Entries in Allergies (44)


Oregon Teen Discovers Trick to Avoiding Cat Allergies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For anyone who has ever wanted to have a cat for a pet but was prohibited by allergies, one Oregon teen may have found a solution.

Savannah Tobin, 17, is a high school senior in Oregon who volunteers at a local humane society. Savannah's love for cats was never a question, but she could never keep one as a pet because both she and her mother suffer from allergies. Her work at the Willamette Humane Society in Salem, Ore., made her wonder whether there were certain types of cats that would not affect her or her mother.

After doing some research, Savannah found out that it isn't hair or dander that causes allergic reactions, but rather the cat's saliva that prompted her allergy attacks.

"As they groom themselves, they're covering their body in that protein. So we're actually allergic to the saliva and it's not the hair," Tobin says.

Now, Savannah can perform swab tests and analyze a cat's saliva to determine which of her furry friends are hypo-allergenic. Her idea won her the Intel bio-chemistry award this year. This autumn, Tobin will attend the University of California-Davis.

No word yet on whether she will bring along a furry friend.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Watch Out for These Five Long-Weekend Health Hazards

(Brand X PicturesNEW YORK) -- For many people Memorial Day weekend means finally getting to kick off summer by striking up the barbecue, taking a dip in the ocean or simply basking in the sunshine during a long weekend.

But celebrating the unofficial start of summer also means encountering a few hazards of the season. From sunburns to bug bites or even an ill-cooked hotdog, the summer months have a few perils to contend with.

To help you avoid these pitfalls, we've put together a list of five health hazards for the summer months and how to avoid them.

After a long winter hibernation, it can be tempting to soak up as much sun as possible during a day at the beach or a picnic in the park, but experts warn that even a single sunburn can do lasting damage to the skin.

To enjoy the sun safely, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against UVA and UVB rays, which has an SPF of 30 or higher.
Additionally, experts advise seeking shade from 10a.m. to 2p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.

Unfortunately water and sand can amplify the sun's rays, so be extra-careful during trips to the beach. And be sure to reapply sun block every two hours or after taking a dip in the ocean.

If you do get a sunburn, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends taking a cool bath, popping a few aspirin or ibuprofen to help lessen the swelling and redness, and drinking lots of water since a sunburn draws fluid from the body.

Insects that Sting and Bite
One consequence of enjoying the great outdoors is being assailed by various stinging and biting insects that only a beekeeper outfit could keep at bay. While many of these insects are merely a nuisance, for people who are allergic, they pose a clear and even deadly threat to their health. The American College of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 2 million Americans are allergic to insect stings. That includes people who are at risk of having a potentially fatal reaction to the venom of certain insects.

More than 500,000 Americans end up in the hospital every year due to insect stings and bites, and they cause at least 50 known deaths a year.

Richard Pollack, a public health entomologist and instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health, says it's imperative for those who are allergic to insect stings to carry around an epi-pen, which can be used to easily inject epinephrine to help ease a severe allergic reaction.

"It does you no good to have it in your medicine cabinet if you're out and about [and get stung]," said Pollack.

In addition to life-threatening reactions from bee or wasp stings, warmer weather also means ticks will be actively looking for a host to feed off. Ticks can carry multiple diseases, including Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  

"If you're going to enjoy the outdoors, even just a backyard barbecue, you run some risk of acquiring a tick," said Pollack. "At the end of the day, do a tick check on yourself, children and even your pets."

To keep insects at bay during the spring and summer months, Pollack recommends using an insect repellent when outdoors and putting screens over your windows to keep out pests such as mosquitoes.

Food Poisoning
While enjoying a picnic or barbecue is one of the great traditions of Memorial Day weekend, getting ill from spoiled potato salad or a rotten deviled egg is one of the worst.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 48 million Americans become sick with food poisoning every year. Reactions to spoiled food can result in nausea, vomiting, fever or diarrhea.

To avoid any dietary mishaps this holiday, the CDC recommends that foods prone to spoiling not be kept unrefrigerated for more than two hours, one hour in extremely hot weather, and that meat is cooked to the proper temperature.

The United States Department of Agriculture even has a website dedicated to grilling safely, which explains the correct temperature for all your favorite summer meals. Hot dogs, for example, need to be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit or until steaming hot. The CDC recommends that whole meats be cooked to a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit; ground meats cooked to 160; and poultry, 165.

