Allergy Shmallergy

Simplifying life for families with food allergies.

Food Allergy References May 7, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 10:55 am

Just in time for Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 13-20), here is the essential list of reading and graphics to help educate yourself and others.  Post these in your social media feed, forward appropriate articles to school and camp, and print graphics to hang up in school and elsewhere.



1. Food Allergy Labeling Laws:  The Ins and Outs of Reading Food Labels

2. The Symptoms and Descriptions of a Food Allergic Reaction: The Language of Food Allergies

3. What to do in a Food Allergy Emergency to Maximize Success:  #Minutes Matter: Be Prepared For Severe Allergic Reactions

4. The Quiet Danger:  Food Allergy Bullying: Not Just a School Problem

5. The ONE Form Everyone Needs: Put This on Your To Do List Today: Food Allergy Action Plan

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Language of Severe reaction


Allergy Shmallergy Named Among Healthline’s Top Allergy Blogs May 4, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 9:15 am

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In advance of Food Allergy Awareness Week, Healthline has published its annual list of the year’s top allergy blogs.  Each blog offers a unique perspective and serves as a great resource to food allergy patients, their families, and their communities.


I am honored that Allergy Shmallergy has once again made this list!  Check us and the rest of the winner out here: Healthline Best Allergy Blogs of 2018.


Thanks, Healthline!


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kaléo Introduces First Ever Epinephrine Auto-Injector for Infants and Toddlers April 30, 2018

Filed under: Preparedness — malawer @ 8:30 am

A food allergy diagnosis is jarring at any age.  But it is particularly unsettling when your baby or toddler is diagnosed.  Parents worry that they may not be able to recognize the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.  Large-sized auto-injectors seems especially intimidating and parents often worry that the dose of epinephrine will overwhelm their infants’ small, little bodies.


Until recently, the 0.15mg dosed auto-injectors – typically used for children weighing between 33 and 66 lbs (15 – 30 kilograms) – were the only option for infants and toddlers.  However, kaléo Pharma, the makers of Auvi-Q, just announced that the FDA has approved Auvi-q 0.1mg  – a strength intended for infants and toddlers.


At a time when the rate of food allergies is still increasing and pediatricians are recommending the early introduction of peanuts and other allergens to prevent the development of food allergies, this device is arriving in the nick of time for food allergy parents.  It is everyone’s hope that Auvi-q’s correctly-dosed auto-injector will embolden parents to confidently administer epinephrine to their young children without hesitation.


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The FDA-approved Auvi-q 0.1mg will have several features that are better suited for little ones.

  • It is dosed properly for infants and toddler weighing between 16.5 and 33 lbs (7.5 to 15 kilograms)
  • It contains a needle length appropriate for smaller bodies, reducing incidents of injury.


If you’re not familiar with the Auvi-Q epinpehrine auto-injector, it’s a compact auto-injector about the size of a deck of cards.  Auvi-Q features voice prompts to guide you through injection step-by-step and contains a needle that automatically retracts for safety.



If you have a baby or toddler and would like more information, here is a link to Auvi-q’s 0.1 page and, as always, speak with your doctor.



Your Must-Read Allergy and Asthma Resource April 26, 2018

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Check out The Allergy & Asthma Network’s fantastic and informative publication Allergy & Asthma Today.  You can find it in your doctor’s office or online.  Not only does it contain information about food allergies, but it also covers asthma and other allergies as well.  I learn something new in every issue.


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The latest issue features two of my articles.  The first covers lupin allergies. (Have you heard of them?  You’ll want to learn more…).  And, the second article covers the backlash Sony Pictures faces following their decision to include an allergic reaction in the children’s movie “Peter Rabbit.”


Be sure to check these articles and all the others out today!



Do You Have Oral Allergy Syndrome? April 13, 2018

Filed under: Health — malawer @ 8:55 am
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When I first met my husband, he was such a carnivore he used to joke that the only way he’d eat a vegetable was via pizza.  He also told me that he was allergic to raw fruits and vegetables. All raw fruits and vegetables.  Needless to say, I was skeptical.


When I joked to our allergist that my husband was peddling his “allergy story” as an excuse to eat more steak, the doctor and nurses just stared.  Instead of laughter, they gently whispered that what he was experiencing was a real thing called oral allergy syndrome.  The joke was definitely on me.


Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) is experienced by so many people – as many as 1 in 3 people with seasonal allergies – that it is likely the most common form of food allergy in adults.  Those with OAS react to certain (usually fresh) fruits, vegetables, and nuts usually at the same time they have hay fever and environmental allergies. In other words, if you suffer and sneeze when the spring pollen comes blowing in, you may experience itchy ears and lips when you eat almonds, peaches or carrots.  This is not considered a separate food allergy but rather a cross-reaction from the weed and tree pollen found in fruits and other plant-based foods in a distant form.




Sufferers of oral allergy syndrome may notice that they experience symptoms more frequently during spring pollen season.  Some sufferers may ONLY experience symptoms during peak periods of pollen and some experience them year-round.


OAS symptoms tend to occur within moments of eating a trigger food.  Symptoms of oral allergy syndrome include:

  • Itching or burning of lips, mouth, ear canal, or throat;
  • Swelling of lips, tongue or uvula;
  • Eye, skin and nose reactions are common;
  • Tightness of the throat;
  • If the allergen is not digested fully, it may delay releasing histamine resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion, and/or cramping;
  • Rarely, wheezing, vomiting, hives and/or low blood pressure.

