

Allergies have become widespread in developed countries. The reason?  Excessive cleanliness is to blame,” said Dr. Guy Delespesse, an immunologist and director of the Allergy Research Laboratory at the University of Montreal. While family history, air pollution, processed foods, stress and other factors can trigger allergic reactions, Dr. Delespesse is concerned by “our limited exposure to bacteria” .

The idea that too-clean environments contribute to allergies is called the “hygiene hypothesis.”

The study suggest that exposure to germs and infection helps build the immune system, which can protect against allergies and asthma. The explanation is simple: we are so hygienic we aren’t being exposed to the same level or variety of bacteria as in the past, so our immune systems are unable to build up defences.

There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases,” said Dr. Delespesse. “The more sterile the environment a child lives in, the higher the risk he or she will develop allergies or an immune problem in their lifetime. Some 50 million Americans suffer from allergic conditions and about 15 million Americans have asthma, and the numbers are increasing, according to the AmericanAcademy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The cost of treating allergies and asthma stands at about $32 billion a year. And there is much misery: 60 percent of allergy sufferers say they were unable to find ways to stamp out the seasonal ills, according to a survey released this week by ConsumerReportsNationalResearchCenter. Dr. Delespesse also frets about the burgeoning allergic population. He noted that 10 percent of people in developed countries suffered from allergies two decades ago. Today, the percentage has increased threefold to 30 percent, with one in 10 children suffering from asthma. Deaths from that condition are also increasing, he said.

Allergies rose rapidly in developing nations where living conditions and hygiene standards were becoming more like those in the West.

Cleanliness does reduce our exposure to harmful bacteria. As the human immune system matures, normally it learns how to differentiate what is not dangerous from what is dangerous. If you raise children in too clean of an environment, this distinction is missing.” If infants encounter a wide range of bacteria they are less at risk of developing allergic disease later in life. This is the conclusion of research from the University of Copenhagen, which suggests completely new factors in many modern lifestyle diseases.

“In our study of over 400 children we observed a direct link between the number of different bacteria in their rectums and the risk of development of allergic disease later in life,” says professor Hans Bisgaard, consultant at Gentofte Hospital, head of the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, and professor of children’s diseases at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

Reduced diversity of the intestinal microbiote during infancy was associated with increased risk of allergic disease at school age. But if there was considerable diversity, the risk was reduced, and the greater the variation, the lower the risk. When the immune system not constantly battling dangerous bacteria, “it doesn’t know what to fight against,”

“So it makes a difference if the baby is born vaginally, encountering the first bacteria from its mother’s rectum, or by caesarean section, which exposes the new-born baby to a completely different, reduced variety of bacteria. This may be why far more children born by caesarean section develop allergies.” said Professor Bisgaard.

In the womb and during the first six months of life, the mother’s immune defenses protect the infant. Bacteria flora in infants are therefore probably affected by any antibiotics the mother has taken and any artificial substances she has been exposed to.

“We have studied staphylococci and coli bacteria thoroughly, and there is no relation. What matters is to encounter a large number of different bacteria early in life when the immune system is developing and ‘learning’. The window during which the infant is immunologically immature and can be influenced by bacteria is brief, and closes a few months after birth.

“I must emphasize that there is not one single allergy bacteria,” Professor Bisgaard points out. “I think that a mechanism that affects the immune system will affect more than just allergies, he concludes. It would surprise me if diseases such as obesity and diabetes are not also laid down very early in life and depend on how our immune defenses are primed by encountering the bacterial cultures surrounding us.”

Allergy – Overview

What Are Allergies?

An  allergy is a reaction your body has when it comes into contact with a  specific substance, called an allergen, to which you are overly sensitive. There are many different types of allergies and you can  develop them through a variety of different exposures, such as through  touch, breathing, eating or drinking the allergen. More than 80 percent  of allergies are ‘indoor’ allergies or ‘outdoor’ allergies, also called  seasonal allergies.

Why Allergies Happen

There are three factors involved in an allergic reaction. First, the allergen  to which you are sensitive must be present in sufficient quantity to  trigger a reaction. Second “mast cells” in your body release chemicals.  Finally, there is immunoglobulin, or IgE. This is a type of protein that  coats your mast cells and is made by your immune system to resist  foreign substances.

When  you have an allergic reaction, your immune system produces the IgE that  is specifically associated with that particular allergen. This causes  your mast cells to release chemicals, such as histamines and  leukotrienes, that ultimately cause some of the allergic symptoms you  may feel.

Outdoor Allergies

Common  outdoor allergens include pollen particles from trees, plants, grass,  or weeds. Outdoor allergies are also called seasonal allergies because  you typically experience these allergies in the spring, late summer and  fall, when plant growth is at its height, but they can occur year round  in certain climates.

