Information on Food Allergy

Food allergy fears

The recent outbreak of media attention has brought food allergy to the forefront of many people's minds. A few tragic peanut-allergy related deaths have caused schools to begin re-examining their health and safety policies, as well as their ability to respond to student health emergencies. This strengthened concern for student health will certainly be more beneficial for all students.

However, the sensational nature of media attention towards food allergies should be complemented by a more detailed and informative treatment of food allergies. Food allergy is not nearly so common as many people think. In fact, it affects less than 1% of adults. Many people who suffer from an adverse reaction to certain foods are actually suffering from food intolerance, which affects up to 10% of the adult population.

Food allergy vs. food intolerance

Food allergy and food intolerance can cause very similar symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. What makes food allergy different from food intolerance is how it is caused. A food allergy is when a specific immune reaction occurs in the body as a response to a food. A certain food protein is misidentified as an offender by the immune system, and a reaction occurs as a means of fighting it. Of course, with a food allergy, the protein in question is harmless and the reaction itself is the problem. A food intolerance is a reaction that occurs for non-immunological reasons.

There are several reasons for food intolerance. A common one is some sort of metabolic problem. For example, someone who is deficient in lactase, the enzyme needed to digest milk, will get sick after they consume milk. This is not an allergic response to the proteins that make up milk, but rather an inability to digest milk. A similar condition, called celiac, is a stomach intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat.

Another frequent reason for food intolerance is a reaction to different chemicals found in certain foods. Caffeine, tyramine, histamine, tryptamine and other chemicals can make sensitive individuals sick. These chemicals are found in natural foods like tea or coffee, avocados, strawberries, shrimp, wine, and cheese, and in less natural foods like colas, food dyes, MSG, and other food additives.

Identifying food allergy and food intolerance

The symptoms exhibited by both food allergy and food intolerance may often be the same: itching, swelling, trouble breathing, or vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset. Food intolerance may also cause headaches, as well as psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping. For this reason, a food intolerance can take longer to identify you may not know that something you're eating is what's responsible for your mood swings. Foods frequently blamed for food allergies and food intolerance include nuts, eggs, milk, fish and shellfish, wheat, chocolate, and yeast.

Managing food allergy and food intolerance

The only way to treat food allergy is simple allergen avoidance. If there is a risk of anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction), you should carry an adrenaline auto-injector (like Epipen) everywhere.
Obviously, before you can avoid a certain food, it's necessary to know which food is causing your reaction. At times it is easy to tell, if the food is eaten less often and the reaction is immediate. At other times, however, it can be extremely difficult to tell which food is causing your symptoms. In this situation, physicians sometimes recommend an elimination diet, where certain foods are eliminated and then slowly reintroduced into the diet. Of course, you should seek the advice of a medical professional before making any radical changes to your diet.

Latex Allergy

Natural rubber latex is an extremely common substance, found in a variety of everyday products. Derived from a liquid found in tropical rubber trees, it is processed to make rubber products like toys, pacifier and baby bottle nipples, diapers and feminine pads, condoms, bandages, bulb syringes, erasers, and many medical and dental supplies. Thin, stretchy latex, like in condoms, balloons, and gloves, is especially allergenic, causing the most severe reactions. Latex gloves in particular are generally coated with powder, which tends to carry latex particles, dispersing them into the air or allowing them to settle on other parts of skin. Because of this increased exposure to latex, health care workers have the highest incidence of latex allergy, which affects up to 10% of health care professionals.

Most adults with latex allergy are health care professionals, or those who have been exposed to latex a great deal in one way or another. Rubber industry or pharmaceutical industry workers; individuals who have had many surgeries, particularly early in life; and children with spina bifida all run a higher risk of latex allergy.

People who are allergic to latex may experience cross reactivity with certain foods, such as banana, avocado, kiwi, tomatoes, melon, and chestnuts. These foods contain a protein which is similar in make up to the allergenic protein in latex. Someone who is developing an allergy to latex because of increased exposure may find they begin to experience symptoms after eating bananas and avocados as well, even if they have not previously been allergic to these foods. And, an allergy to these foods, as well as any other allergy, is predictive of a higher likelihood of a latex allergy.

