Allergies

How can I know if my penicillin allergy is real?

People who are allergic to penicillin are often given less effective medications that can make them more susceptible to infections, but many people who believe they are allergic to penicillin are not. New techniques are allowing medical providers to assess whether or not a person has a true penicillin allergy.

Epinephrine is the only effective treatment for anaphylaxis

Many people have experienced mild allergic reactions to a food, medication, or other allergen, but a severe reaction can be harmful or even fatal. Anaphylaxis must be treated with epinephrine as quickly as possible, followed by a visit to a hospital emergency room for observation.

Can celiac disease affect life expectancy?

Previously thought to affect mainly children, celiac disease is now understood to be a systemic disorder that can develop at any age. A recent study found a small but significant risk of increased mortality in those with CD, but managing the condition through proper diet and medical care can mitigate the risk.

Think your baby is allergic to cow’s milk?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Babies who show certain digestive symptoms may be incorrectly diagnosed with cow’s milk allergy and put on special diets, although this allergy is uncommon.

Allergies? Common cold? Flu? Or COVID-19?

Anyone who experiences a symptom of illness will be concerned that it might be COVID-19, but at this time of year many people have allergy symptoms, and it’s still possible to catch a cold, although flu season is ending. Here are key symptoms of seasonal allergy, cold, flu, and COVID-19 to help you take action as needed.

Peanut allergy: A new medicine for children may offer protection

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

In children with food allergies, peanut allergy is the one most likely to cause a severe reaction. A newly approved medication made from peanut flour treats peanut allergy by giving a gradually increasing dosage over several months.

Food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity: What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Many people have experienced unpleasant symptoms related to food, but such a reaction does not necessarily mean that you have a food allergy. The symptoms could indicate a food intolerance, food sensitivity, or possibly celiac disease.

Eosinophilic esophagitis: A new food-related allergic condition on the rise?

John Garber, MD

Contributor

Eosinophilic esophagitis is an allergic inflammation of the esophagus that most typically develops as an allergic response to certain foods. The exact cause is unclear, but if left untreated it can lead to permanent scarring or narrowing of the esophagus.

New medication advances treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps

The FDA has approved a new medication for the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, dupilumab, which is given by injection biweekly.

Save the trees, prevent the sneeze

If it seems like your seasonal allergies are worse than they used to be, you aren’t imagining it, and you aren’t alone. Climate change has caused a longer pollen season, and plants are producing more pollen that is more potent.