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Dr. Scott Sicherer

Why are There So Many Food Allergies Today?

Q: Since my 6-year-old has multiple allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, soy and sesame), people ask me all the time: why are there so many food allergies today? Do you have a good shorthand answer?  Dr. Sicherer: The shortest answer is “we do not know exactly” and the long answer could involve writing a tome. There are […]

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Is Shea Nut Butter Safe With a Tree-Nut Allergy?

Q: My 5-year-old is allergic to tree nuts, and I’d like to know more about shea (nut) butter, as it’s in so many products. Is it safe to use on her skin as a lotion? Are candies with it safe for her to eat?  Dr. Sicherer: Shea nut butter or oil is derived from the seed of […]

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Is There a Connection Between Dry Roasting Peanuts and Allergies?

Q: Does the dry roasting cooking process used to make peanut butter and many peanut snacks have anything to do with how allergenic peanuts have become for so many?  Dr. Sicherer: There is a theory that the process of roasting  makes changes in peanut proteins that result in a more allergenic form. It’s important to realize […]

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Why Does Asthma Put a Food-Allergic Child at a Higher Risk of Anaphylaxis?

Q: Why does asthma put a child with food allergies at higher risk of anaphylaxis than other children with food allergies?  Dr. Sicherer: Asthma is a condition in which the airways narrow, become inflamed and make extra mucus. There are many triggers of asthma including airborne allergens, exercise, infections, smoke, cold air, and others. Foods that are otherwise tolerated are […]

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Food Challenges When Outgrowing Milk and Egg Allergies

Q: My severely allergic child passed a baked egg and milk challenge in the allergist’s office. We are starting to introduce foods with baked allergens, like muffins and bread. I’m optimistic but nervous. Do you find many children in our son’s situation returning with reports of reactions or even anaphylaxis? And, if he continues to […]

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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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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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What causes hives to appear in a food-allergic reaction?

Q: Why do we get hives in a food-allergic reaction? And will they always appear?  Dr. Sicherer: Hives, also called urticaria, develop when allergy cells in the skin release chemicals, including histamine, that cause localized swelling, redness and itching. The response looks like a series of mosquito bites, often across an expanse of skin, but various […]

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Is it Common for a Milk Allergy to Progress into a Nut Allergy?

Q: As a baby, my son was diagnosed with a cow’s milk allergy and now, at age 4, had a reaction to cashews and the allergist has diagnosed him with a nut allergy. Is this type of food allergy progression common? might he gain more allergies?  Dr. Sicherer: About 35 percent of infants with a milk […]

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Can Skin Exposures Worsen a Child’s Allergy?

Q: I have two young children, and my 18-month-old daughter has had an anaphylactic reaction to dairy. I’ve been letting her older brother continue to eat cheese at lunch, but sometimes he’ll touch or grab his sister’s arm before I can wash him up. This happened recently and she got a few hives. Could skin […]

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