Latex allergy can cause the following symptoms:

  • rash or contact dermatitis, bumps or sores on hand
  • upset stomach
  • itchy watery eyes
  • sneezing, coughing, runny nose
  • tight chest, trouble breathing
  • anaphylaxis

Here's how you can manage an allergy to latex:

  • Do your best to reduce your contact with latex by analyzing the products in your environment and removing any which contain latex. Most latex-containing products have non-latex substitutes, although they may be more expensive.
  • If you are a healthcare worker, or a patient, no one around you should wear latex gloves. Even if they do not touch you with the latex, the powder particles in the air may cause a reaction. If non-latex containing gloves are not available, they should at least wear powder-free latex gloves.
  • Wear or carry a medic alert bracelet or keychain which will warn doctors and healthcare workers of your allergy in the case of an emergency.
  • Carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you in the case of an anaphylactic reaction. Make sure that you know how to use it, and it's a good idea if your family and close friends know how to use it as well.

The information provided in this newsletter does not constitute medical advice and is for your general information only.  For information regarding specific questions, concerns, or conditions, please consult a licensed physician.


In This Issue:

1. Food allergy and food intolerance: Know the basics
2. What's New at achoo! New fast delivery for Tempur-Pedic
3. Featured Products: Tons of new products for you to try
4. Latex allergy: Avoidance and management
5. Allergy News: Recent headlines from Achoo! The Blog

Can't see the newsletter?  If you're having trouble viewing the newsletter in your email client, it's also available on the web.

What's New at achoo!

We're exited to announce that we've expanded our GA warehouse, where we are now stocking Tempur-Pedic mattresses. That means that unlike other dealers who drop-ship from the manufacturer, in a process which may take a couple weeks or more, we can ship your mattress to you on the day you order it. We are offering this service for free to the regional southeast. So, if you're in the market for a new mattress, call us today to learn about the great deals and special incentives we are offering on Tempur-Pedic mattresses. 

We've also brought several new product lines into our offering.  We're featuring a few of our favorites here. Breathe Right makes products for relief from snoring and sinus congestion due to colds and allergies.  SEBO manufactures vacuum cleaners which are known the world over for their excellent design and ease of use; they are also the leading manufacturer of upright commercial vacuum cleaners.  You can find more products from Breathe Right and SEBO on our website.   We are also offering two new pillows. These comfy and affordable pillows combine an allergen barrier covering with hypoallergenic fill, for a great two-in-one deal. Find out more...


Featured Products


Breathe Right Clear Nasal Strips

If you are having trouble with congestion and clogging in your sinuses, you may want to try one of these nasal strips.  They gently open your nasal passages, instantly making it easier for you to breathe, and offering sinus relief from cold or allergies. Put one on before bed, too, to get a better night's sleep without congestion and snoring. 

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Breathe Right Vapor Strips

The flat parallel band of plastic gently lifts the sides of the nose, while releasing a soothing mentholated vapor to help clear sinuses.  Breathe Right Vapor Strips provide relief from congestion and snoring, to help you breathe more easily and enjoy better rest, even when you're suffering from allergies or a cold.

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Sneeze Relief Allergen Barrier Pillow

This soft and plump hypoallergenic pillow is filled with 100% polyester fiberfill, and encased in a silky soft microfiber allergen barrier which eliminates the need for a dust mite encasing. Corded 3-sides for a classy finish.

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Cotton Clean Allergen Barrier Pillow

The cotton clean pillow is covered in a cotton allergen barrier fabric which eliminates the need for a dust mite encasing. Plus, it's treated with a stain-repellant to help it stay clean and white. A slightly firmer pillow than the Sneeze Relief, filled with 100% polyester hypoallergenic fiberfill.

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Sebo Duo


Sebo Duo

The SEBO Duo Brush Machine and Duo-P cleaning powder create a perfect team. Now you can deep clean your carpet and alleviate indoor allergies, while keeping your carpet dry - avoiding mold and mildew growth from damp carpets. The special Duo-P powder is made up of detergent-moistened granules which surround each separate carpet fiber, locking in and removing dirt. Your carpet is left refreshed and soft, and perfectly clean and dry.


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Sebo Automatic X

From $729

Sebo Automatic X

High performance, high quality, and usability-focused design makes the Sebo Automatic X our new favorite upright vacuum cleaner.  Designed for use in high volume commercial settings, the SEBO Automatic X can now make vacuuming easier on you.  Hospital-grade filtration, ergonomic and user friendly design, and technologically advanced features. Ideal for homes with all types of flooring.

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Headlines from The Blog

A few recent stories featured on Achoo! The Blog:

Best Time of Day to Take Allergy Medications
Find out how you can maximize the benefits of your medication, by taking advantage of your body's natural circadian rhythms.

"New Car Smell" Can Be Toxic
You may want to think twice before enjoying the just-of-the-lot smell of your new car.

Allergies Affect Daily Performance
It's not just you - statistics show that allergies and asthma cause many missed days of school and work each year, as well as millions of dollars in lost revenues.

Visit the blog for more daily tips and news!


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