Indoor Allergies

Indoor  allergies are triggered when allergens like dust, mold or pet dander  are inhaled or touched. Allergies to smoke, cockroaches and rats can  also develop.

Common Allergy Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal drip
  • Swelling in the nose and around the eyes
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Hives
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fatigue

In  people with asthma, allergies can sometimes worsen their asthma as  well. Prolonged episodes of allergic reactions may cause chronic congestion, changes in your sense of smell and taste, and swollen  blue-colored skin underneath your eyes called “allergic shiners.”

Risk Factors

In  general, allergies will most likely develop during childhood, although  they can begin at any age. Factors that increase your risk of developing  allergies include:

  • a family history of allergies and
  • exposure to cigarette smoke during the first year of life
  • firstborn status
  • birth during the pollen season
  • male sex
  • early introduction of formula and food (before 4 to 6 months)
  • early use of antibiotics and
  • exposure to indoor allergens, such as animal dander.


To determine if you have indoor or outdoor allergies, your doctor will ask you about your medical hjistory and your family’s history: exam your skin, face, and lungs: and then perform a skin, breathing, and/or blood test.

Preventing Allergic Reactions

Since there is no cure for allergies, the easiest way to control them is to limit contact with the offending allergen:

  • If  you have outdoor allergies, try to  stay indoors – especially on  dry, windy days between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM  – during the seasons  when pollen is at its worst. Also try to avoid being outside at  sunset when mold spores drop to the ground. You can also go online or listen to the radio for a daily report on pollen and mold counts.
  • Wear clothing that is loose and light and then wash them with hot water after each use.
  • When  you are indoors, avoid rooms that may be more prone to mold, like  basements or saunas. Reduce moisture in your kitchen and bathroom  by fixing any leaks.
  • Use dehumidifiers throughout the house and a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter in your bedroom.
  • Keep windows and doors closed during high pollen seasons and keep an air conditioner running.
  • Keep  your house clean. Change bedding and vacuum every week, and avoid  carpeting, stuffed animals or feather bedding in your bedroom.
  • Think  twice about getting a pet, or if  you have one, bathe it every  week, brush it often and keep your pet in areas that aren’t  carpeted. Having a hypoallergenic pet, which means a pet that  produces less dander, may also limit allergic reactions.
  • Avoid smoke.
  • Avoid perfumes and cosmetics that seem to make symptoms worse.

Treatments for Allergies

  • Antihistamines  may help relive sneezing, itching and runny nose, as well as  rashes or hives. They are most  effective if you use them on a  regular basis throughout allergy season.
  • Decongestants can reduce the stuffiness you feel in your nose and chest, but  probably won’t help you with itching or sneezing.
  • Eye drops may help with bloodshot, watery or burning eyes.
  • Corticosteroid  creams and ointments can relieve skin rashes or itchiness. Corticosteroid nasal sprays can help reduce nasal congestion. If  these don’t work, leukotriene inhibitors may also be an option.
  • Oral corticosteroids may help reduce swelling.
  • If  medication doesn’t solve your allergy problems, your doctor may  recommend a treatment called immunotherapy. This entails receiving  regular injections of an allergen over the course of      three to five  years to ultimately desensitize you.
SourcesAllergies. Bethesda, MD.: National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, 2009. (Accessed on July 19, 2010 at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/allergy.html.)deShazo RD and Kemp SF. Clinical Manifestations and Epidemiology of Allergic Rhinitis (rhinosinusitis).UptoDate, April 2010, last reviewed May 20, 2011.Topic of the Month: Staying Ahead of Spring Allergy Season. Milwaukee, WI.: AAAAI, 2005. (Accessed on July 19, 2010 at http://www.aaaai.org/patients/topicofthemonth/0305/.)http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/topic-centers/allergies/

This  information for educational purposes only; this information is not meant as medical advice. Always consult your doctor about your specific health condition.

Tiny Lifesaver for a Growing Worry

Diane Voelker, a school nurse in Virginia, with EpiPen kits.

Virginia requires its schools to have such devices on hand.

School nurses in some states are not allowed to use injectors, even in an emergency, unless they are prescribed.

If parents and school authorities know about the allergy and a doctor’s prescription is on file, a nurse can quickly give an injection of epinephrine, saving the child’s life.

But school nurses in many districts face an agonizing choice if a child without a prescription develops a sudden reaction to an undiagnosed allergy. Should they inject epinephrine and risk losing their nursing license for dispensing it without a prescription, or call 911 and pray the paramedics arrive in time?

