Posts belonging to Category allergy triggers



Another Reason for Kids Eating Less Fast Foods

Fast foods

We know that a diet high in fast foods tend to put weight on children and teens, but did you know that fast food consumption is also tied to an increased risk of certain health conditions?

A study coming out of New Zealand found that:

  • Children and teens eating fast foods a number of times each week are at an increased risk for severe asthma, rhino-conjunctivitis, and eczema.
  • Fruit eaten three or more times a week provide children and teens with a protective effect against severe asthma.

According to Philippa Ellwood, DDN, DPH, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and her colleagues, eating fast foods three or more times a week is associated with a 39% increased risk of severe asthma and a 70% increased risk of severe eczema among teens.In addition, children who eat fast foods with the same frequency have an increased risk of rhino-conjunctivitis and severe eczema.

The study article, published in journal Thorax, went on to report that reducing consumption of fast foods to two times a week, or less, reduced the incidence of wheezing and severe asthma in children. Ellwood and colleagues also found that eating fruit three or more times a week, among children and teens, offered a protective effect against severe asthma.

The authors stated,  “If the associations found in this study are causal, the findings have major public health significance owing to the rising consumption of fast foods globally,”

The authors noted that earlier research had found diets with high intake of cereal, rice, and nut and cereal protein showed decreased prevalence of the allergic conditions and a protective effect against the conditions with elevated fruit consumption. Similarly, other research has shown a harmful effect of linolenic acid and trans fatty acid consumption.

The researchers gathered symptom prevalence data on types of food intake and symptom prevalence of asthma, rhino-conjunctivitis, wheezing, and eczema from 319,196 teens, ages 13 and 14, from 51 countries, and 181,631 children, ages 6 and 7, from 31 countries through the third phase of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). The latter is a multi-center, multi-country, multiphase cross-sectional study.

Teen participants, or parents of young children, were administered questionnaires that looked at symptoms and symptom frequency over the 12 months prior to the study. Questions about food intake looked at types of foods and whether foods were eaten once, twice, or three or more times weekly.

Milk consumption was inversely associated with current wheeze at once or twice weekly, severe asthma three or more times weekly, and severe rhino-conjunctivitis and severe eczema once or twice a week in teens.

Consumptions of eggs, fruit, meat, and milk three or more times a week protected against “all three conditions, current or severe” among children.

“The positive associations with severe disease suggest that fast foods are a predictor of disease severity rather than disease occurrence, although it is difficult to separate out the two in this study,” researchers concluded.

Study researchers also shared that the protective association between fruit and vegetables and the three conditions need to  be further explored at country and regional levels.

The researchers found the study was limited by a number of factors, including self-report biases or classification errors, socioeconomic status’ effect on food consumption, and missing temporal data on disease outcome relative to diet.

 

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How Safe is Getting a Tattoo?

Before someone you love gets a tattoo, ask them to consider this report from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued on August 22, 2012.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is particularly concerned about a family of bacteria called nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) that has been found in a recent outbreak of illnesses linked to contaminated tattoo inks.

M. chelonae, one of several disease-causing NTM species, can cause lung disease, joint infection, eye problems and other organ infections. These infections can be difficult to diagnose and can require treatment lasting six months or more.

Some of these contaminated tattoo inks have caused serious infections in at least four states in late 2011 and early 2012. FDA is reaching out to tattoo artists, ink and pigment manufacturers, public health officials, health care professionals, and consumers to warn them of the potential for infection.

FDA also warns that tattoo inks, and the pigments used to color them, can become contaminated by other bacteria, mold and fungi.

To raise awareness and make diagnoses more accurate, FDA strongly encourages reporting of tattoo-associated complications to its MedWatch program, says Linda Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors.

“Getting the word out to tattoo artists is particularly critical. Even when they diligently follow hygienic practices, they may not know that an ink itself may be contaminated. Contamination is not always visible in the inks,” Katz says.

FDA’s goal is to encourage these artists to take certain precautions in their practice and to urge potentially infected clients to seek medical care. “Reporting an infection to FDA and the artist is important. Once the problem is reported, FDA can investigate, and the artist can take steps to prevent others from being infected,” says epidemiologist Katherine Hollinger, D.V.M., M.P.H., from the Office of Cosmetics and Colors.

A Challenging Investigation

Tattoo inks are subject to FDA regulation. FDA investigates and intervenes when a serious safety issue arises.  And that’s what happened here.

FDA’s CORE (Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation) Network initiated and coordinated the investigation with state and local health departments and laboratories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and FDA investigators working in numerous district offices.

The investigation began in January 2012 when FDA, through its MedWatch reporting program, learned about seven people in Monroe County, New York who had NTM infections. They’d all gotten tattoos from the same artist, who used the same brand of ink on all of them. The infections occurred on the newly acquired tattoos, with red bumps appearing soon after the tattoo had healed.

FDA later became aware of 12 more people with an NTM infection who were also clients of this same tattoo artist. The same brand of ink was also used on them. Of these 19 people, 14 were confirmed to have the same type of NTM infection. An NTM sample from a sealed container of the same type of ink used to tattoo the affected individuals was a perfect match to the NTM linked to these infections.

Meanwhile, FDA learned of outbreaks of NTM infections in other states, including but not limited to Washington, Iowa, and Colorado. The cases in these states involved different NTM species or different ink manufacturers than those in New York. While the infections in Washington, Iowa, and Colorado were not linked to the New York infections, there was a link identified between the M. chelonae infections in Washington and Iowa.

For the New York outbreak alone, FDA investigators visited the tattoo ink supplier and manufacturer. These were located as far away as California. These investigations resulted in a recall of the implicated ink.

Strategies for Controlling Risks of Infection

Tattoo artists can minimize the risk of infection by using inks that have been formulated or processed to ensure they are free from disease-causing bacteria, and avoiding the use of non-sterile water to dilute the inks or wash the skin.  Non-sterile water includes tap, bottled, filtered or distilled water.

Consumers should know that the ointments often provided by tattoo parlors are not effective against these infections. NTM infections may look similar to allergic reactions, which means they might be easily misdiagnosed and treated ineffectively.

Once an infection is diagnosed, health care providers will prescribe appropriate antibiotic treatment according to Katz. Such treatment might have uncomfortable side effects, such as nausea or gastrointestinal problems. However, without prompt and proper treatment an infection could spread beyond the tattoo or become complicated by a secondary infection.

If you suspect you may have a tattoo-related infection, FDA recommends the following:

  • Contact your health care professional if you see a red rash with swelling, possibly accompanied by itching or pain in the tattooed area, usually appearing 2-3 weeks after tattooing.
  • Report the problem to the tattoo artist.
  • Report the problem to MedWatch, on the Web or at 1-800-332-1088; or contact FDA’s consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Inks and pigments can be contaminated through:

  • use of contaminated ingredients to make inks,
  • use of manufacturing processes that introduce contaminants or allow contaminants to survive,
  • use of unhygienic practices that contaminate ink bottles or mixing with contaminated colors,
  • use of non-sterile water to dilute the inks,
  • Using tattoo inks past their expiration date.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

 

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