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Illustrations by Julia Dufosse for Elemental

The rise in food allergies has been weighing on the health system for a couple decades now — with little understanding of where it came from and where it’s headed

During a grocery run long before the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Pistiner, MD, a second-year pediatric allergy fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston, was standing in a Boston Whole Foods aisle basking in the glow of how darn cute his son Scott was. His three-and-a-half-year-old had just tasted a chocolate bar with walnuts for the first time and said, “That’s delicious!” It was such a big word. A nice moment for father and son.

As an allergist in training, Pistiner knew he was doing everything right, exposing his totally healthy child to a walnut at the American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended age. But…

Recommendations from a pharmacist

A woman sneezes into a tissue and wipes her nose.
A woman sneezes into a tissue and wipes her nose.
Photo: Sellwell/Moment/Getty Images

I was looking out my window the other day — it was a beautiful spring morning and the wind was rustling the pine branches in the backyard. But as I looked closer, I noticed that wasn’t the only thing the wind was stirring up. Pollen, in the form of fine, yellow dust, was steadily blowing from the trees. By the next day, every surface in my yard was covered with a thick layer of the stuff.

Allergy season had arrived.

Every year, millions of Americans are affected by seasonal allergies. Also referred to as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is among…

If you’re suddenly sneezing your head off, you’re not alone. Here’s why, and what to do.

Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images

The 2020 allergy season will be “brutal,” AccuWeather meteorologists predict, and the misery is well underway across much of the country. Indeed, Clifford Bassett, MD, founder and medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, says we are in the midst of an “allergy explosion.” “I’m seeing more and more first-time sufferers of all ages,” he says. And according to Melanie Carver, vice president of Community Health at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), which tracks such trends: “Each pollen season has been progressively worse than previous seasons.”

The main culprit behind the sneezing is pollen…

What you need to know when the slightest sniffle can be more frightening than ever

A photo of a baby covering his face with tissues that he’s taken out of a tissue box.
A photo of a baby covering his face with tissues that he’s taken out of a tissue box.
Photo: Cavan Images/Getty Images

Every year about this time, cold and flu season starts to wind down just as seasonal allergies begin ramping up, starting in warmer regions and moving northward as spring unfolds. People with pollen allergies — about 8% of U.S. adults — go through a yearly ritual of being unsure what they’ve got until several boxes of empty tissues and red, itchy eyes bring on the aha moment.

But this year, Covid-19 adds another confounding mix of symptoms to wonder and worry about. Among the differences that can help a person figure out what they might have: Allergies tend to bring…

Palforzia, a new drug for peanut allergies, may open the door to a new era of food allergy treatments

Photo: Valeriia Sviridova / EyeEm/Getty Images

People with peanut allergies have reason to rejoice. Today, the FDA approved a first-of-its-kind drug for the treatment of peanut allergies. Experts say the drug’s approval could usher in a new era in allergy treatment — and not just for people who are allergic to peanuts.

The drug is called Palforzia. It’s an oral treatment composed of small, precisely measured and purified doses of peanut powder, which are intended to be mixed into food and eaten daily. The drug isn’t a cure, and it’s not intended to allow people with peanut allergies to eat peanuts at will. …

Some say direct-to-consumer diagnostic kits, currently available for everything from food sensitivity to Lyme disease, offer the convenience and low cost that a doctor’s visit lacks. Others argue they’re more harmful than helpful.

Credit: Vesna Jovanovic / EyeEm/Getty Images

In 2017, Julia Cheek broke a record on ABC’s Shark Tank: The show’s judges awarded her a $1 million deal for her company, EverlyWell, marking the largest investment a solo female entrepreneur had received in the show’s history.

EverlyWell, an at-home medical testing business, currently offers testing panels for conditions as varied as food sensitivity, menopause, and HPV. Cheek stresses that it’s a middleman service, not a diagnostic company: Customers collect their swabs and samples privately, then send them to a lab for analysis. …

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