South Side physician receives lifetime achievement award

South Side Physician Receives Lifetime Achievement Award 

Prestigious award honors Dr. Michael Foggs for contributions to the field of allergy and immunology medicine 

By Cassie Richardson, Patch Poster | Dec 11, 2017 11:21 am ET | Updated Dec 11, 2017 11:22 am ET

Dr. Michael Foggs, Chief of Allergy and Immunology for Advocate Medical Group (AMG), recently was honored with a prestigious Living Legend lifetime achievement award from the National Medical Association (NMA), the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians in the U.S.

The award is given to one NMA member each year, honoring their extraordinary contributions to the medical field and community leadership. Recipients exemplify leadership, service, and dedication to eradicating health disparities across the country.

"This is fitting recognition for Dr. Foggs' accomplishments and contributions to allergy and immunology medicine, as well as his dedication to advancing his field," says Vincent Bufalino, MD, president, Advocate Medical Group. "He is very deserving, and we are very proud to count Dr. Foggs as a member of our medical group."

Dr. Foggs, a Chicago resident practicing on Chicago's south side, joins Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., cardiothoracic surgeon and inventor of the implantable cardiac defibrillator and Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon and current U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, as NMA Living Legend recipients.

Recognized as one of the country's leading allergists and immunologists, Dr. Foggs helped develop the asthma guidelines for the National Institutes of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and co-authored an NIH textbook on the subject. He has also been published in numerous peer-reviewed publications, and lead plenary lectures across the world.

Dr. Foggs served for 15 years on the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee, and was the recipient of the FDA Distinguished Service Award. He is the past-president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the American Association of Certified Allergists & Immunologists.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in biology and biochemistry from Yale University, Dr. Foggs earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency at Northwestern University Medical Center, as well as fellowship in allergy and immunology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

In his spare time, Dr. Foggs is a cartoonist, poetry writer, novelist, and entrepreneur.

Healthy Pets: Favorite household products you should pitch in the trash today

Story at-a-glance 

  • Unfortunately, these products pollute the air inside your home with chemicals that are dangerous for your pets
  • Studies have found harmful chemicals in air fresheners (all types), scented candles and incense
  • Most of the effects of these products aren’t immediately obvious and may not even manifest as respiratory issues
  • Safe, natural alternatives that freshen the air in your home include pet-safe indoor plants, an air purifier and diffusing diluted pet-safe essential oils

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

A whopping 75 percent of U.S. households these days use a variety of products to scent the air in their homes, including air freshener sprays, upholstery sprays, plug-ins, gels, candles and incense. Some people who use these products are trying to mask odors, while others just want to walk into a home that smells like a beautiful meadow or a pine forest after a rain shower. 

TV commercials and other advertising for air-scenting products are everywhere, sending a not-so-subliminal message that most homes stink, and fixing the problem with a vanilla-scented candle or air freshener is a harmless solution to an embarrassing problem.

Why I Never Recommend Chemical Air-Scenting Products

Unfortunately, as appealing as all of these scented products are, they also produce dangerous indoor pollutants that dramatically affect our pets. Over the past decade, scientific research has shown that many household air fresheners contain chemicals that may be harmful. 

I don't recommend using these types of products, especially if you have any type of pet in your home. Birds and cats in particular are highly sensitive to airborne toxins, but if you have any animals in the home at all, I recommend you not use these products. Studies show that children can have as much as 30 times greater exposure to indoor pollutants than adults due to their smaller size and greater activity level. Now, consider these facts: 

  • Most pets are even smaller than kids
  • They tend to spend a lot of time near the floor where all indoor air pollutants eventually wind up
  • They groom themselves and each other, which means they're ingesting the pollutant particles that have accumulated on their fur and in the environment
  • Many pets spend up to 100 percent of their time indoors, and are living with very high levels of airborne toxins 

These factors combine to put pets at the highest risk of anyone in the household for health conditions related to indoor air pollution. Even if neither you nor your pets are having symptoms, it's still possible the air fresheners in your home are harming your health. Most of the effects of these products aren't immediately obvious and may not even manifest as respiratory issues. Some people say, "If I was having a problem, my pets or I would have watery eyes. We'd be coughing or wheezing." But that's not always the case. 