Poison ivy
A hiking trip can be a great way to celebrate the long holiday weekend, but one brush with poison ivy and a fun holiday excursion can turn excruciating.

While many people know to avoid poison ivy's infamous "leaves of three," the American Academy of Family Physicians says if people accidently swipe the plant they can quickly wash the skin with soap and water to help minimize effects. The oily sap of the plant contains urushiol, which bonds to the skin after a few minutes of contact and over the next few days will result in an itchy-blistered rash.

If you end up one of the unfortunate ones who didn't spot the plant in time, you can use one of the recommended over-the-counter medications such as a hydrocortisone cream, Calamine lotion, an antihistamine or an oatmeal bath to ease the symptoms.

Pollen Allergies
For those with pollen allergies, spending Memorial Day outdoors can mean suffering through a host of unpleasant allergy symptoms from sneezing to itchy watery eyes. In some states the summer grass season is already gearing up before the spring tree pollen season has fully ended. Anyone allergic to both kinds of pollen should consider staying inside for the long weekend.

However, Dr. Andy Nish, a Georgia-based allergist and fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, says people should try to avoid being out in the mornings if they have particularly bad reactions to grass pollen since the pollen count is usually highest during the early hours. Additionally, anyone who has allergies and is attending a barbecue may want to stay away from the grill.

"We know that other things [like smoke] can prime the nose and make it more sensitive to allergies," said Nish. "It can make [people] have a double whammy."

In addition to taking nasal steroids or over-the-counter medications, there are other steps allergy sufferers can take to lessen their symptoms. Nish recommends that people who are allergic to pollen change their clothes and take a shower when they get home so that the pollen isn't tracked indoors.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Immigrant Children Less Prone to Allergies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- America's obsession with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer may not be such a good thing. Research shows that some exposure to germs is actually helpful.

A new study found that children born outside the U.S. develop fewer allergies than American-born children. The reason isn't that they have an inherent resistance to them. It may have to do, instead, with the hygiene hypothesis: Kids who spend some of their earliest years exposed to infections and germs seem to get fewer allergies.

"It would be expected that immigrants to the United States from developing countries, where infectious stimuli are more prevalent, would have a lower risk of allergic disease," noted the researchers.

It might also have to do with what foods those children eat and their lifestyles. Asian children living in Chinatown, for example, have lower rates of asthma than Asians outside of that neighborhood.

While the researchers don't have a definitive answer yet, the numbers are compelling.

More than 10 percent of American kids suffer from asthma, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, and one in five may have atopic dermatitis, a skin disease. Those numbers are high when compared to immigrant kids though. While just one in five foreign-born kids develop allergies, more than one in three U.S.-born children do. The discrepancy when it comes to asthma is even larger.

Mexican Americans born in the U.S. have significantly higher rates of asthma, for instance, than Mexican Americans born in Mexico.

Factors including socioeconomic status and ethnicity can play a role, but the researchers accounted for those factors and a strong correlation between being born outside the U.S. and fewer allergies.

That fact was further bolstered by the study's finding that foreign-born kids who spend just a couple of years in the U.S. are far less likely to develop allergies than foreign-born kids who live in the country for a decade or more.

However, this could also mean that the benefits of being born somewhere else don't necessarily provide a shield after so much time has elapsed.

"The odds of developing allergic disease dramatically increase after living in the United States for longer than 10 years," wrote the researchers. "This suggests that the protective effects of the hygiene hypothesis may not be lifelong and that subsequent exposure to allergens and other environmental factors may trigger atopic disease even later in life."

The idea that those kids might be eating healthier and living lifestyles more in line with their countries of origin gains traction when you consider that foreign-born kids with U.S.-born parents are more likely to get allergies than foreign-born kids whose parents are also born outside the country.

"Some cultures more commonly use spices, such as curcumin, and green tea that have anti-allergy and inflammatory properties," wrote the scientists.

Researchers aren't suggesting altering a child's diet solely based on his or her allergies or to let her aversion to baths flourish, and they're certainly not saying that if your child has allergies that you should've let them roll in grass more as a toddler. But some early exposure to irritants may be a good thing.

