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How Will the COVID-19 Vaccine be Distributed?

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After nearly a year of pandemic-induced isolation and loss, we have recently had the announcement of not only one, but two, candidate vaccines with impressive efficacy data.  Although this provides a glimmer of hope that we will eventually find our way out of this crisis, it is essential to recognize that there will not initially be enough vaccine available to immunize the entire population. Therefore, the vaccine will be distributed to the public in phases. You may be wondering where you or those you love lie on this index. Although this stratification is subject to change, here is what we know so far. There will be 4 major phases for vaccine distribution: 1a. High risk health care workers (hospitals, long-term care facilities, etc.) and first responders (police, fire, EMT) 1b. People with 2 or more co-morbid conditions (eg: asthma, heart disease, immune deficiency), and older adults in congregate/overcrowded settings 2. Teachers & school staff, critical workers in high-risk set

Please Participate in A Study on Psychosocial Coping in Food Allergy

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Dear Food Allergy Families, Please consider participating in the following study intended to explore the psychosocial coping needs of families with food allergy. As anyone who is living with food allergies understands, the psychological impacts of living with a potentially life-threatening condition are incredibly important, but sadly, often given short shrift in the context of limited time available during healthcare maintenance visits. Participating in this study is an opportunity to contribute to our knowledge base about the strategies families utilize to cope with the diagnosis. Thank you! -AllergistMommy ____________________________________________________ We want to invite you to participate in an exciting study researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine are conducting to explore the thoughts, emotions, and coping strategies individuals and families have and use as they manage food allergies. Led by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, the goal of this r

When Food Allergy Treatments are Sensationalized, it is the Allergist's Role to Bring Us All Back Down to Earth

Sharing a recent post from my practice Facebook page, in response to concerns raised by the recent publication of a meta analysis on anaphylaxis rates during food allergen oral immunotherapy:  https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)30420-9/fulltext I hope my comments are helpful at proving some context for patients currently pursuing or consider food allergen desensitization therapy.  I am a non-alarmist by nature, and feel it is 100% possible to integrate new data without falling prey to the sensationalization of these publications by the media. It is frustrating to read in the news one day, "Researchers find CURE for peanut allergies!" (WRONG!!!) and the next day read "Experimental treatment for food allergy causes more life-threatening reactions than avoidance!" (Hmmm...a bit misleading). No nuance, no thoughtfulness, no concern for the impact of such a black & white approach to a decidedly grey issue. And why would there

Fostering a Culture of Inclusion in Schools

It's that time again... Back to School! I, for one, relish the newly found silence in my home in the afternoon. I am also happy in the confidence that my boys are learning and playing and enjoying school again. I like knowing that the sweltering days of summer will soon transition into pleasant autumn evenings. However, I know that back to school season brings on very different emotions for parents of children with life-threatening food allergies. These feelings range from fear and anxiety at being separated from a child with medical needs, to frustration with the necessary mounds of paperwork that constitute school health forms, and apprehension about what some might term "the little things": Will my child have someone to sit with at lunch? What if someone at the middle school starts a food fight, and throws a PB& J? How will my 5 year old handle it, when at the end of a long day of kindergarten, a classmate shares cupcakes with everyone as a birthday treat (eve

Kids Got Too Much Candy this Halloween? Here Are Some Options!

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If your Halloween ended up like hours, a short time spent trick or tricking resulted in a ridiculous quantity of candy. Luckily for me, the risk of finding shellfish in my boys' candy stash is exceedingly low. The same sense of relief does not extend to the families of kids with other food allergies, such as milk, egg, peanut or tree nuts. So, what's a candy-overloaded family to do? Here are a few ideas: 1. Let mom and dad eat it. Just kidding. Not really. :-/ 2. Invite the "Switch Witch" over for a visit! She takes the candy, and leaves a cool toy in its place! 3. Send your candy to our troops serving abroad! Your donated candy will be included in care packages. Operation Gratitude does a great job: http://opgrat.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/halloween-candy-for-the-troops/ 4. Ask your local dentist or allergist about Halloween candy buy-backs! Maybe your kids will make a few bucks... see below for a picture of a few of my patients visiting their dentist during a

Major Changes to Express Scripts Formulary Will Affect Many Asthma and Allergy Patients

I just received notice that as of January 1, 2014, the Express Scripts formulary will be removing a number of medications from its repertoire of covered drugs. This means that patients under the Express Scripts plan will have NO COVERAGE for these prescriptions, and will be required to pay full price at the pharmacy. The list is long, and heavy on medications commonly used by patients with asthma and allergies: Asthma medications: Advair diskus Advair HFA Alvesco HFA Flovent Diskus Flovent HFA Maxair Autohaler Proventil HFA Xopenex HFA Allergy medications: Auvi-Q Beconase AQ Omnaris Rhinocort Aqua Veramyst Zetonna As insurers continue to seek ways to cut costs and boost the bottom line, they will negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to obtain lower pricing. Those companies that play ball get to keep their drugs on the formulary. Those that don't, get dropped. The losers are the patients who will be required to switch from medications they have been taking

Your Chance to Weigh In On Stock Epinephrine Legislation (Courtesy of AANMA)

I am proud to be from Illinois, where we already have excellent guidelines in place for the protection of food allergic children, and also have a stock epinephrine law on the books. I am also so pleased that my state's U.S. Senators have teamed up to co-sponsor a bipartisan bill designed to keep the children of America safe from severe allergic reactions. Read on to learn more! Courtesy of the Allergy and Asthma Network - Mothers of Asthmatics : Your Chance to Weigh In On Stock Epinephrine Legislation The School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which would encourage states to require that schools keep lifesaving epinephrine on hand, is now in front of the U.S. Senate, bringing it one step closer to passage. You can make a difference by contacting your Senators today to ask for their support. S. 1503 was introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and co-sponsored by 23 other senators. The companion bill, sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe, MD