Harmful Chemicals Found in Air Fresheners

Air fresheners in both aerosol sprays and plug-ins contain a number of toxic chemicals that are dangerous to your pet's health and yours, including:

• Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, such as acetone, ethanol, pinene and acetate, some of which are inherently toxic. When these substances react with the ozone in the air, they generate a range of secondary pollutants such as formaldehyde and ultrafine particles. Ultrafine particles have been linked to heart and lung disease and respiratory problems.

In fact, a 2011 news report released by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) linked the VOCs in air fresheners with a 34 percent increase in health problems in people with asthma.1

• Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that has been definitively linked to cancers of the nose and throat. It is also known to cause ongoing irritation of the throat and airways, potentially leading to secondary infection, nosebleeds, asthma and other respiratory ailments.

• Naphthalene has been shown to cause inflammation, but as well as tissue damage and cancer in the lungs of rodents.

• Phthalates are linked to a disruption in hormone levels, poor semen quality, birth defects and reproductive harm.

• 1,4-Dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB) has been linked to compromised lung function and liver cancer in mice.

Harmful Substances in Scented Candles and Incense

A 2001 EPA study concluded that candles containing fragrance produce more soot. It's possible organic compounds in poor-quality candle wax may increase cancer risk.2 A 2009 study warns that the chemicals emitted into the air by burning candles can have a harmful effect on human health.3 Paraffin candles produce potentially toxic chemicals, including alkanes, alkenes and toluene.

Like air fresheners, scented candles can also contain dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde and VOCs. Cheaply made candles can contain toxic levels of heavy metals in the wicks. When one of these candles burns, the lead particles are released into the air. Frequent use of these candles could contribute to the development of health conditions such as asthma, allergies and cancer.

Research shows that burning incense can be dangerous to human health, and a 2015 study even suggested it's much worse that inhaling cigarette smoke.4 Incense smoke is mutagenic, meaning it can cause mutations in DNA that can lead to cancer. In the 2015 study, incense was found to be more toxic to cells and DNA than cigarette smoke. Of the 65 compounds identified in incense smoke, two were determined to be highly toxic. 

Natural Alternatives to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

One of the best ways to freshen up the air in your home is to simply open the windows when weather allows. Also consider adding some pet-safe indoor plants. Common houseplants can help clean the air by using their natural ability to absorb toxins through their leaves and roots and turn them into nutrients. I also strongly recommend investing in an indoor air purifier, which can provide long-term benefits to both you and your pets.

To add a natural scent to your home, you can simmer some mint tea or cinnamon in water in a saucepan on the stove, or grind up a fresh orange. Or you can do what I do — I dilute and diffuse pet-safe essential oils. They smell wonderful and are nontoxic. It's a nice all-natural way to keep your home smelling fresh and clean while eliminating toxic products from your life. New hope for kids with multiple food allergies


December 12, 2017

TUESDAY, Dec. 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A treatment for kids with more than one dangerous food allergy shows promise in early trials, researchers say.

Almost one-third of people with a food allergy have reactions to more than one type of food. This can increase the risk of accidental exposure and life-threatening anaphylaxis, according to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine.

No treatment exists for multiple food allergies. Usually, patients are told to avoid the food triggers, but this requires constant attention to their diet. 

"Patients find it very hard to live with multiple food allergies," said study senior author Dr. Sharon Chinthrajah. "It puts a huge social and economic burden on families." 

In this new study, scientists combined the asthma drug omalizumab (Xolair) with immunotherapy for 48 children with more than one food allergy.

Immunotherapy exposes patients to tiny amounts of the foods that cause their allergic reactions. Gradually, the allergen dose is increased until the patient can tolerate normal amounts of the food.

Taking omalizumab appeared to speed up the desensitization process without sacrificing safety, the researchers said.

"This could be a very promising way to decrease the burden of living with food allergies," said Chinthrajah, director of clinical translational research at Stanford's Center for Allergy and Asthma Research.