After a 7-year-old girl died in January in a similar case in Virginia, the state passed a law that allows any child who needs an emergency shot to get one. Beginning this month, every school district in Virginia is required to keep epinephrine injectors on hand for use in an emergency. Illinois, Georgia and Maryland have passed similar laws, and school nurses are pushing for one in Ohio. A lobbying effort backed by Mylan, which markets the most commonly used injector, the EpiPen, made by Pfizer, led to the introduction last year of a federal bill that would encourage states to pass such laws.

Mylan has also lobbied state legislatures around the country directly and is passing out free EpiPens this fall to any qualifying school that wants them.

“When a child is having an anaphylactic reaction, the only thing that can save her life is epinephrine,” said Maria L. Acebal, the chief executive of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. “911 doesn’t get there fast enough.”

The efforts are an acknowledgment of the rising rates of food allergies among children and a handful of deaths from allergies across the country. In many schools, children carry their own epinephrine injectors in their backpacks to use themselves, if they’re old enough, or the devices are stored on their behalf in nurses’ offices.

The initiative also has a commercial underpinning: It is part of an effort to raise the profile of EpiPen. Over the last two years, Mylan has invested millions of dollars in consumer advertising and hired almost 100 extra sales representatives to help promote the product. EpiPen sales are on track to bring in $640 million this year, a 76 percent increase over last year, according to one analyst.

Heather Bresch, the chief executive of Mylan, said charity and profit should not be mutually exclusive.

“I think this goes to the heart of being able to do good and do well,” she said.

Although no one knows exactly why, the rate of food allergies among children appears to be on the rise. One survey found that in 2008, one in 70 children was allergic to peanuts, compared with one in 250 in 1997.

“I don’t think it’s overdiagnosis,” said Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, the author of the report and a researcher at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan. “There really seems to be a difference.”

A study last year in the journal Pediatrics found that about one in 13 children had a food allergy, and nearly 40 percent of those with allergies had severe reactions. A recent survey in Massachusetts, where schools are permitted to administer epinephrine to any student, found that one-quarter of students who had to be given the drug for a reaction did not know they had an allergy. But in many schools, employees are not allowed to use epinephrine injectors on children who do not have a prescription.

That’s what happened in January when Amarria Johnson, a first grader from Chesterfield, Va., developed a severe allergic reaction. Her mother, Laura Pendleton, said Amarria’s allergy to peanuts was known, but the school did not have an EpiPen that was prescribed to her. At the time, school employees were not allowed to use injectors that were prescribed to other children.

Another student gave Amarria a peanut during recess, and by the time paramedics arrived, Amarria had stopped breathing and could not be resuscitated, according to the Chesterfield County police. In April, Virginia’s governor signed a law that lifted those restrictions and required all schools to carry injectors for emergency use.

Ms. Pendleton said parents could not police everything their child ate.

“You need to have the EpiPens there just in case,” she said.

Epinephrine is known as a relatively safe drug, with few adverse effects if the drug is given when it is not needed.

“Our motto has always been in training our staff, if you think epinephrine, you give epinephrine,” said Nancy Markley, who oversees the school nurses and health clinics in the Loudoun County schools in Virginia.

Ms. Bresch said schools were just the first step in a plan to make emergency epinephrine injectors more widely available in restaurants, airplanes and other public places, much as external defibrillators are today.

Dr. Sicherer said the issue became less clear in settings like restaurants, where a waiter might not be able to differentiate between choking, a heart attack or anaphylaxis.

EpiPen commands more than 95 percent of the market for epinephrine injectors and is so dominant that its name has become synonymous with the category itself. But until recently, Mylan did not do much to sell the product. The company acquired the brand in 2007 as part of deal with the German company Merck.

“It became very apparent that there was a lot more we could be doing with EpiPen,” Ms. Bresch said, adding that just 7 percent of people at risk for severe reactions carry a prescription for one.

Mylan began working with allergy advocates and lobbying state and federal politicians to enact laws permitting the broader use of EpiPens. The company also invested in consumer advertising, spending close to $15 million in the last two years on television commercials and other advertising.

In November, Sanofi plans to introduce a rival device, and in 2015, Teva may win approval of a cheaper, generic version of the EpiPen.

Sanofi’s product, the Auvi-Q, has a rectangular shape and the added feature of voice instructions to help a user use the device. Teva’s product, if approved by the F.D.A., would closely mimic the EpiPen design and, like a generic drug, could be substituted by pharmacists even if doctors prescribed the EpiPen.

Dr. Sicherer said the Auvi-Q had potential advantages over the EpiPen, which is shaped like a felt-tip marker and can be awkward to carry. Sanofi has boasted that the Auvi-Q is shaped like a cellphone and can slip into a pocket. In addition, “it’s voice-guided,” Dr. Sicherer said. “This is a whole new world.”

Safety Recall — Firm Press Release

FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company.