In other words, it's ok to put down the Lysol wipes. Exposure to a few germs -- a romp through a muddy field or a splash through a puddle, for example -- may help developing immune systems learn to successfully recognize and respond to germs.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Spring Could Bring Worst Allergy Season Ever

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In news that's nothing to sneeze at, seasonal allergy experts are confirming that 2013 allergies are going to start sooner -- and last longer -- in most parts of the country.

The 2013 allergy season is expected to begin about 14 days earlier in many parts of the United States. Experts also believe that seasonal allergies will last about 30 days longer, running through the month of October.

"We're expecting to see a very robust allergy season because of a lot of precipitation during late winter and the warmer temperatures we're seeing now throughout the country," says adult and pediatric allergy specialist Dr. Clifford Bassett, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and Langone Medical Center.

Higher-than-normal carbon dioxide emissions could be fueling pollen production, in effect telling plants to produce three to five times more pollen. "This is the physical effect of increasing greenhouse gases on certain plants," Dr. Bassett claims.

In fact, United States Department of Agriculture studies found that a single ragweed plant could be producing up to 4 billion pollen grains. "Not only is the pollen more prolific, it seems to be more powerful, supercharged," Dr. Bassett explains.

Additionally, large amounts of precipitation in late winter combined with warmer current temperatures set the stage for excess tree pollen.

Which days will be the worst? Higher levels of pollen generally occur on warm, dry, and windy days, while lower levels of seasonal pollen circulate on calm, wet, and cloudy days.

Dr. Bassett has a few expert tips to help you survive the allergy season:

Gauge It

To get a sense of your seasonal allergy status, visit to take a free allergy relief test. Before starting any type of treatment, get your seasonal allergies confirmed with a simple in-office allergy test; otherwise, you could be treating the wrong problem. Allergy shots may reduce or slow down your allergy problem and have been shown to give long-term relief in nearly 90 percent of patients, Dr. Bassett notes.

Treat Early

If you use nasal or oral antihistamines, steroids, or eye drops for seasonal allergies, don't wait until your symptoms are unbearable to start treatment. "If you see an allergist and get tested, the doctor can quickly individualize treatment, telling you when you should take medications and when to be on pre-treatment or allergy alert."

Be In the Know

Make a habit of checking your local allergy levels. Go to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's National Allergy Bureau for up-to-date pollen counts. You can even sign up for email alerts or download a smartphone app that tracks pollen counts.

Be Shady

Wear oversized sunglasses to block airborne pollens from hitting your eyes. This can help prevent redness and watery eyes.

Finally, accessorize from the top. Wearing a hat -- preferably a wide-brimmed one -- can help keep pollen and other allergens from landing in your hair and eyes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Cold or Allergies? How to Tell

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Spring is just around the corner, but don’t be surprised to see winter weather -- and viruses -- linger a little longer.  So what’s behind your stuffy nose: Spring allergies or a cold?

The two miseries share symptoms despite their different causes.  But there are clues that can help you find the source of your spring sniffles and choose the right remedy.

“A cold can be accompanied by low-grade fever, sore throat and a cough, whereas allergies usually don’t have those things,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.  “You might have a little bit of sore throat with allergies, but it’s mostly runny nose and red, itchy eyes.”

The viruses that cause colds can also cause body aches and fatigue, symptoms you will not have from allergic reactions.

Here is a table from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to use as guidance.

If you have a cold, you might find relief in over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers, Schaffner said.  And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids and take it easy, too.

If you have allergies, on the other hand, you might want to try an over-the-counter antihistamine.  And if you know the allergy trigger, try to steer clear.

Whatever you do, don’t take antibiotics.

“Antibiotics work against bacteria, and bacteria don’t cause colds or allergies,” Schaffner said.  “And the more we use them, the more resistant the bacteria are going to be so next time we really need antibiotics, they might not work.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Alcohol Allergies Can Cause Sneezing, Flushing, Headache

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Alcohol allergies are possible at any age, but they are not common, affecting less than 5 percent of all people who suffer from food allergies, according to Dr. Clifford Bassett, clinical assistant professor in the division of infectious disease and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"You can get wheezing and asthma symptoms or hives," said Bassett.  "Those who already suffer from asthma seem to be more vulnerable."

