Showing posts from November, 2011

The AllergistMommy's Thanksgiving List

10 things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving: 1. Increasing awareness of allergies and asthma among family and friends. 2. Schools that recognize the importance of not using food as a reward in the classroom. 3. The availability of novel, high-quality allergy and asthma-friendly products and foods. 4. Laws that protect the public from the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke. 5. The availability of life-saving epinephrine in Illinois schools (and hopefully soon, schools throughout the nation!) 6. A robust community of asthma and allergy parents and physicians sharing their experiences via the magic of social media. 7. Treasured patients who have put their trust in my expertise and care. 8. A steadily growing medical practice which is the beneficiary of kind word-of-mouth referrals (scheduled my 100th patient this month!) 9. The flexibility to set my own schedule, which allows me to a more involved mother. 10. My awesome family (and inspiration)... Wishing you and you

What Anaphylaxis Feels Like -- The AllergistMommy's Own Story

One of the things that helps me be a better allergist is that I know, first hand, what it feels like to experience anaphylaxis.  I am severely allergic to blueberries. Here's what happened when I experienced my first episode of anaphylaxis: Red, itchy palms. They felt hot and uncomfortable (as though they were being cooked from the inside out), and I found myself rubbing them against my thighs because they were so itchy. Painful abdominal cramping.  This pain made me feel like my innards were being wrung out like a wet dishrag, and was followed by a sneaking suspicion that if I elected to go the bathroom at that very moment, I might just evacuate the entire contents of my body in a single second. Incessant throat-clearing.  I felt like something was caught in my throat, but I just couldn't clear it. I was trying to be quiet, because I didn't want to bother anyone, but I couldn't stop. When I finally spoke up for help, my voice was hoarse. Involuntary cough

Why Drug Allergies Matter (Or Why Penicillin Allergy is Responsible for My Son's Lopsided Neck)

My 6 year son old just got over a rite of passage - strep throat and scarlet fever. Unfortunately, before we could even celebrate his recovery, I noticed a swelling on the left side of his neck. It was red and tender, and it was GROWING. The pediatrician in me worried, "Damn. Lymphadenitis (infected lymph node)". No sooner had we finished one course of antibiotics than we were onto another, and the side effects were bad enough to keep him out of school for another three days. Why did my munchkin suffer so? My answer: Drug allergy. Group A streptococcal bacteria (the cause of strep throat and scarlet fever) is remarkably sensitive to penicillin. Penicillin is the first choice treatment for strep throat, and has been proven to reduce the risk of developing rheumatic fever, a post-infectious complication which can result in chronic heart disease. Problem is, my son is allergic to antibiotics in the penicillin family. At 11 months of age (8 days into his second ever co