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Rebecca Rosenberger discusses allergic and non-allergic triggers, and how patients with food allergies can avoid allergic reactions through the winter season.
Even after the December holidays, families and friends are still engaging in larger community meals, which means that people with food allergies are once again susceptible to allergic reactions.
In addition to that, non-food related allergic triggers can be found in various products such as pine needles from live Christmas trees or perfume ads that circulate in the mail.
With more people indoors for the winter season, it can be hard to avoid certain allergic triggers. However, with proper planning, it is possible to avoid a reaction.
In an interview with HCPLive, Rebecca Rosenberger, MMSc, PA-C, Allergy Diagnostic & Treatment Center, and Associate Director, Clinical Affairs & Education at Thermo Fisher Scientific, detailed common allergic triggers and made distinctions between allergic and non-allergic triggers.
With non-allergic triggers such as perfume or candles, patients might not be aware of these allergic irritants until after exposure. Reactions to non-allergic triggers are often the result of a cumulative load of various sources.
Allergic triggers are easier to define and avoid, especially in the US.
“I do think we are a bit lucky in the US that we have fairly strict labeling regulations as far as labeling the major allergens on packaged foods,” Rosenberger said. “Now, that certainly doesn't label all of the allergens, but it does take us a step closer, and it is a good objective way to know what is in this product.”
Avoiding foods that can cause an allergic reaction at large gatherings during the winter might involve bringing packaged foods, or cooking meals at home that do not use ingredients that can cause a reaction.
Rosenberger added that the safest way to avoid an allergic reaction is to participate in advanced blood testing and allergen component testing that could aid in defining what an individual is specifically allergic to.
“Knowing that there is blood testing that's available for all of those allergens that we mentioned molds, dust mites, pets, and certainly many, many of the foods, that's a good first step,” Rosenberger said. “ If you suspect that you've had some type of reaction, and it could be allergic trigger, that's a great first step, (and) you have symptoms, go ahead and get tested.”
To hear more on winter allergens, watch the video above.