Wine contains proteins from grapes, bacteria and yeast, as well as sulfites and other organic compounds.  Other studies have found that egg whites and gelatin are often used in the filtration processing of wine.

"It's something you don't think of," said Bassett.

Other symptoms can be a flushed or tickling face or a sense of warmth.  Others can get a runny rose or headaches.

Yeast and molds used in brewing beer from barley can cause chemical reactions that produce histamines and tyramines.  Tyramines are amino acid products that are associated with headaches and hypertension.  Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in immune or allergic responses.

A protein on the skin of a grape -- mostly those in red wines -- can contribute to symptoms in those who already have allergies, according to a German study.

People can also have an oral allergy syndrome -- a reaction to fresh fruit and vegetables that may be used as a garnish or a mixer in a cocktail, according to Bassett.  Hazelnut or almond in liquor can also be a problem for those with an allergy to nuts.

Alcohol can also exacerbate existing allergies.  In one 2005 Swedish study, those with asthma, bronchitis and hay fever were more apt to sneeze, get a runny nose or have "lower-airway symptoms" after a drink, especially women.  Wine -- both red and white -- were often the worst offenders.

In 2008, a Danish study of thousands of women found that two glasses of wine a day can double the risk for allergy symptoms, according to an article published in the journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

Some people have an intolerance to the alcohol itself, according to Bassett.  They can "feel sick" or even experience a migraine.

Those of Irish and Scottish descent -- about 1 percent of the population -- are prone to celiac disease, an allergy to gluten in wheat, barley and rye.  They may find whisky and bourbon intolerable.

"Most sake is fine," said Bassett.  "That's made from rice."

Ethnicity can make a difference.  Asians, particularly those of Chinese, Japanese or Korean descent, can experience a "flush syndrome" when drinking alcohol because of troubles with digestion, according to Bassett.

Bassett said those who have difficulty with alcohol should work with an allergist to minimize risk.

"Nonalcoholic beer is safer for the holidays," said Bassett.  "Nonalcoholic drinks can be made to accommodate and keep people healthy and happy at the same time."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Allergic to Christmas: Trees, Treats Can Trigger Reactions

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The holiday season is in full swing.  And while many people around the nation gear up for a joyful time with family and friends, those with allergies prepare for an onslaught of wheezes and sneezes that can wreck the holiday fun.

"The winter holidays are a particularly difficult time for people with allergies," said Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  "There are respiratory allergies.  There are food allergies.  There are skin allergies.  There are eye allergies.  The list goes on."

But with a few simple tips and tricks from the experts, surviving and thriving during the season can be easier than cooking the holiday meal.  The secret to success is planning in advance, well before common food, pet and mold allergies turn Christmas and Hanukkah into a Halloween nightmare.

The Tree

A Christmas tree is a smoking gun for people with allergies, according to Tringale.  Real trees harbor mold spores that can trigger reactions, and fake trees are often stored for months or years in dusty attics and basements.  They can also be coated with allergy-inducing chemicals.

The Fix: Keep fresh trees in the home for less than two weeks and wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (one part bleach to 20 parts water).  Consider hosing off a fake tree outside and letting it dry before bringing it indoors.  And when the holidays are over, store the fake tree with a protective air-tight covering to prevent next year's dust mite invasion.

The Fireplace

"Fireplaces are great for Santa's visit, but the burning wood, which can be moldy, dusty and have chemicals, also causes respiratory symptoms," said Dr. Marjorie Slankard, director of the allergy clinic at Columbia-New York Presbyterian Medical Center.  The wood smoke from the fire can also trigger itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, or a scratchy throat.

The Fix: Stack your firewood outside and bring new logs in only when you are ready to use them in your fireplace or wood-burning stove.  And make sure the fire burns in a well-ventilated area to avoid unnecessary smoke inhalation.

The Food

'Tis the season of candies, cakes and cookies.  But for those with food allergies, decadent holiday parties can be a set-up for serious missteps.  Common holiday ingredients like eggs, milk, soy and nuts abound, and can cause potentially life-threatening allergic reactions if accidentally consumed.  Even if a food does not seem to contain allergens, it may have been cross-contaminated if it was prepared alongside known allergens.

