By Henry Ehrlich
2011 was the first full year asthmaallergieschildren.com was on the web. While it hasn’t begun to realize our dreams of fame or fortune, I think we achieved many of our goals for making a lively, timely contribution to discussion of the broad range of allergic diseases and the way they fit together, although sometimes I think we would get more attention if we concentrated on one or another. However, the full spectrum is a big part of our mission. A new study in Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology says, “At 12 years, 58% of the children had had eczema, asthma and/or rhinitis at some time. Disease turnover was high for all three diseases throughout the study. Comorbidity increased with age, and at 12 years, 7.5% of all the children were affected by at least two allergy-related diseases…Allergy-related diseases may affect a majority of children. Eczema, asthma and rhinitis develop dynamically throughout childhood, and allergic comorbidity is common. These findings indicate that allergy-related diseases should be neither seen nor studied as isolated entities.”
We’re with them.
The best objective measure of how much we have accomplished is the fact that we are closing in on 200 original posts since we began publication in mid-2010—our new Guest Editorial by Anne Russell was number 195 from all sources, including Larry and Paul, and we have several more in the pipeline. But these guest pieces are also the best subjective measure because they are so good and address such a broad range of issues.
Thanks to: Australian allergist Dr. John Weiner on the allergies suffered by American soldiers in Alice Springs; Marion Groetch, Mount Sinai nutritionist on the problems of food allergies and picky eating; Anna Allanbrook, principal of the Brooklyn New School on managing food allergies in a public school; Elizabeth Goldenberg of OneSpotAllergy.com for her take on food allergy policy; Samuel De Leon, MD Chief Medical Officer, Vice-President of Medical Affairs Urban Health Plan, Inc. for his insight into managing asthma in the nation’s highest asthma zip code; Dena Friedel on tips for empowering children; Dr. Mark Cullen of Stanford University on those nasty smells that cause allergic symptoms; the apparently tireless Lisa Horne of Arizona Food Allergy Alliance (AFAA) on her experience with the Arizona legislature; Dr. Sarah Taylor-Black for her insights into the problems of getting a definitive food-allergy census; and speech therapist Jackie Ehrlich for writing about the problems that asthma and allergies can pose in the speech development of small children. (Some of these pieces were published this year.)
In addition to those one-time contributors, we have had several repeat editorialists who bear special mention. Blogger Janeen Zumerling has done four pieces for us on a range of topics that I would never have thought of—911 phone calls, arranging a “bestest day ever” at school for a food allergic child, the never-ending challenge of reading food labels, and vacationing with a food-allergic child. Anne Russell’s first piece was on getting the most out of a medical appointment. Susan Weissman’s first piece on how she was so focused on food allergies that her son’s asthma diagnosis took her by surprise, and her second was on how she and her husband stopped looking to blame anyone for food allergies and got on with family life. By the way, Susan’s new book Feeding Eden: the Trials and Triumphs of a Food Allergy Family (with a foreword by Dr. Paul Ehrlich) is being published in March. Harriet Spitzer Picker has had a piece on her role as a Certified Asthma Educator and another on Primatene. A third is in the works and she will have her own blog as soon as I figure out how to make the technical changes necessary to the navigation bar.
Among the other highlights of the year was our participation in a Facebook book club with the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance. This was particularly useful for me because it gave me insight into the day-to-day challenges of food allergy families, and I have incorporated much that I learned into this website. Larry and Paul were generous with answers to questions from AFAA members, and Lisa and her pals have incorporated some of our ideas into their work. I continue to participate even though our book (makes a wonderful gift) is no longer the featured title because I am still learning from them.
Finally, special thanks to Kathy Franklin, whose Food Allergy Corner is always so insightful. Kathy is a dynamo. Both Dr. Larry and Dr. Paul are vigorous practitioners and thinkers. Their blogs are uniquely responsive to current events that impinge on the health of their patients on public health in general. It is my pleasure to keep their voices out there.
We are dedicated to providing information and insights on allergy-related issues, filtered through Paul and Larry’s combined 70-plus years of training and practice, and my own almost 10 years of working with them, on and off. Dr. Johnson had Boswell; Drs. Chiaramonte and Ehrlich have me. We monitor news, journals, the blogosphere, politics and policy to bring you our take on the world of allergy and asthma. Thanks for reading us.
Photo by 2011calendar.org