Although the results are preliminary, they suggest that kids with multiple food allergies "might one day be safely desensitized to their trigger foods using this treatment combination," she said. Still, further research is needed to confirm the findings before the treatment becomes available.

The study participants were randomly assigned to receive the combined allergy treatment or a placebo. They were 4 to 15 years old and were allergic to a variety of foods, including almonds, cashews, eggs, hazelnuts, milk, peanuts, sesame, soy, walnuts and wheat.

The children received omalizumab or a placebo for eight weeks before starting immunotherapy and for eight weeks during combination treatment with immunotherapy for two to five trigger foods. The participants then continued immunotherapy without the drug for an additional 20 weeks. 

The researchers found that 83 percent of the treatment group could tolerate a small dose of two food allergens versus 33 percent who took the placebo. 

The study showed significant improvements in safety and effectiveness in multi-allergic patients treated with omalizumab and food immunotherapy, said study co-author Dr. Kari Nadeau.

"Omalizumab can help change the course of therapy by making it safer and faster," said Nadeau, a professor of medicine and of pediatrics. 

The children who received the double treatment were desensitized to their food allergies faster than those taking the placebo and had fewer digestive and breathing issues, according to the researchers. 

"Patients and families say they're so grateful. They can broaden their food variety and participate in more social activities without fear of a bad allergic reaction," Chinthrajah said.

"Kids say things like, 'I no longer sit at the allergen-free table at lunch; I can sit with my usual friends,' " Chinthrajah added. "These tiny things that others take for granted can open their social world." 

The study was published online Dec. 11 in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.


The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides more on food allergies.

Los Angeles Times: 5 tips to keep sniffles and sneezes out of your holiday plans

With the holidays upon us, there’s a lot to look forward to: seeing old friends, eating too much, wearing ugly sweaters; the list goes on. Likewise, there are a lot of things that might make you sigh: awkward questions from your aunts, arguing about politics and of course, how you’re going to work off all that extra weight in the new year.

One question millions of Americans should keep in mind this holiday season is how to best handle their asthma and allergies. While everyone else is singing along to carols and letting their food digest, others are tearing up, coughing and going into a sneezing fit.

“People don’t realize how many hidden triggers are associated with the holidays and winter season,” said allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Those who suffer from allergies and asthma assume things will ease up once the cold weather hits, but there are other factors that can cause your allergies and asthma to flare. In fact, two-thirds of allergy sufferers have year-round triggers and symptoms.”

To help make the holidays as enjoyable as possible, here are five tips to manage your allergies this season.

An excuse to stay out of the hugging circle. There are a lot of hugs and kisses during the holidays, which can make it easy for germs and viruses to spread. Catching a cold or coming down with the flu is pretty awful, but because those illnesses make asthma and allergy symptoms even worse, those with allergies must take extra precautions. One more reason to avoid the mistletoe!

Watch out for that ... tree! For many, picking out a Christmas tree is a holiday tradition. For others, a tree can be pure misery. Mold on the tree and terpene found in the sap can trigger allergies you thought you had under control. A much better option is to use an artificial tree — just be sure to dust it off! Dust allergies can be a problem year-round.

Keep an eye on holiday treats. Holidays are about food, and people usually share the food they make. As a result, you need to be extra careful about food allergies. If you or your kids have food allergies, let your host know what ingredients should be avoided. If you are hosting, prepare food you know everyone in your clan can eat.

Your nose knows to sniff out those "pleasant" scents. People love to add those little touches to create a cozy holiday atmosphere in their homes. Unfortunately, scented candles, wood-burning fireplaces, aerosols and potpourri can trigger allergies and asthma. There are plenty of other nice touches you can add, but this year, forgo the scents!

Leave the house prepared. Whether it’s someone’s lovable dog, a co-worker wearing too much perfume or a moldy Christmas tree, many triggers exist out there. Before you leave the house, take your medications, and if your allergy and asthma symptoms worsen during the season, be sure to schedule an appointment with your allergist.

