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Ask the Allergist

Can You Be Allergic to Just One Type of Tree Nut?

Q: My child tested highly positive to tree nut allergy, but I know she has eaten foods with almonds and hazelnuts without a problem. Does this mean, though, that she might go on to develop a nut allergy? Dr. Sharma: It would first be important to confirm which specific tree nuts tested positive for your […]

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Can Fussiness in a Child be a Sign of Allergic Reaction?

Q: Recently my mother was babysitting my son, who is 3 years old and peanut-allergic. She called me distressed; she had given my son a cookie she’d baked and he’d broken out in some hives on his face and began rubbing his nose. But what really made her think something was wrong was that he was suddenly very fussy, cranky […]

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Are Smears on a Football a Risk for Nut Allergies?

Q: My son goes to high school next fall and wants to try out for the football team. He has peanut and nut allergies, so is there a risk of him coming in contact with nut residue on the ball? Other boys will eat products containing these foods.  Dr. Watson: For children and young adults with […]

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Sports Breathing Issues – Asthma or Not?

Q: My teenage son had a second spell of bad breathing during a school basketball game. Even when he stopped playing, it felt like somebody was sitting on his chest. Could this be due to asthma? Dr. Bassett: Your suspicions might be warranted, particularly if your son has a history of allergies and asthma. Exercise-induced […]

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Can Exercise Trigger a Food-Allergy Reaction?

Q: My son recently passed a baked milk challenge at his allergist’s office. I regularly feed him small pieces of caked baked with milk. He usually tolerates it, but on two occasions, he broke out in hives, developed swollen lips and felt tightness in his chest. Interestingly, on both occasions, he played sports about an hour after eating the […]

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Controlling Seasonal Allergies

Q: My daughter is 10 and has allergies to pollen, dust, cats and peanuts. In the months of her allergies (May through September) she will sneeze day or night. Lately, every night around 3 a.m. she is up and sneezing – and her biggest “allergy months” lie just ahead. We don’t have cats, we don’t smoke in the […]

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Is It Safe For Those With Shellfish Allergies To Consume Sea Salt?

Q: I’m a chef and often serve food to allergic customers. Is it safe for those with shellfish allergies to consume sea salt? I’ve read that it can contain a microscopic type of shellfish.  Dr. Sicherer: Sea salt differs from table salt primarily because sea salt is evaporated from seawater rather than refined from mined salt. […]

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Kissing With Severe Food Allergies

Q: I’m a teenager with severe allergies to tree nuts and sesame seeds. If my boyfriend eats something that I’m allergic to, how much time should we wait before kissing?  Dr. Sharma: Dating can sometimes pose challenges for teens with food allergies, and kissing has been found to sometimes cause allergic reactions. In two studies between […]

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Can Fruit & Vegetable Allergies be Related to a Pollen Allergy?

Q: Over the past year, I started getting a terribly itchy mouth if I ate apples or pears or celery. Now carrots and potatoes, too! My doctor says this is a form of food allergy, related to my pollen allergies. Can you help me understand this? I’m concerned about what’s OK to eat. Dr. Sharma: This […]

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What Type of Formula Can I Give to My Milk-Allergic Baby?

Q: I’ve been breastfeeding, and would like to begin introducing  formula to my milk-allergic baby. I’m confused about which types are safe to give her. Can you help? Dr. Sharma: Your confusion is understandable since so many options are available. There are two categories of hypoallergenic cows’s milk-based formulas: extensively hydrolyzed (Alimentum, Nutramigen) and amino acid-based […]

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