Do you get the right medical care for your allergy?

A patient receiving a skin allergy test.

The prevalence of allergic diseases is growing dramatically by hitting about 30-40% of the population worldwide. The allergic diseases became a major healthcare problem today and the forecast is that allergic problems will increase further as air pollution and the temperature increase.

In spite of the epidemic prevalence of allergic diseases just a few countries have comprehensive services. Most services are not specialized for allergies and only organ-based care available. Since most patients with allergic diseases have symptoms in multiple organs (e.g. allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and asthma), these kind of care are not comprehensive, the patients often are not being appropriately diagnosed and treated.

An adequate standard of care must be lead by allergy specialists. The lack of that special service leads to avoidable deaths and it increases the cost to health care system and national budgets. According to the World Allergy Organization (WAO), the estimated deaths through asthma are about 250,000 each year worldwide. This is why it is  important that a well-trained physician identify the allergens, so the patient have a chance to avoid it. A trained physician can prescribe appropriate medications or even an allergen immunotherapy, a highly effective treatment currently restricted to only a few centers of care throughout the world. The most important consideration in allergy practice is to find the cause and prevent, not just suppress the symptoms.

The WAO White Book on Allergies 2011-2012 issued by World Allergy Organization urges the increase of public awareness of allergic diseases. According to the WAO the allergic diseases should be recognized as a global public health problem and greater efforts made towards their prevention and treatment as well as the extended training of healthcare professionals. Doing this, a more integrated approach to the diagnosis and management of all allergic diseases becomes practicable.  The trained healthcare professionals should be educating patients who suffer from allergies, and be focused toward increased public awareness.

The WAO provides advanced care through education, research and training as a worldwide alliance of allergy and clinical immunology societies. The organization includes 84 society members and organizations recently, which endeavor to increase the global awareness of allergy and asthma as a major public health problem.

WAO support the global allergy community by planning and organizing wide range of events and activities such as World Allergy Week, Walk for Allergies. The organization offers research associations, surveys and analysis for disease causation and management. Educational outreach programs are offered to member societies and health care professionals throughout the world. The program also helps establish new allergy societies to develop and support national allergy services, conduct allergy training schools, and provide educational resources in underserved countries.

 

Source:

WAO White Book on Allergy 2011-2012

The recently issued book by Word Allergy Organization cover all aspects of allergic diseases, such as prevalence and treatment, unmet needs, and future therapies.

http://www.worldallergy.org

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Are You Aware of Latex Allergy ?

Extraction of latex from a tree, for use in ru...

                                              

In a latex allergy, the immune system identifies latex as a harmful substance. Latex, also known as rubber or natural latex is derived from the milky fluid of the rubber tree, found in Africa and Southeast Asia. The latex original role is in the tree to heal the cuts in the surface of the plant.

Latex, after extracted is treated with ammonia which is a basic ingredient in making gloves, condoms, rubber bands, balloons, erasers and toys.

In anEnglish: Photomodel MissLatex wearing rubber /...other method, the acid-coagulated latex is used as crumb rubber and to form dry sheets. The latex is “vulcanized” by adding sulfur at extremely high temperature for a prolonged time to get low-to-undetectable levels of allergenic proteins. These are called the non-allergenic products.

Latex allergy may cause an allergic reactions ranging from sneezing or a runny nose to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. The problem is not with the rubber itself, but a contaminating protein in the rubber. Your doctor may determine if you have a latex allergy or if  you are  at risk of developing a latex allergy.

There are three types of latex allergy reactions:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis      (non-allergen contact dermatitis) It is a non-allergic hypersensitivity and it is the most common clinical reaction to latex products.  Repeated exposure of this allergen often leads to latex allergy.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis: A delayed reaction to additives used in latex processing. The reactions are similar to contact dermatitis      (dryness, itching, burning, scaling, and lesions of the skin) but they are more severe and tend to spread to more parts of the body, and lasts      longer.
  • Latex Protein Allergy (latex hypersensitivity) is an immediate allergic reaction. This is the most serious reaction to latex. Symptoms can show up as urticaria, hay fiver,      rhinitis. This allergic reactions to latex sometimes may progress  life-threatening conditions such as low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, tremors, chest pain, anaphylactic shock.  If left untreated, these conditions could potentially result in death.

