American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Nov. 6-10
The annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) was held from Nov. 6 to 10 in Atlanta and attracted approximately 3,500 participants from around the world, including allergy and immunology specialists as well as other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in the prevention and treatment of asthma, food and medication allergies, immune dysfunction, and sleep apnea.
During one presentation, Luz Fonacier, M.D., of Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., provided insight into adverse responses to topical skin preparations among those who suffer with allergies.
"Allergy to a topical corticosteroid may not be evident right away because its job is to bring down inflammation," Fonacier said in an ACAAI new release. "But you should suspect an allergy to your medication if your rash doesn't respond, gets worse with the medication, or improves initially, then flares."
Other medications highlighted during the presentation that commonly result in adverse events among allergy suffers included antibiotics such as bacitracin and neomycin, topical anesthetics, and antifungals.
In another study presented at the conference, Alexei Gonzalez-Estrada, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues found that YouTube videos on asthma are frequently viewed, but are a poor source of health care information.
"Videos by asthma health care providers were rated highest in quality," Gonzalez-Estrada said. "Asthma health care providers should suggest accurate social media tools to patients with asthma such as the ACAAI, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Allergy and Asthma Network (AANMA), or U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites. There is also a clear opportunity to enhance the value of educational materials on asthma on YouTube by uploading videos with accurate information by asthma health care providers."
Jeana Bush, M.D., of Georgia Regents University in Augusta, and colleagues evaluated health literacy levels of high school students and their caregivers in four rural Georgia high schools using validated screening tools (Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine and Single Item Literacy Screener) as part of Puff City, a web-based asthma education intervention. The investigators performed statistical analysis to examine agreement between the scores of the students and their caregivers.
"We found poor agreement on both tools, suggesting that teens do not primarily acquire their health literacy from their caregiver. In some groups, teens had better health literacy than their caregivers. In this population of rural Georgia, there was a disparity in health literacy levels according to student race, with African-American students scoring lower on average than white/other races," said Bush. "Physicians should screen health literacy levels in their patients and plan to spend more time educating patients with lower health literacy. More research is needed to examine where teens are acquiring their health literacy and how physicians can help asthma patients optimize self-management of this complex disease process."
During another presentation, Ruchi Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, discussed the importance of having epinephrine available in schools. Gupta highlighted that Chicago Public Schools used stock epinephrine on 38 individuals during the 2012 to 2013 school year, with more than 50 percent used in children with no known food allergy.
"It is critical that we make sure schools are prepared to handle anaphylaxis emergencies by having epinephrine auto-injectors and knowing how and when to use them. Physicians can help by prescribing epinephrine to schools and helping to train them on its use," said Gupta. "Physicians should check with their patients to make sure they carry epinephrine auto-injectors with them, train them on how and when to use it, and make sure they have an emergency action plan with them. Physicians should also inquire about how the school handles anaphylaxis."
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