The Fix: Ask what's in the buffet before you eat.  If you're unsure of the ingredients of a certain food, completely avoid it.  Consider making and bringing your own food to a holiday potluck.  And most importantly, you should always have your emergency epi-pen ready in case of an unexpected emergency.

The Cat

Your aunt's cat Fluffy may be adorable, but you'll need to steer clear if you're sensitive to the numerous allergens spread by domestic pets.  "A frequent issue is that pet-allergic individuals visit homes of relatives and friends where there are pets, which can cause nose and eye reactions as well as asthma with cough, wheezing and shortness of breath," said Dr. Mark Dykewicz, director of allergy and immunology at Wake Forest University.

The Fix: If you're hosting a party, clear the air of pet dander with the aid of a HEPA air filter.  If possible, minimize the time that pets and guests are indoors together.  But if exposure is inevitable, Dykewicz recommends taking over-the-counter antihistamines, like nasal cromolyn, 15 to 20 minutes before entering an allergic environment and every six hours thereafter, until the party ends.

The Makeup

Holiday party season inspires many women to apply makeup more frequently, but extra layers of foundation and cover-up could lead to dry and irritated skin, according to Dr. Neeta Ogden, an allergist in New York City.  Not only can this "holiday skin" be socially isolating, but when compounded with cold weather, it can trigger uncomfortable eczema flares in those who suffer from the condition.

The Fix: People with sensitive skin should use only small amounts of makeup.  Don't over-cleanse and dry out the skin, but do moisturize frequently.  And if you have known eczema or other serious skin conditions talk to your doctor about ways to prevent winter flares.

The Centerpieces

Strong odors from potpourri, candles, incense, and scented decor can wreak havoc on allergies and can even exacerbate asthma, according to Dr. Tara Carr, director of the adult allergy program at Arizona Health Sciences Center.  Being trapped indoors with heavily-perfumed family and friends can also make for an uncomfortable celebration.

The Fix: Besides the obvious advice to not buy products with strong odors, the best way to avoid this one is to talk to your doctor or see an allergist about preventative medications you can take for up to a week prior to exposures.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Winter Allergies Can Be Mistaken for Colds

Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- ‘Tis the season for stuffy noses.  But what feels like a cold could actually be allergies, triggered by dusty decorations, smelly centerpieces and a host of holiday season irritants.

Although allergies can share some symptoms with the common cold, there are clues that can help you find the source of your misery and choose the right remedy.

“A cold can be accompanied by low-grade fever, sore throat and a cough, whereas allergies usually don’t have those things,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.  “You might have a little bit of sore throat with allergies, but it’s mostly runny nose and red, itchy eyes.”

The viruses that cause colds can also cause body aches and fatigue -- symptoms you will not have from allergic reactions.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases gives this table as guidance.

If you have a cold, you might find relief in over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers, Schaffner said.  And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids and get take it easy, too.

If you have allergies, on the other hand, you might want to try an over-the-counter antihistamine.  And if you know the allergy trigger, try to steer clear.

But whatever you do, don’t take antibiotics.

“Antibiotics work against bacteria, and bacteria don’t cause colds or allergies,” said Schaffner.  “And the more we use them, the more resistant the bacteria are going to be so next time we really need antibiotics, they might not work.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kids Allergic to the Cold — Literally

Altrendo Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While many people get sick in cold weather, a small number develop an allergic reaction to the cold — literally. Much as with food and pollen allergies, reactions can include rashes, hives that can extend almost to an inch, closing of the throat and general itchiness.

Mike and Melissa Frankenfeld of Sterling, Colo., are all too familiar with this rare condition, called cold urticaria.

Their battle started two years ago when they noticed a painful rash on their son, Connor, who was 3 years old at the time.

“It was really weird,” Melissa Frankenfeld told ABC News. “We saw this rash in the diaper area, and I thought ‘diaper rash,’ and I treated it with home remedies and it got worse. I tried changing detergents and soaps, and I took him to the doctor, because it wasn’t getting any better. They said it was diaper rash, and to let it air out.”

The rash continued to worsen and even began to swell as the Frankenfelds made the rounds of several more doctors, none of who could hit on the right treatment. The only thing that seemed to soothe Connor was warm baths.