If you need help with allergies, visit to find a board-certified allergist in your area. ACAAI member-allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer allergy shots (immunotherapy), and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes.


AARP: Can’t sleep? These potted plants in your bedroom may help

by Claire R. McIntosh, AARP,

November 16, 2017

Houseplants help remove toxins, impart a feeling of calm and promote drowsiness when used in the bedroom.

Insomnia? Allergies? Asthma? Stress? Let’s clear the air, shall we? We’ve seen the science, so here’s the secret: You’ll rest easier with potted plants in your bedroom. There are studies by NASA, which has extensively researched how plants remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and benzene) from a space station.

There’s research done by a Japanese company to design gardens that clean the air in hospitals. And then there’s that nerdy kid who sealed cat poop into one container with plants, and moldy bread into another container with plants.

He found that, relative to control containers that had the yucky stuff but not the plants, airborne contaminants were greatly reduced hours later. We wouldn’t bother mention his study but his coauthor was a nurse practitioner who worked in dad’s allergy clinic, and the physician later shared the results with colleagues at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Not only do certain houseplants help remove toxins, impart a feeling of calm and promote drowsiness, they’re also a Pinterest-pretty way to boost your boudoir style! Don’t you just love how the hanging plants, macramé and rattan planters and glass terrariums we all had in our first apartments are currently trending on Etsy? Cultivate these horticultural hacks and you can rest easy.


Researchers in Germany tested the scent of jasmine on lab mice and watched them curl up in a corner and chill. The plant affects the same key neurotransmitter that makes us mellow out after a dose of valium — and was found to be just as potent as psychotropic drugs in a clinical setting. Jasmine fragrance produces the molecular mechanism also triggered by barbituates to soothe, ease anxiety and promote sleep. Even better, let the fragrance of a potted jasmine waft through your bedroom tonight and you may avoid tomorrow’s afternoon slump.


You’ve heard of swallowing this as a supplement or tea for restful sleep. Well, some Japanese neuroscientists learned that sniffing it helps too. While valerian is generally cultivated outside, follow these tips for green-thumbing it indoors.


Remember the kid, the moldy bread and the cat poop? Mold and pet feces are common household allergens, and English ivy is what cleared the air. Who can sleep when you’re sneezin’ and wheezin’? NASA scientists give it the nod, too. So if you want to nod off, let some English ivy trail down your nightstand.


Five sleep researchers in Osaka. Twenty-one tossing and turning men. Six weeks. One compound derived from gardenias. Countless Zzzzzzzs. Zero side effects. You know what we love? This bedside-table perfect bonsai version from Harry and David.


Of course, you knew this, because your mother kept lavender sachets in the drawer with her nightgowns. You want to sleep like a baby? Think lavender bouquet by the bed, essential oil on your pillow or added to your bedtime bath. Moms who bathed their babies in lavender smiled more, were less stressed and touched their babies more in the bath. The babies cried less, made more eye contact and had longer periods of deep sleep. Cortisol levels dropped in both moms and infants. Yes, please!


It vacuums up those VOCs while you catch your Zzzzs, say NASA scientists.


Remember back in the '80s when yuppie watering holes were called "fern bars" because of this ubiquitous decoration? Turns out, this plant drinks up formaldehyde from the air. Here’s to your health.


No green thumb? If you can’t keep this easy-care plant alive, you might as well give up and buy an air purifier.


Inquisitr: Boy with dairy allergies dies after school employee allegedly feeds him grilled cheese

NOVEMBER 9, 2017 



A preschool in New York City is under investigation after a 3-year-old boy died after he reportedly had an allergic reaction to a grilled cheese sandwich he was served for lunch. ABC reports that an employee at the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Servicein Harlem served the toddler the sandwich last week, allegedly ignoring school records that documented that the toddler was severely allergic to dairy products.

The report states that the New York City Fire Department has confirmed 911 was not called when the toddler, named Elijah, had a severe allergic reaction to the sandwich. Instead, one of the employees is said to have called the boy’s mother and she transported him to the hospital after she arrived at the preschool.

