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What is Histamine?

Histamine is the nemesis of people with allergies and the allergists that care for them. Think of any allergic symptom and it is probably caused by histamine.  Histamine in the nose causes itching, sneezing, dripping, and congestion.  In the gastrointestinal system, it causes cramping pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.  In the skin, it causes itching, flushing, […]

Sesame Seed Allergy

Sesame seed is a common ingredient in our diet. It is also one of the most common causes of serious allergic reactions, particularly in children. When thinking of sesame seed one of the first images to come to mind are the tiny seeds added to bread, buns, and crackers. An estimated 75% of Mexico’s sesame […]

Diagnosing Food Allergy: The Food Challenge

Fourteen year old Hanna was at the mall with friends when she discovered she was allergic to macadamia nut.  This fact became clear when she nearly died. She had only taken a few bites of the ice cream with macadamia nut from Cold Stone Creamery.  She had eaten a variety of nuts on numerous occasions […]

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)

Kentucky bluegrass is the most common turfgrass in the United States. Its use as a turf grass in Arizona is limited to the cooler parts of the state, typically at elevations about 5000 ft, although it may be used in some aggressively maintained golf courses at lower elevation. Annual bluegrass is a weedy variety that invades […]

Sulfa Antibiotic Allergy: Common and Frequently Misunderstood

Sulfa drugs were the first antibiotics Sulfa drugs were the first chemicals available to treat bacterial infections in humans.  The proper designation for this class of drugs is sulfonamide but they became knows as “sulfa” antibiotics with their widespread use as powders and pills during WW ll.  Although sulfa antibiotics saved lives, their use decreased significantly after the introduction […]

A New (?) Treatment for Peanut Allergy

New Product to Treat Peanut Allergy The Allergenic Products Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently voted to recommend approval of a new treatment for peanut allergy to the FDA.  The treatment was previously referred to as AR101 but it is expected to go by the brand name Palforzia,  If as expected,  the […]

There is No Such Thing as an Allergy Test

I have been teaching medical students in my office for the past several weeks. These first year University of Arizona students have recently completed a block of studies on the immune system and are spending time in an allergy clinic to learn how memorizing a million obscure names and pathways  applies to the real world of […]

What is Blooming in Phoenix?

If you have been sneezing and your eyes and nose stinging and watering you might be asking: “My allergies are driving me crazy, what in the world is blooming this time of year?” And like many, to find out you might google it, put in your zip code and come up with something like this from Pollen.com.   […]