LatEnglish: A PVC-Glove Deutsch: Ein Latexhandsch...ex allergy is more prevalent and found in healthcare professionals due to the increased use of latex gloves. Wearing gloves gives the health care professional more immunity and  protects against further  transmission of infectious diseases (such as HIV, Hepatitis B). About 5% to 10% of health care workers have some form of allergy to latex. Rubber gloves are the main source of allergic reactions, although hundreds of these products contain latex:

  • medical devices (gloves, catheters, blood pressure cuffs, tourniquets, bandages)
  • dental items (dams and orthodontic rubber bands)
  • children’s items (toys, bottle nipples, pacifiers and teething toys);
  • clothing (the elastic waistbands in pants and underwear);
  • household items (rugs, bathmats and rubber gloves);
  • personal care items (diapers and condoms);
  • office and school supplies (rubber bands, erasers, paint).

Not all brands or all items contain latex. Check labels carefully or contact the manufacturer for further questions.

People with higher risk for developing latex allergy are:

  • Health care workers and others who frequently wear latex gloves
  • People who have had multiple surgeries, such as children with spina bifida
  • People who are often exposed to natural rubber latex, including rubber industry workers

Latex allergy can exposure to:

  • inhalation of powder particles. Cornstarch is sometimes used on the inside of gloves to make them easier to put on and remove. The cornstarch absorbs latex proteins, but when the gloves are snapped during application or removal, the latex-laden particles fly into the air.
  • absorption through the skin can occur when latex gloves are worn. (by trauma, irritation, or contact dermatitis),
  • absorption through mucous membranes (from condoms, or internal examinations with latex gloves, through eyes, mouth, rectum)
  • direct entry into the body (e.g. during surgical procedure when healthcare professionals wearing latex gloves.

Manufacturers produce two types of products from natural latex sources:

  • Hardened rubber. This type of latex is found in products such as athletic shoes, tires and rubber balls. Hardened rubber doesn’t cause allergies in most people.
  • Dipped latex. There are the stretchy products, such as rubber gloves, balloons and condoms. Most allergic reactions to latex occur with products made of dipped latex because they’re often used directly on the skin.

Other rubber: Rarely, some people who are sensitive to latex also may react to other rubber products, including erasers, rubber toy parts, rubber bands, rubber in medical devices and rubber in the elastic in clothing.

Not all latex products are made from natural sources. Products containing man-made (synthetic) latex, such as latex paint, are unlikely to cause a reaction because they don’t contain the natural substance. Some waterproof sealants may contain natural rubber latex. Be sure to read the label before using them.

What is a cross reaction?

People who have a latex allergy may be allergic to some foods, as well (such as avocados banana, kiwi, chestnut), This is called a cross reaction. When this happens, your body responds with the same allergic symptoms that you would have if you were exposed to latex. Cross reactions differ from one person to another.

How can latex allergy be prevented?

Where possible, latex gloves should be replaced with non-latex gloves, although latex gloves remain the best barrier against infectious organisms.

Latex gloves should be powder free and contain a low protein content.
If you have latex allergy you should avoid direct contact with all products and devices that contain latex. Also avoid food that causes an allergic reaction. Latex allergy problems during dental, medical or surgical procedures can be prevented by warning health care providers about latex allergy before any test or treatment. Latex allergic people can receive medical or dental care in a latex-safe area. Hospitals and clinics that use only low protein latex gloves and non-latex gloves have experienced dramatic declines in new cases of latex allergy.

Sources:

www.AAAAI.org

www.cdc.gov

www.wikipedia.com

Molds – Are They Good or Bad?

Penicilliummandarijntjes

Molds are definitely bad for those who suffer from mold allergies. The presence of molds are often invisible and undetectable. After pollens, molds are the leading cause of airborne allergies, which can recur year-round.

Molds can be found almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors. They are always present in the air and on objects. They grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by producing spores. These spores than move via air currents or they may cling to insects, animals or water.

When cold and dry conditions do not enable growth to take place, molds may remain alive in a dormant state for a long time.