According to a statement on the GoFundMe account set up to help Elijah’s family, the little boy “went into anaphylactic shock” after he was served the sandwich. After his mother, Dina, arrived at the school, the boy’s mother transported him to the Pediatric ER at Harlem Hospital where he later died.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, between 2 and 3 percent of children ages 3 and under are allergic to milk and other dairy products. Symptoms range from hives, upset stomach, and/or vomiting to anaphylaxis, a condition that impairs breathing and can cause the body to go into shock.

To date, Elijah’s GoFundMe has collected close to $30,000. In addition to using the money for a funeral and other expenses, some of the donated money will be used to pay for a second autopsy to help the boy’s parents determine who is ultimately responsible for his death. According to PBS, the fee for an independent autopsy can cost between $3,000 and $5,000, with additional fees often charged for transporting the body to an autopsy facility.

“At this moment, it is unclear where responsibility for Elijah’s death will fall between the pre-k and the hospital itself,” a statement on the GoFundMe page reads. “We want to find out exactly what caused Elijah’s death and that will mean sorting out exactly where, if any, breakdowns may have occurred at either the school or the hospital. Having a third party medical examination will ensure our ability to get a clear picture. We just want justice for Elijah.”

Toddler with dairy allergies dies after eating grilled cheese [Image by chokkicx/iStock]

A spokesman for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tells ABC News that the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Service, where the incident took place, is currently closed as they “aggressively investigate” the boy’s death.

Elijah leaves behind his parents, Thomas and Dina, and his 5-year-old brother, Sebastian.

The Stir by CafeMom: Mom gets real about why she only bathes her baby twice a week


LAUREN LEVYThursday at 5:21 PM

Every family's bedtime routine is different, and there are countless opinions on when, how, and where you should put your baby to bed. But despite these varying schools of thought, many have a few things in common: food, bath, book, and lights out. However, one mom has a strict yet "unconventional" evening ritual with her baby girl. Instead of being afraid of what judgmental commenters might think about her parenting, she got real about what she actually does -- or doesn't do -- each night before her infant goes to bed.

British reality star Amy Childs posted a video on her Instagram account sharing details about her 7-month-old baby girl's bedtime process, and although she discussed what her favorite products are, it's what she doesn't do with Polly that caught many parents' attention: She doesn't bathe Polly daily. Amy explained that although she loves bath time with her baby girl, she's worried that it will cause her to develop eczema, so she only suds her up twice a week.

"So I only bathe Polly twice a week because the midwife he said to me if you keep bathing them every day, they get eczema. I suffer from bad eczema, I don't want obviously Polly to have that," she said. "Like I love getting her out of the bath and smothering her with loads of cream. I'm strict with routines, she has her food, she has her bath, she has a little bit of bottle, and then she goes to sleep so it's a good routine for her."

More from CafeMom: Why Everyone Needs to See This Photo of a Girl With Disabilities on the Bathroom Floor

Instagram/ amychilds1990

Since sharing that she puts Polly down for the night on most days without bathing her first, Amy has received mixed responses from those who either appreciate or are confused by her honesty.

Although there has been mixed advice floating around in regards to whether bath time actually helps or harms eczema in babies, researchers have found that it's not the time or frequency that a baby spends in the water -- it's what the parents do after that has a major impact on the dry and itchy skin. This condition is most common in babies, and despite common belief that bathing too frequently will remove important oils, irritate the skin, or dry it out further, researchers have found that if parents "soak and smear" daily, it will actually help keep the child's skin hydrated.

"The smear part is really the most important element, because unless moisturizer is applied immediately, then the skin is likely to dry out even more," Dr. Neal Jain, an allergist-immunologist from Arizona, wrote in a paper published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. "The weight of the evidence in the literature we reviewed and our experience in caring for these patients suggests daily bathing with 'soak and smear' is more effective for soothing dry skin from eczema."

According to the National Eczema Association, bathing daily is actually incredibly important to help ease symptoms when irritation is present. "The most effective way to treat dry skin is to give it the moisture it needs. Proper bathing and moisturizing are important for this reason -- especially if you have eczema," the organization states on its website. "The best way to replace moisture in the skin is to soak in a bath or take a shower and then moisturize immediately afterward."