Oral allergy syndrome rarely results in anaphylaxis – the most severe form of food allergic reaction.


An allergy to certain pollens can correspond to oral allergy syndrome to certain foods.  See the chart below to explore which pollen (and their variants) are found in which foods.

Oral Allergy Syndrome


If you believe you experience OAS, you should make an appointment with an allergist to confirm your suspicions and rule out a true food or latex allergy.  As you lead up to your doctor’s visit, it’s a great idea to begin a food journal to chart and track symptoms which may relate to this condition.  Once at the allergist’s office, you can expect them to go over your food diary, symptoms, your personal medical history and – if necessary – give a skin prick, blood test or set up an oral food challenge.  As with a regular food allergy, an oral food challenge is the gold standard for diagnosis.


Treatment options are similar to those for environmental allergies since they are interrelated.  Allergists may suggest that you avoid your trigger foods or eat them only when they are cooked for a certain length of time at a certain heat (since this alters the protein that sets off an allergic reaction).  In some cases, a doctor may treat the environmental allergy with antihistamines or steroids and occasionally will prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector in case of severe reaction.  Be sure to ask your allergist about immunotherapy.  Allergy immunotherapy had been reported to help both the environmental as well as oral allergy syndrome symptoms.





Creative and Fun Non-Food Ideas to Fill Your Easter Eggs March 25, 2018


Having food allergies can be limiting during food-centric holidays.  They are especially hard for kids during candy-themed holidays like Easter, Valentine’s Day and Halloween.  Children with food allergies are often left out or feel excluded from the goodies AND the fun.


But it can be easy to make sure Easter is enjoyable for everyone.  Many families fill the candy void by using non-food treats.  If you need some inspiration for how to fill your Easter eggs this year, look no further!


1. Glow Rings:  Boys and girls alike love glow rings.  They fit any finger and extend the fun into the night.  Maybe it will send the kids outside while you clean up dinner!

2.  Sticky Hands:  You can ball these up easily and fit them inside eggs.  Sticky hands are perfect – kids love softly slapping against windows and mirrors and stretching them as far as they can go!

3.  Squishy Animals:  I don’t know exactly why, but these little squishy animals are addictive.  They’re a great replacement for fidget spinners and fantastic for the kid who loves collections.

4.  Stretchy Ninja Flyers:  Okay, full disclosure… I want these right now – for me.  They look like so much fun! Small enough to fit in your pocket (or egg!) and great for an active kid.  Have a contest to see how far you can make your ninja fly!  Be the fastest to fling and retrieve your ninja!

5.  Emojis!  Everything emoji-related is so popular right now.  Yes, even the poop emoji.  Especially the poop emoji!

6.  Itty Bitty Nail Polishes:  This set of Frozen-themed nail polish could be divided and placed in a number of eggs.  It will be like finding a rainbow!

7.  Wind-Up Toys:  These are fun for everyone!  Plus, this pack comes with 28 assorted toys.  Use some now, save some for later!  And, these are fantastic to bring to restaurants or other places where your children might need a little diversion.


Happy Easter everyone!




(Thank you in advance! A portion of the proceeds of affiliate links go toward – an organization aimed at helping at risk families with food allergies.)


A Gluten-Free and Egg-Free Passover March 19, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — malawer @ 9:00 am


Passover is almost here!  The 8 day celebration is a favorite celebration for a great reason: in commemorating the story of Moses, it honors freedom everywhere.  Modern day Jewish people refrain from eating leavened bread to reflect on the Israelites’ quick flight out of Egypt and their perseverance through the desert.  Given the restriction on yeast, many Passover recipes weave matzoh crackers or matzoh meal and eggs into delicious and inventive meals.


But of course, if you’re allergic to wheat or eggs, this holiday can be challenging. And finding safe products poses a problem for those who wish to observe the holiday and participate in the traditional Passover dinner, called a seder.


Thankfully, companies have begun to take note and gluten-free Passover products are MUCH easier to find today than they were when my son was first diagnosed with a wheat allergy almost 12 years ago.

From matzo crackers to graham crackers, creamy chicken soup to the ever-essential matzo ball soup, and desserts galore, gluten-free alternatives are finding their way onto shelves in supermarket and are available for shipment online.


Egg is often used more often during Passover to lighten dishes and replace traditional leavening ingredients.  But what if you are allergic to eggs?  Kugel, gefilte fish, matzo balls, and matzo brei are all held together with egg.  Not to mention desserts?!


Of all the Passover recipes, matzo ball soup (a year-round favorite as well) is the most loved.  And, the hardest to recreate without eggs.  Enter aquafaba  [read more about aquafaba here: “Okay, I Give… What is Aquafaba?”, Oct. 2016].


The Tablet magazine printed a recipe by Rebecca Klempner [“Matzo Ball Soup – And Hold the Eggs?!”, Aug. 15, 2015] that uses aquafaba combined with xanthan gum to solve our problem:

Egg-Free Matzo Balls


soup-2730411_1920 RitaE


In trying to recreate your favorite Passover recipes, remember that you can use aquafaba, banana, tofu or apple sauce in place of eggs depending on taste and method of preparation.


What are your Passover recipes?  Which Passover dish do you need help recreating safely? (Maybe another reader has mastered it!)