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The beginning of summer kicks off the camping and hiking season, anxiously awaited by those who have endured a long cold winter. This year will likely prove to be one of the busier camping seasons as many Americans bypass more expensive vacations that involve pricey airline tickets or gas guzzling road trips. Emergency department staff will probably see a greater number of people with contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. Many people have never seen poison ivy , or perhaps wouldn't recognize it if they saw it. Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac belong to the plant genus Toxicodendron (previously referred to as Rhus ). Toxicodendron means "poisonous tree." These plants have an oil-based substance in the resin on their leaves and in their stems and branches called urushiol that causes a delayed skin reaction in about 50% of people that contact it. Urushiol may cause severe contact dermatitis in people that have previousl...
We get a lot of questions on this site about what people assume are allergic reactions to something. But the truth is, some of the symptoms described don't sound at all like allergic reactions. It seems there is a lot of confusion about what an allergic reaction truly is, so today's post will help shed some light on this issue.
What Is an Allergic Reaction?
An allergic reaction is a series of events in your body that occurs in response to an "invasion" by a foreign substance wrongly interpreted as a threat to your health. It is your body's attempt to protect itself.
This reaction begins in your immune system, which is designed to protect you from truly harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins. But in the case of allergies, the immune system overreacts. This is called being hypersensitive. An antibody called IgE is a big factor in the immune response associated with allergy. In fact, a blood test can measure the level of IgE in your body and tell a doctor t...
After my son was diagnosed with food allergies, our traveling days came to an abrupt halt. To get back in the swing of things, we started slowly getting our feet wet by staying at the homes of close relatives . Gradually, we ventured out to hotels and condos. Today, we could probably camp out overnight with the contents of my purse! Traveling with food allergies does take more preparation but it’s worth it! If you’re feeling timid about taking food allergies on the road, here are a few tips to nudge you on your way. Planes, Trains and Automobiles A lot of allergy moms shy away from plane travel but if you fly first thing in the morning, and carry on your child’s food and drink, it can be quicker and easier than driving. Check out the airline’s policy on peanut or other allergens and always make your reservation over the phone. You can explain your child’s allergies in detail. Bring your own meals, snack...
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