Omaha World Herald: 8 ways to help your child if he or she is allergic to the family pet

By Dr. Jill Hanson / Boys Town

Nov 11, 2017

Furry friends are often an important part of family life. After all, more than 70 percent of households have at least one pet, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

But what’s to be done when Fido or Whiskers causes sneezing or coughing for your little one?

Allergy symptoms from pets are the same as symptoms caused by other allergen triggers. Your child may experience sneezing, coughing, chest tightness or wheezing, runny/stuffy nose, facial pain (from congestion), watery, red, itchy eyes and skin rash or hives.

Before blaming your pet, make sure there aren’t any other possible triggers, such as mold, pollen or dust mite allergy. Schedule an appointment with an allergist to have allergy testing and make sure the pet is the problem. If your child is allergic to your pet, you may have to consider getting rid of the pet. But there are some other options to reduce the amount of allergen in the home.

The most effective option is to remove the pet from the home. However, saying good-bye to a fur-baby is simply not an option for many families. Therefore, strategies to reduce the amount of pet allergen in the home are key to keeping the paws in the picture.

If possible, transition your pet to live outdoors full-time. Make sure he or she has warm shelter, food and water available outside. Consider fencing in your yard if it isn’t already, and if you’re worried about nighttime dangers, explore the idea of keeping Garfield outside during the day and inside one room or the garage at night.

If you don’t feel comfortable sending your pet outside, restrict the pet to certain areas of the house as much as possible. Do not allow him or her access to the bedroom of the allergic child. It can also be helpful to keep Spot out of the laundry room as well, so dander doesn’t end up on the clean clothes.

Bathe your pet in tepid water weekly. This may cut back on the amount of dander and hair your pet drops as he or she wanders around. While it may be difficult to make this a consistent practice, it can be very helpful.

Install a HEPA filter on your furnace or use an air purifier to remove pet dander and hair from the air as it circulates in your house. While this won’t prevent all allergens from making their way to your allergic child, it can significantly cut back on the amount.

Make sure your child avoids kissing, hugging or petting the pet. If your child does interact with your pet, make sure your child washes his or her hands immediately after.

Inform family, friends and daycare about your child’s allergy, especially if they have pets in the house. Let them know some easy methods to remove allergens, such as vacuuming before your child visits or leaving the pet outside.

Allergy shots may help make your child more comfortable with pets by alleviating symptoms over the long-run.

Keep in mind that “hypo-allergenic pets” are not 100 percent allergen-free. While they may have less hair, the allergen is still found in the skin and no pet is skin-free! And if you would like a pet but are afraid of how this might affect your child’s allergies, consider making a reptile such as a turtle a part of your family instead.


Dr. Jill Hanson is a pediatrician for Boys Town, specializing in allergy, asthma, immunology and pediatric pulmonology. Read more about her here Half of kids who have allergic reactions don’t get epinephrine before visiting ER

A new study has found that more than half of kids who need epinephrine following an allergic reaction don't get it. Here's what parents should know.

By Melissa Willets

A new study out of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology uncovers an alarming statistic: Approximately half of kids who need epinephrine following an allergic reaction don't get it before they seek emergency care. In fact, even children who were prescribed epinephrine for previous allergic reactions weren't getting the life-saving medication they needed right away in emergency situations.

According to the study's co-author, Dr. David Stukus from Nationwide Children's Hospital, anyone who suffers anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction characterized by any combination of symptoms including hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, or wheezing—should get a dose of epinephrine ASAP. "If in doubt, give it," Dr. Stukus told about administering an epinephrine auto-injector to a person suffering an allergic reaction.

How & When to Use an EpiPen

After looking at more than 400 kids who went to urgent care or the ER for anaphylaxis, researchers found that less than half had received epinephrine prior to their arrival. This is despite the fact that 67 percent had a prior prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector.

Interestingly, the study found kids were more likely to receive a dose of epinephrine if they had a reaction at school versus at home. Dr. Stukus told us that since students with food allergies are required to have a signed, written allergy treatment plan, school administrators are likewise required to follow those directives in the event of a reaction. But at home, emotions can come into the picture, understandably. As he notes, "It's a very stressful experience for parents." And it can be difficult to think through the necessary steps. "It's difficult to stick a needle in your child's leg," Dr. Stukus recognizes.

He stresses, however, that there is no downside to administering epinephrine, even when in doubt. But he also emphasizes that this research is by no means intended to guilt parents who may not have given their child the appropriate treatment. Instead, researchers hope to raise awareness that epinephrine is the only appropriate and effective treatment for anaphylaxis, and the sooner it's given, the better.

In fact, according to the study, kids who received epinephrine before they came to the ER were less likely to be treated with it there, and were more likely to go home than those who didn't get a dose pre-arrival.

The takeaway? Dr. Stukus told Science Daily, "It's vital to keep your epinephrine with you if you suffer from any sort of severe allergy. Anaphylaxis symptoms occur suddenly and can progress quickly. Always have a second dose with you and, when in doubt, administer it too. Anaphylaxis can be deadly if left untreated."

He also told, "Being prepared is always the best policy." Dr. Stukus offers these additional tips for managing a food allergy:

  • Fully educate yourself about the allergy.
  • Practice administering an epinephrine auto-injector at every encounter with your child's pediatrician and allergist.
  • Role play what to do in an emergency with your child.

And in the event of an emergency, remember that step 1 is to administer the epinephrine. Step 2 is to call 911.

If you do not have an auto-injector with you for any reason, call 911 immediately and make sure paramedics have an epinephrine auto-injector on board their rig. Dr. Stukus strongly discourages parents from driving to the ER themselves if their child is suffering a reaction, especially if the hospital is far away. It is also never a good idea to go to a pharmacy and wait on line to fill a prescription. Again, call 911 and get help immediately.

Live Science: Half of kids don’t get epinephrine until they get to the ER

By Sara G. Miller, Staff Writer | July 14, 2017 07:29am ET

When a person has a severe allergic reaction, an injection of epinephrine can be lifesaving, and the sooner, the better.

But a new study finds that less than 40 percent of kids who had this type of allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, received an injection of epinephrine before they got to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

Epinephrine can be given immediately to a child with anaphylaxis using an epinephrine auto-injector, a device that automatically injects a dose of the drug into a person's body. EpiPens are one type of epinephrine auto-injector. [8 Strange Signs You're Having an Allergic Reaction]

In the study, the researchers looked at medical records from more than 400 kids and teens who went to either the emergency room or the urgent care clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio for a severe allergic reaction. Nearly half of the patients were ages 5 or younger.

Only 36 percent of the kids in the study received epinephrine before arriving at the hospital or clinic, the researchers found. Not every patient included in the study ended up being treated with epinephrine once they arrived, the researchers noted. But 50 percent of the patients in the study did receive it when they arrived at the hospital or clinic, including some who had already gotten it before seeking care, the researchers found.

The children and teens were more likely to have received the drug prior to arriving at the hospital if their allergic reaction struck while they were at school, the researchers found.

"Treatment with epinephrine is often delayed or avoided by parents and caregivers," lead study author Dr. Melissa Robinson, an allergist at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, said in a statement. "And sometimes, antihistamines are used even though they are not an appropriate treatment." Antihistamines are another common type of allergy medicine.

A majority of the kids and teens included in the study had had an anaphylactic reaction in the past, the researchers noted, but less than half of those patients had been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector. And among those who did have a prescription, only about two-thirds had the device with them at the time of allergic reaction.

But the symptoms of anaphylaxis "occur suddenly and can progress quickly," senior study author Dr. David Stukus, an allergist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, said in a statement. "It's vital to keep your epinephrine with you if you suffer from any sort of severe allergy."

In fact, people with such allergies should also carry a second dose of the medicine, Stukus said. "When in doubt, administer [that second dose], too." 

The study was published July 12 in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.