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Dr. Vandana Krishna Highlights Need For Education On Sesame Allergy

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In a paper published at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, Dr. Vandana Krishna highlights the increasing incidence of allergy to a food that is becoming commonplace – sesame.

According to the CDC, there has been a nearly 4-fold increase in food-allergy related hospitalizations in less than 10 years. Reactions from food allergens can be very severe and life-threatening. The allergic reaction can range from mouth tingling to anaphylactic shock, where the throat and mouth enlarge to constrict breathing and requires immediate medical care.

In her paper titled “Need for Education about Sesame Allergy,” Dr. Krishna notes the increase in incidence of sesame in our diet, including in foods such as sesame crackers, cookies, hummus, etc. Although parents have good awareness about allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and other major allergens, most parents are not aware of the allergic tendency of sesame. Dr. Krishna points out that  sesame is not among the “Big Eight” food allergens dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, shellfish, soy, and wheat, that are required to be identified on the food product labels.

Based on Dr. Krishna’s practice, research, and observations, she concludes that the general awareness of sesame as an allergen is low in the suburban population and makes some recommendations. Education specific to sesame should be provided to primary-care-physicians, parents, day-care and school personnel. Sesame should be made easier to identify on food labels. The food industry should be subjected to stricter labeling guidelines on this emerging food allergen.

Dr. Krishna has been on the staff of Winchester Hospital since completing her fellowship in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard University. She is Board Certified from American Board of Allergy & Immunology and a Fellow of the AAAAI. Dr. Krishna is at Asthma & Allergy Specialists, PC in Winchester and can be reached at (781) 729-2293.

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