Molds grow from dead or living objects. It is unknown how many species of fungi exist, but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps 300,000 or more.

Conidiophores of molds of the genus Aspergillu...Molds are made of microscopic threads or filaments. These threads are called hyphe. A vast collection of hyphe is called a mycelium. Visual inspections (when the colonies large enough for the naked eye) and smell are two important senses to detecting the presence of mold.

Outdoor molds can be found in humid environments, in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Mold can live on soil, plants, rotting wood, or dead leaves and various moist surfaces. Mold cannot grow under the sun’s ultraviolet light.  Outdoor molds usually bothering allergy sufferers from spring to late fall, and mold counts tend to pick in the afternoon (not in the morning like pollens).

Indoors molds can be present where humidity levels are high, such as basements, kitchen, bathrooms, refrigerators, in areas with poor ventilation, moist carpets, and house plants. Most molds need 24-48 hours of moisture to begin to grow. Therefore if a suitable material in your home is wet for more than 24 hours then you run the risk of mold starting to grow.

English: Blue Stilton PDO Cheese, one quarter ...Some molds are beneficial for us. Molds play an important role in certain fermentation process in food production. We eat molds in our cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, wine and beer, mushrooms, vinegar, pickles, dried fruits, foods containing yeast (like bread), pickled and smoked meats and fish, canned juice. Some cheese and sausages (such as salami), use starter cultures in their production, to improve flavor and reduce spoilage during curing.

Red rice yeast is a product of the mold grown on rice, and is common in Asian diets. The yeast contains monacolins, which are known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. We also use mold as antibiotics to cure diseases. Penicillin for example, is derived from the mold Penicillium.

The three mechanism for disease caused by molds are infection, allergy, and toxicity.

The antibiotic penicillin  (from Penicillium)), and several cholesterol-lowering drugs (such as Lovastatin, from Aspergillus terreus) are derived from molds.

Some molds produce mycotoxins. Extended or high exposure of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems, even death. On the other hand low doses of mycotoxins can be beneficial for humans, e.g. Penicillin to fight off infection.

Allergy symptoms caused by mold are watery, itchy eyes, a chronic cough, sinus problems, nasal blockage, frequent sneezing, rashes, conjunctivitis, inability to concentrate, difficulty breathing, fatigue. Symptoms usually disappear when the mold is removed.

Factors contribute to increasing mold counts:

  • Poor housekeeping practice (leaving      dirty dishes, food, cloth and wet towels lying around the house, keeping      trash in the house, and infrequent house cleaning.)
  • Using ceiling fans instead of air      conditions because humidity is not removed from the air. Inefficient      filters used in the heating/cooling system allow dirt to accumulate which      provide “food” for mold.

Preventing moisture from accumulating is the most important principle in mold control for allergy sufferers. The best way to get rid of mold indoors is by keeping room temperatures within 65° – 70°F and the relative humidity level within 45%-65%.

Charcoal and /or baking soda is a good practice to remove the odor of the  mold. Just place bowls of baking soda in the area to absorb odor.

To clean up mold in the house, best chemicals are; Bleach, borax, vinegar, ammonia.

Stinging Nettle – This Undervalued Herb May Relief Allergy Symptoms

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). Picture by Gi...

Singing nettle has been used for hundreds of years to strengthening the body and treating diseases. It has been found beneficial for the relief of allergies such as asthma, hay fever, hives and other allergic dermatitis. Stinging nettle may ease symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion, and itching by reducing inflammation.

Stinging nettle is also widely used today to treat urinary problems (urinary tract infections), early stage of enlarged prostate (BPH), hay fever (allergic rhinitis), painful muscle and joint conditions, and insect bites.

The benefits of the herb are due to a combination of several of the different components that may have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory analgesic, numbing, antiviral, and antibacterial effects.

Stinging nettle has many stinging hairs on its leaves and stems which injecting histamin and other irritating chemicals into the skin when it is touched.