Finally, after a year of going from doctor to doctor, the Frankenfelds found Dr. Bill Lanting, at the Asthma and Allergy Center of the Rockies.  Lanting, who’d also founded the website America’s Allergist, performed a simple test in which he pressed an ice cube against Connor’s arm for four minutes, and watched as hives formed. That’s when he knew Connor had cold urticaria.

“You have these mast cells, or allergy cells that are found mainly in the skin, and are set off by allergens like food, medications and stinging insects,” Lanting told ABC News. “Exposure to cold or literally holding a coke can or ice cube can set off the mast cell, so if you’re exposed to cold at a certain temperature, you can get hives. Hives you can deal with using Benadryl, but if it’s severe enough it can cause throat swelling and breathing problems.”

Lanting said cold urticaria was rare, affecting approximately one in 100,000 people.

In the throes of trying to get Connor diagnosed and treated, the Frankenfelds learned that their daughter, Taylor, 8 years old, also had cold urticaria, and her condition was even more serious than Connor’s. She almost went into anaphylactic shock after she was exposed to air conditioning at her school.

“I just feel my throat start to feel funny and it was feeling like it was getting bigger,” Taylor told ABC 7 in Denver. “I was really scared. I thought I was going to die.”

“There’s nothing you can do,” Melissa Frankenfeld said.  "I stay at home, and the school has me on speed dial. Every day I go to school for recess.”


Lanting said cold urticaria could be controlled by taking a daily chronic antihistamine, but so far there was no definitive cure.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at New York University, and founder of, said that in general, most people with cold urticaria had manageable symptoms that were not life-threatening.

Bassett said he’d treated a patient Thursday who has lived with the rare allergy for 20 years – his symptoms appear only in response to cold water, not cold temperatures.

He said cold urticaria could have a genetic cause, but it could also be acquired (usually between the ages of 18 and 25) or result from another medical condition.

Melissa Frankenfeld, who said she has received an outpouring of support from other parents dealing with this rare allergy, believes more research is needed.

“When Connor was first diagnosed, we were told he’s either going to grow out of it, it will stay the same or it will get worse, but there is not enough information out there to know for sure,” she said.

Moving to a warmer climate was not a solution, said Frankenfeld, as cold countertops, cold bathtubs, ice cream, popsicles, air-conditioning and cold drinks can all trigger a reaction.

“Even if they walk on wooden floors, their feet will break out,” Frankenfeld said. “Even running and getting sweaty against the air can cause a reaction.”

Mike and Melissa Frankenfeld try to their best to maintain a normal life for their children.

“They have to be kids,” Melissa Frankenfeld said. “They have to have a life, and they have to enjoy all the things that kids enjoy in life. They need to have the ice cream and the popsicles, but we do take the appropriate precautions. We let them play in the snow, but we bundle them up and … and we carry Benadryl because that’s the only thing you can do when a reaction does start.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom Wants Oak Trees Cut Down for Kids With Allergies

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(ONTARIO, Canada) -- One Canadian mom says she’s going nuts over her children’s food allergies.

Donna Giustizia, a  mother of two, says the oak trees near her teenager’s school in Vaughan, Ontario,  are a health hazard, and even though the school is nut-free, she says school administrators aren’t protecting their students.

“A false sense of security is putting a sign on the door that says ‘nut-free,’ and there’s nuts all over the place,” Giustizia told The Toronto Star.

Giustizia says the trees around St. Stephen Catholic Elementary School are a deadly threat for kids with anaphylactic food allergies — allergies that cause shock.

She appeared before the Vaughan, Ontario, City Council last week to plead for the removal of the trees, saying : “The acorns are not only presenting a risk to the tree-nut-allergic students, but it is also becoming a great cause of anxiety among all students with nut allergies.” Giustizia also said, according to The Star,   that “acorns can also be used to bully and torment children.”

Giustizia, who heads the school’s allergy committee, says she’s not suggesting the entire town become nut-free, but she worries that acorns on the school grounds could trigger an allergic attack.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of allergy and asthma care at New York University, says he’s not familiar with any reports of children having an allergic reaction by playing with acorns off the ground.

“There’s no relationship between acorns and peanuts,” Bassett said. “If people have food allergies, they need to work with an allergist on prevention, avoidance and preparedness. People with food allergies need to be careful and have a plan.”

Members of  the Vaughan City Council say they’re preparing a report on the nut problem to be read at the next board meeting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio