The 2019 Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

The annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology was held from Nov. 7 to 11 in Houston and attracted approximately 3,500 participants from around the world, including allergy and immunology specialists as well as other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in the prevention and treatment of asthma, food and medication allergies, immune dysfunction, and sleep apnea.

In one study, Alana Jones, D.O., of the Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and colleagues found that the use of subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) in pediatric patients improves symptoms associated with pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS). The investigators not only found an improvement in birch-allergic patients, but also in mugwort, timothy, and orchard grass pollen-allergic patients.

“PFAS is common in children, adolescents, and adults, which can be improved with SCIT. However, prior research has been limited to SCIT’s success in only adult patients with PFAS. This study intends to highlight whether SCIT can improve PFAS symptoms in pediatric patients,” Jones said. “We now have evidence to offer SCIT to pediatric patients for the improvement of PFAS.”

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In another study, Mary Nguyen, M.D., of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and colleagues found that pediatric allergy patients were at least equally satisfied with treatment received during a telemedicine appointment compared with their most recent in-person visit.

“Telemedicine is a useful and convenient tool that provides patients with increased accessibility to providers, and patients seem to be more satisfied or as satisfied with telemedicine as they are with in-person visits,” Nguyen said. “Most patients were satisfied with telemedicine due to increased convenience and decreased travel time. I hope these findings will increase use of telemedicine in allergy and immunology practice.”

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Sonam Sani, M.D., of New York University-Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, and colleagues found that when patients are evaluated and test negative for penicillin allergy, medical records may not be updated to reflect the results. The investigators performed follow-up interviews with patients who tested negative to penicillin allergy and also reviewed their electronic medical records and pharmacy records.

“We found that of the 52 patients interviewed (who had negative penicillin testing), a majority (98 percent) recalled their testing correctly. However, 29 percent still had a penicillin allergy label in their electronic medical record, and 24 percent still carried the label in their pharmacy records,” Sani said. “Once patients have tested negative for penicillin allergy, there needs to be collaboration between patients, physicians, and pharmacists to make sure that the patient’s records reflect it’s safe to take penicillin again.”

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David Stukus, M.D., of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues identified a great deal of misinformation surrounding food allergies on social media and websites, making it difficult for patients to identify correct versus incorrect information.

“The rise in social media has fundamentally changed the manner in which people communicate and find information. Medical professionals need to adapt and meet our patients where they are: online. Without experts disseminating evidence-based information, then both deliberate and inadvertent misinformation prevails, which provides false equivalency,” Stukus said. “Medical professionals need to discuss the information and preconceived notions that our patients have based upon the anecdotes they hear on social media or pseudoscience they encounter online. We need to listen to their concerns, discuss evidence-based information and acknowledge the multiple influences patients encounter which can impact their medical decision making.”

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Evelyn Wang, M.D., of National Jewish Health in Denver, and colleagues found that removing foods from a child’s diet may not improve his or her eczema and carries a significant risk for food allergy.

“Avoiding foods (even ones which are well tolerated) may lead to food allergy within a short period of time,” Wang said. “In clinical practice, a practitioner should focus on improving eczema with good skin care practices, including wet wraps, good moisturizing techniques, and topical steroids, while keeping as many foods in their patient’s diet as possible.”

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ACAAI: Family History of Cancer Risk Factor for Childhood Asthma

TUESDAY, Nov. 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Family history of cancer is a significant risk factor for childhood asthma development, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, held from Nov. 7 to 11 in Houston.

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