The mixture of the chemical compounds that cause the painful sting are:

Acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter in the nervous system)

Histamine, which occurs naturally in the body, is the culprits behind allergic reactions. When you are exposed to allergens your body releases histamine, which in turn causes hives, constricts bronchial vessels, and inflames the skin. The histamine in nettle attaches to histamine receptor sites in your cells and keep your body’s histamines from attaching to those cells during an allergic reaction. Nettle’s action is very similar to that of pharmaceutical antihistamine drugs, says Stanley W. Beyrle, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at the Kansas Clinic of Traditional Medicine in Wichita.

Serotonin (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter- thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. Also involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep and also have some cognitive function including memory and learning and act as antidepressants.

Moroidin is responsible for the long duration of the stings.

Leukotrienes are involved in asthmatic and allergic reactions and act to sustain inflammatory reactions. Leukotrienes also have a powerful effect in bronchoconstriction and increase vascular permeability, mediating inflammation; they induce asthma and other inflammatory disorders, thereby reducing the airflow to the alveoli.

Formic acid: found in the stings and bites of many insects (mainly ants). Major use of formic acid is as a preservative and antibacterial agent in livestock feed.

Do not take stinging nettle if you are taking medicine that prevents blood clots. Nettle leaves contain vitamin K. Nettle leaves also contain high level of iron, more than spinach, and are used in blood building. Nettle is rich in other minerals, such as chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and the flavonoid quercitin ( a powerful antioxidant).

Nettles strengthen the entire metabolism. Nettles cleanse and detoxify the kidneys, while stimulating the liver. It also can be beneficial in lessening symptoms of PMS and menopause. Externally nettle is added to shampoos and skin creams.

Both the nettle tincture and the dried herb are used as a tea. The tea works best when one starts to drink two-plus cups daily about two months before allergy season begins. 1 teaspoon (5gms) to 1 cup of boiling water 3x a day is recommended. The tincture dose is two droppers-full three times a day for most adults during allergy season.

It is worth a try to eat fresh nettle leaves. They are great in salad. Pick them up using gloves and rub the leaves to each other before cut them. This method eliminates the leaves stinging effect. 

 

Sources:

Stinging nettle – wickipedia

Health Journal

Vaccine Against Allergies Become A Reality

 

Molecular surface of Immunoglobulin (IgG) Mole...

Molecular surface of Immunoglobulin (IgG)

 

The prevalence of allergic diseases is global and growing. Allergic diseases are becoming epidemic. Food allergy sufferers double in the last ten years. The latest study – using current trends of data- estimates that half of all Europeans will suffer from allergy by 2015. Allergy has no cure recently. The treatment is whether suppress the symptoms or lessen the inflammation using drugs, antihistamines, and steroids. This huge anti-allergy drug market anticipates to exceed $14.7 billion by 2015 in the U.S. Allergy vaccine sales were exceed $642 million worldwide in 2010.

When your body is exposed to an allergen it triggers an antigen-specific antibody, Immunoglobulin E (IgE) formation in the blood. This molecule undergo on a cellular process known as degranulation which encourage white blood cells (WBC) to release histamine, which causes all the allergic symptoms like hay fever, watery eyes, runny nose. Just suppressing these allergic symptoms doesn’t put an end to the problem.

Scientists in Finland, used a modern molecular biotechnology, discovered unique IgE-binding structures in allergens which can be genetically modified so they do not able to bind IgE anymore but they still stimulate the formation of Immunoglobulin G (IgG).  IgG is a friendly cuisine of IgE. IgG protects you from allergic symptoms by stopping the formation of IgE allergen complexes. That could block the degranulation and histamin release from white blood cells and thus block that irritating symptoms.

In that way the body develops a natural immunity against each allergy they have been vaccinated for.

Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland led by Professor Juhu Rouvinen, in cooperation with Professors Kristiina Takkinen and Hans Söderlun from VTT, a technical research center in Finland, discovered a vaccine that saved millions. The team established a new bio-tech company called Desentum to have the vaccine on the market within five to seven years.

The vaccine has a strong demand on the market. 65 million people in the U.S. and 87 million in Europe have some kind of allergy. Millions of people waiting for hope to escape from their misery.

Source:
           www.forbes.com

Genetically Modified Cow Produces High Protein And Low-Allergy Milk.

