Every year the American Contact Dermatitis Society elects a “contact allergen of the year”. These are contact allergens can be found in cosmetics, jewelry, household and work products. We often have no idea that these contact allergens may be a problem. Not everybody is affected by contact allergy, only people who are sensitized. That means that the same lotion, cream, nail polish or hair dye may be fine for one person, but may cause a nasty contact dermatitis rash in another. This could be a long term blistering, a dry skin or even a bumpy rash all over someone’s body.
Contact dermatitis can be treated with steroid cream, lotion or ointment, but can be a long-term problem if the source is not identified. Your allergist can help by applying a patch test to test for the most common causes of contact allergy. For further information about contact allergens you can also check the website of the American contact dermatitis society or also check out Derm net New Zealand.
Here is a list of the Winners in the past 10 years with a description of where they can be found:
||Cobalt —-found in in paint, glazes, Vitamin B12 supplements, orthopedic or dental implants
||Formaldehyde —-found in finish treatment for textiles (durable press), cosmetics, cleaning products
||Benzophenones —found in sunscreens, perfumes, soaps, lip balm, nail polish, hair spray and dyes
||Methylisothiazolinone —found in sunscreens, cosmetics, desinfectants, wipes, suncreens, tanners, make-up removers
||Acrylate — found in bone cement, coating for plastics, artificial nails, laquers, anti-freeze, medical spray adhesives
||Dimethyl fumarate — found in leather goods and packaging for transport of leather items
||Neomycin —- found in topical ointments, ear drops, eye preparations
||Mixed dialkyl thiourea —found in neoprene rubber gloves, wet suits, orthopaedic sleeves, swim goggles, waders for fishing, insoles of athletic shoes and keyboard wrist supports
||Nickel—found in earrings, watches, jeans stud, also in many foods
||Fragrance—- many cosmetic products
||p-Phenylenediamine—-hair, cosmetic, fabric dyes, temporary tattooes
Christmas season is a time of lights, ornaments, parties and of course, Christmas trees. Many people experience Christmas tree allergy symptoms like sneezing, congestion and itching when they put up the tree. But it’s not tree pollen which irritates allergy sufferers (Tree pollen season is mainly during spring – at least in the North East), but primarily mold. So bringing a live Christmas Tree into the house increases mold counts significantly. But even artificial Christmas Trees can induce allergy attacks in sensitized individuals by harboring dust mite and mold depending on storage conditions. So here are the suggestions on how to reduce allergen exposure while still enjoying a Christmas Tree:
- Mold allergic individuals may want to consider getting an artificial tree, which has to be stored in a dry place. If it is taken out of storage, dust should be cleaned off as well as possible.
- If you buy a real tree, keep it in the garage for a few days and shake it off well before bringing it into the house to reduce mold counts.
- Keep ornaments in plastic boxes in a dry place to reduce mold and dust mite growth.
With these few simple changes, Christmas may be much more tolerable for allergy sufferers.
For more information check out ACB news and information from the ACAAI website.
School is about to start again, and many students need their epinephrine autoinjector refilled. But patients have been telling me about their shock when they tried to pick up their prescription and were told the EpiPen price is between $300-$700, depending on their insurance. Even with a manufacturer coupon, this is still unaffordable for many patients.
Epinephrine, the drug dispensed from the EpiPen, is the one life-saving medication for many patients who suffer food allergies. Having an EpiPen or not can be a matter of life or death. Despite the high EpiPen price, epinephrine itself is a very cheap drug; it’s the device which costs so much. The manufacturers claim that ensuring that the pen reliably dispenses the same dose each time is what makes the autoinjector expensive.
Last year, one competing product (auviQ) was taken off the market for that particular reason–it did not reliably dispense the correct dose. It seems, however, that taking this product off the market reduced the competition, which may have started the price hike.
So what options do patient with food allergies or bee sting allergies have? Don’t get the injector refilled, and risk being without medication in case of anaphylaxis? Or get a generic autoinjector? That may save them some money–not much–and they have to learn a new technique, since every device has different instructions.
After a lot of protest about the EpiPen price, Mylan (the manufacturer of the EpiPen) just agreed to increase the manufacturer coupon from $100 to $300. However, the current savings card cannot be used by those who are uninsured or who use government-funded insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid.
We need to reach out to our state representatives to help those who need this life-saving treatment.
If you are a patient diagnosed with food allergies but not sure if you are truly allergic, this may be your time to finally get that food challenge done at the allergists office to see if you are truly allergic and need the EpiPen.
Finally, Narberth Allergy and Asthma is moving to a larger location! Starting July 1, we’ll be seeing patients in our new location on 822 Montgomery Ave, Suite 318. This locxation offers easier access, parking and bigger facility to accommodate our practice growth. Please bear with us while we make this transition to “hopefully” our final destination.
Everything but the location stays the same. You’ll have the same physicians, same care and same access to your medical records as before. It’ll just be a bit better.
Narberth Allergy sponsored two teams in Main Line Girls Basketball Association again. Dr. Corinna Bowser also coached 1st/2nd and 6th grade. “The goal is to teach these girls the fun of exercising and playing basketball. Of course everybody wants to win, but being a member of a team and working together is what they should learn” says Dr. Bowser.