FAN West Coast Conference - Peanut Allergy Information

FAN West Coast Conference

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I attended the FAN conference at the Marriott Hotel in Newport Beach on Saturday, September 18th. I knew most of the medical information but I thought I'd jot down some of bits of info which I didn't know.

Bob Zeiger, M.D.

Inhalent reactions can be especially irritated by roasting peanuts.

Lactating mothers who eat peanut products have more of a chance of passing the peanut protein to their child via unwashed hands than through the breastmilk. (Not sure I completely agree with this fact but it is worth reporting.)

Acidophilus aids the immune system and can sometimes divert a reaction. (This point I'm not too clear on -- perhaps others could provide more information)

Adults who develop food allergies for the first time in their lives are more likely to develop allergies to fruits and vegetables.

If one is allergic to cow's milk, usually one is not allergic to soy. However, allergic individuals to cow's milk are almost always allergic to goat's milk.

It is relatively safe to give egg allergic individuals the influenza vaccine.

Walnuts cause the most common tree nut reactions. It is easier to avoid tree nuts than it is to avoid peanuts.

Key difference between food allergy and food intolerance is food allergy will always repeat upon ingestion.

50% of allergic individuals have accidental reactions, partially caused by not reading labels. Most reactions occur outside the home.

Children with a family history of allergies should not get egg products until 12-18 months. Delay introducing peanut, fish, nuts, shellfish until at least 3 years. First introduce fruits and vegetables (non-soy), then introduce meats, then introduce grains.

Under 20 pounds, don't use the Epi-Pen, Jr. -- use injection measured out. Between 45 pounds and 60 pounds use either the Epi-Pen or the Epi-Pen Jr. Okay to use the regular Epi-Pen for children over 45 pounds. (Allergists disagree on this point so please do check with your allergist before taking this advice as truth).

To discard the Epi-Pen: put a penny in the bottom of the plastic container with the needle pointing down toward the penny. Take it with you to the ER and have the hospital staff dispose of it for you.

Kevin Farnum, General Mills

When calling manufacturers, always have the offending material in hand so that you can read manufacturing codes and expiry dates off to the customer representative. Don't expect a list of all the ingredients in a processed product. Be as specific as you can about your request.

General Mills is the only company to bold the top eight allergens on their packaging.

Bruce Haynes, M.D.

95% of calls handling 911 go to a police agency. The call is then transferred to a medical dispatch area, most likely fire departments.

Code Three is the response for peanut anaphylaxis.

In California and other areas with an enhanced 911 system (address shows up from where you are calling), it is always best to use a hard-wired phone over a cellular one.

EMT has 100 hours of training. Paramedics have 1,000 hours of training. Police officers have 21 hours of training.

Epi-Pen Jr. can cause irritability, vomiting, or headaches.

Anne Munoz-Furlong, FAN

A great talk on "Teaching A Child to Take Responsibility for their Food Allergy". If you order nothing else from FAN, I'd suggest you order this pamphlet. (It would be unfair to try and summarize her comments so I'm just including some asides to her lecture).

Go through magazines and have your child cut out pictures of foods which may contain the offending allergens. Paste them together in a collage.

Teach your child it is better to be impolite than to accept food when in doubt.

Focus on gratitude.


[This message has been edited by Noreen (edited October 01, 1999).]

On Sep 29, 1999

Thank you for that update. I wanted to go the conference and unfortunately wasn't able to. Could you tell us what Dr. Sampson said about the advances they are making on peanut desensitation or a possible vaccine? Or just in general what he had to say? His was the one lecture that I really wanted to hear. Thanks again.

On Sep 30, 1999


Thank you for taking the time to post your informative notes from the FAN conference.

Stay safe.

On Sep 30, 1999

Hi Lori:

The progress on the research fronts looks promising. Dr. Bob Zeiger was the West Coast speaker for the FAN conference. Dr. Sampson is the speaker for the East Coast conferences.

Essentially, three different research projects are underway. The first study hopes to counter the effects of anaphylaxis by vaccinating a peanut-allergic person with a special anti-body to neutralize the allergic anti-body (the vaccine is given every six weeks). The second study attempts to re-educate the immune mechanism itself (a more permanent cure). Another study is working with the DNA responsible for the production of peanut allergies in hopes of reversing the effects with a DNA vaccination.

Adult trials are currently underway for the first study. We may indeed have a temporary vaccine which prevents anaphylaxis within one year.


[This message has been edited by Noreen (edited October 01, 1999).]

On Oct 1, 1999

Thank you...I read your reply and got goose bumps. That would be amazing. My son is 8 and although the allergy is so overwhelming, I find myself worrying more about when he grows up and is in high school or college. It sounds like by then I might have to be so completely worried. Where does the west coast doctor practice out of, do you know? I have never heard of his name. It seems that it is always Dr. Sampson that is associated with peanut studies.

On Oct 1, 1999

Dr. Zeiger is Chief of Allergy, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and also is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. It is rare to find a pediatric allergist who is both an MD and PhD and Dr. Zeiger is both. My son's allergist, Dr. Robert Bocien, is also a MD and PhD as well. (If FAN ever has their West Coast conference in Northern California, they'd do well by getting Dr. Bocien as a speaker.)


On Oct 1, 1999


Wow a possible temp. vaccine in a year! That is great. Would that cover all food allergies that can cause anaphylaxis or just peanuts?

[This message has been edited by LinneCake (edited October 01, 1999).]

On Oct 1, 1999

At this point, the vaccine is just for peanut allergies. Go to the Research section on the Boards and read the thread on "Tanox Announces Start of Anti-IgE Clinical Trial" for more information.

The Tanox study is piggy-backing on a Genetech study which used the anti-IgE antibody E25 for reversing hayfever and allergic asthma symptoms. Once the mechanism is more clearly understood on how to neutralize the allergic antibody, I would guess other vaccines might be created for shellfish and tree nuts. Chances are (and this is my somewhat uniformed guess here) researchers may not choose to fund a vaccine for allergies which are outgrown such as milk and eggs; and may focus on the other food allergies which are life-long.


[This message has been edited by Noreen (edited October 01, 1999).]

On Oct 1, 1999

Milk and egg allergies aren't always outgrown.

On Oct 2, 1999

True. Hen eggs are the most common allergen for children under one, followed by peanut and milk. However, peanut allergies overtake egg allergies by age 3.

One would hope the researchers would develop vaccines for all life-threatening allergies, no matter how rare.


On Oct 6, 1999

Noreen, this anti-IgE antibody is NON-SPECIFIC and will bind to and hopefully neutralize IgE antibodies to peanuts, grass, shellfish etc. The patients enrolled in this study will be peanut-allergic. In order to test its effectiveness on patients allergic to other foods, those particular patients must be enrolled in their own separate studies. the mechanism of action will be the same.