Highlights from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting


FAACT CEO, Eleanor Garrow-Holding, just attended the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology – one of the nation’s leading associations for medical care professionals working on allergies and asthma – in Houston, Texas. “It was a great opportunity to learn about new medical findings and network with leaders in the allergy community, as well as share FAACT’s programs and resources,” Eleanor says. Medical highlights include: 

· Oral food challenge best test for peanut allergy: Doctors presented the case of a child whose
skin prick and blood tests suggested peanut sensitivity but who had never had an allergic reaction. The results of an oral food challenge changed the course of treatment.

· Food elimination for eczema may lead to food allergies: Doctors presented the case of a child with uncontrolled eczema whose skin tests showed sensitivity to egg, peanut, and sesame but who tolerated eating these foods. One year after the foods were removed from his diet, the child experienced anaphylaxis to peanut. The authors stressed the importance of good skin care and eczema treatment as the first line of treatment. If flares continue, an oral food challenge may make sense to determine if a food allergy is the cause.

· Mother’s diet can affect baby’s risk of allergies: Researchers found that women who have a history of allergies and lack diverse diets during pregnancy were more likely to have children with eczema and/or food allergies.

· Allergy shots may help children with oral symptoms: Children with pollen food allergy syndrome (aka oral allergy syndrome) also have seasonal allergies. Allergy shots may reduce oral allergy symptoms – including itchy mouth, scratchy throat, and swelling of lips, mouth and throat – that are caused by reactions to allergens found in both pollen and raw fruits, vegetables, and some nuts.

· Social media not reliable source for food allergy information: Misinformation on social media has a negative impact on medical decisions made by people with food allergies. It’s okay to look to the internet for information, but bring that information to your allergist appointment to discuss it with your doctor and make medially informed decisions.

· Penicillin allergies four times more common in women: Preliminary research shows that women are four times more likely to be allergic to penicillin than men, making proper diagnosis even more critical for women.

· Oral penicillin challenge safe for low-risk children: The first step in testing children for penicillin allergy is usually a skin test. A new study shows that going straight to an oral challenge is safe and effective in children with a low risk of penicillin allergy if you are working with a doctor to rule out an allergy.

Next year’s ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting is scheduled for November 12-15, 2020 in Phoenix.