Cutting Edge Concessions Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk and Red 40 in 5 oz Shake’Ems Seasoning Cups

Contact: Consumer: 952-237-1551

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 3, 2012 – Cutting Edge Concessions issues an allergy alert on undeclared milk and red 40 in .5 oz. Shake’Ems seasoning cups distributed in movie theaters in California, Colorado, Arkansas and Tennessee. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

The products were distributed in a .5 oz. plastic cup labeled with Shake’Ems on the top. Flavors include: White Cheddar, Nacho Cheddar, Ranch, Cinnamon Sugar and Parmesan Garlic.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The recall was initiated after the FDA discovered that the products contain milk and red 40, but product packaging did not reveal the presence of these ingredients. Subsequent investigation indicates the problem was caused by a temporary breakdown in the company’s labeling process.

Production of the product has been suspended until the FDA and the company are certain that the problem has been corrected.

Consumers who have purchased 0.5 oz. packages of Shake’Ems are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 952-237-1551 M-F 8:00 am – 5 pm EST.

Auvi-Q™, First Voice-Guided Epinephrine Auto-Injector For Patients With Life-Threatening Allergies, Receives FDA Approval

Breakthrough device design talks patients and caregivers through the injection process

Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) have announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Auvi-Q (epinephrine injection, USP) for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions in people who are at risk for or have a history of anaphylaxis. Auvi-Q is the first-and-only compact epinephrine auto-injector with audio and visual cues that guide patients and caregivers step-by-step through the injection process.

Sanofi US licensed the North American commercialization rights to Auvi-Q from Intelliject, Inc., which has retained commercialization rights
for the rest of the world.

“As a company committed to patient-centered care, our focus is on creating innovative solutions that make a difference in the lives of people,” said Anne Whitaker, President, North America Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi. “Auvi-Q delivers on this by offering a state-of-the-art epinephrine auto-injector device that addresses the needs of patients at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions and their caregivers.”

While recently updated guidelines emphasize the importance of the life-saving role of epinephrine, surveys showed that two-thirds of patients and caregivers do not carry their epinephrine auto-injectors as recommended and nearly half worry that others will not know how to use their device during an emergency.

“With this FDA approval, Auvi-Q will become the first-and-only epinephrine auto-injector that talks users through each step of the injection process,” said Bryan Downey, Vice President, Auvi-Q, Sanofi US. “We are confident that Auvi-Q will provide the up to six million Americans at risk for anaphylaxis and their caregivers an easy-to-use, compact option with unique features to help manage a life-threatening allergic reaction.”

Auvi-Q contains epinephrine, a well-established, first-line treatment for severe, life-threatening allergic reactions that may occur as a result of exposure to allergens including nuts, shellfish, dairy, eggs, insect bites, latex and medication, among other allergens.

“The first step in preventing a severe allergic reaction is always avoidance of the specific allergen,” said Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, a pediatric allergist and national expert in anaphylaxis.”However, in the event of a life-threatening allergic reaction, it’s important to know how to respond quickly. Auvi-Q offers patients and caregivers guidance through the injection process.”

About Auvi-Q

Auvi-Q (epinephrine injection, USP) is used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in people who are at risk for or have a history of these reactions. Auvi-Q is the size and shape of a credit card, the thickness of a cell phone and fits comfortably in a pocket or small purse.

During a life-threatening allergic reaction, Auvi-Q talks the user through each step of the injection process. If the patient or caregiver needs more time, it repeats the step-by-step directions. Alternatively, a patient or caregiver can move at their own pace by following the written instructions printed on the device.


Auvi-Q (epinephrine injection, USP) is indicated in the emergency  treatment of allergic reactions (Type I) including anaphylaxis to allergens, idiopathic  and exercise-induced anaphylaxis. Auvi-Q is intended for individuals with a history of anaphylaxis or who are at risk for anaphylactic reactions.

        Important Safety Information

Auvi-Q should ONLY be injected into the anterolateral aspect of  the thigh. DO NOT INJECT INTO BUTTOCK OR INTRAVENOUSLY.

Epinephrine should be administered with caution to patients with certain heart diseases,  and in patients who are on medications that may sensitize the heart to arrhythmias, because it may precipitate or aggravate angina pectoris and produce ventricular arrhythmias. Arrhythmias, including fatal ventricular fibrillation, have been reported  in patients with underlying cardiac disease or taking cardiac glycosides or diuretics. Patients with certain medical conditions or who take certain medications for allergies, depression, thyroid disorders, diabetes, and hypertension, may be at greater risk for adverse reactions. Adverse reactions to epinephrine include anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness, tremor, weakness, dizziness, sweating, palpitations, pallor, nausea  and vomiting, headache, and/or respiratory difficulties.

Auvi-Q is intended for immediate self-administration as emergency supportive therapy  only and is not a substitute for immediate medical or hospital care.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088