Daisy!

Researchers in New Zealand created a genetically engineered calf that would produce milk with a very little of a protein called beta-lactoglobulin (BLG).

BLG is a milk whey component which is the major cause of allergic reactions to cows’ milk particularly in infants and children.

“We generate a transgenic calf whose milk contained no detectable BLG and more than twice the amount of casein milk protein.”- the team of researchers from AgResearch and University of Waikato reported.

The process, called RNA interference is a technique relatively new for livestock used to shot down genes.

“Time will tell how widely applicable RNA interference will be in GM (generally modified) livestock. But this is certainly a milestone study in this field,” said Bruce Whitelaw, professor of animal biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh.

Daisy, the genetically modified tailless cow is 11 month old now. She was the only survivor out of hundred embryos was created by AgResearch.

Being tailless draw the researchers special attention to Daisy, because it is a rare congenial disease and it could be related to the genetic engineering.

An AgResearch spokeswoman said that further tests were underway, and that the next step would be to use Daisy for breeding, and to have her produce milk naturally. Daisy won’t have offspring until she is at least aged two.

Although general engineering of animals is still in its infancy, it has increased significantly in recent years. In progress in the field, new technologies emerge all the time.

These technologies bring with their ethical issues about the creation and use of genetically altered animals.

Source:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444004704578031333390178130.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Do You Get Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin "D"

Vitamin “D”

Allergic diseases of almost all types have become much more common over the past few decades. Some experts link allergy diseases to vitamin D deficiency, which is extremely common today. Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.

Vitamin D appears to serves multiple important functions for the immune system. It acts to stimulate the immune system against various infections, may prevent diseases, controls cancer cells groth, regulates the blood pressure hormon, as well as prevent autoimmune diseases.

Recent studies suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of various allergic diseases, by activating certain regulatory immune cells that prevent the release of chemicals (such as histamin) which cause and worsen allergic diseases.

Vitamin D is critically important for the maintenance of calcium metabolism. Calcium is required for every cells of our body to function in a healthy way. It is one of the most vital mineral in our body. Calcium is needed for strong bones, it used by nerves and muscles, and it also needs to proper blood clotting.

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D can be made in our bodies as a result of exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is an important nutrient and hormone. Most of it’s natural sources are animal-based, including oily fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver, mushrooms. For this reason, those, who follow a strict vegetarian diet have to pay more attention to get the recommended levels of the vitamin D over time.

It has been estimated that the body requires daily 3000-5000 IU of vitamin D. Healthy blood level of 25(OH)D is between 80-100 nmol/L. Dietary sources and vitamin D supplements can satisfy this requirements. Multivitamins typically contain 400 IU of vitamin D. Several manufacturers provide 1000 IU.

There can be a wide variation in the vitamin D content of the natural sources (e.g., farmed versus wild salmon). Cooking methods (e.g., frying versus baking) can also deplete the amount of vitamin D in foods. Therefore, most of the vitamin D that we consume comes from fortified foods (in the United States, some dairy products and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D) and from supplements.

Vitamin D has been linked to immune system and lung development in fetus, and epidemiologic studies show that higher vitamin D intake by pregnant mothers reduces asthma risk by as much as 40% in children 3 to 5 years old. Providing adequate vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy may lead to significant decreases in asthma incidence in young children.

The findings, which are published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggest that increased exposure to sunlight could help to reduce children’s chances of developing food allergies and eczema. The finding suggests new ways to interact with the immune system.

We spend less time in the sun today than in any time before in the history. This is the reason why more than 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency.

Sunlight is the best and only natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when you get your ‘D’ from sunshine        your body takes what it needs. Vitamin D experts and many health groups now advocate 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily which is five to ten times the old recommendations.

Nobody really knows for sure how much supplementary vitamin D is safe.

Vitamin D might be best obtained by getting a reasonable amount of sun exposure, such as 15 minutes a day between 10 AM and 3 PM as suggested by some experts. After this limited exposure should you apply a broad sprectum sunscreen.

So get outside and enjoy some sunshine on a regular basis. But like anything else, moderation is key so don’t overdo it.

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Sources: