Journal: The World Allergy Organization journal
Skin barrier structure and function is essential to human health. Hitherto unrecognized functions of epidermal keratinocytes show that the skin plays an important role in adapting whole-body physiology to changing environments, including the capacity to produce a wide variety of hormones, neurotransmitters and cytokine that can potentially influence whole-body states, and quite possibly, even emotions. Skin microbiota play an integral role in the maturation and homeostatic regulation of keratinocytes and host immune networks with systemic implications. As our primary interface with the external environment, the biodiversity of skin habitats is heavily influenced by the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which we reside. Thus, factors which alter the establishment and health of the skin microbiome have the potential to predispose to not only cutaneous disease, but also other inflammatory non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Indeed, disturbances of the stratum corneum have been noted in allergic diseases (eczema and food allergy), psoriasis, rosacea, acne vulgaris and with the skin aging process. The built environment, global biodiversity losses and declining nature relatedness are contributing to erosion of diversity at a micro-ecological level, including our own microbial habitats. This emphasises the importance of ecological perspectives in overcoming the factors that drive dysbiosis and the risk of inflammatory diseases across the life course.
The prevalence of allergic airway diseases such as asthma and rhinitis has increased dramatically to epidemic proportions worldwide. Besides air pollution from industry derived emissions and motor vehicles, the rising trend can only be explained by gross changes in the environments where we live. The world economy has been transformed over the last 25 years with developing countries being at the core of these changes. Around the planet, in both developed and developing countries, environments are undergoing profound changes. Many of these changes are considered to have negative effects on respiratory health and to enhance the frequency and severity of respiratory diseases such as asthma in the general population. Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, and especially carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere have already warmed the planet substantially, causing more severe and prolonged heat waves, variability in temperature, increased air pollution, forest fires, droughts, and floods - all of which can put the respiratory health of the public at risk. These changes in climate and air quality have a measurable impact not only on the morbidity but also the mortality of patients with asthma and other respiratory diseases. The massive increase in emissions of air pollutants due to economic and industrial growth in the last century has made air quality an environmental problem of the first order in a large number of regions of the world. A body of evidence suggests that major changes to our world are occurring and involve the atmosphere and its associated climate. These changes, including global warming induced by human activity, have an impact on the biosphere, biodiversity, and the human environment. Mitigating this huge health impact and reversing the effects of these changes are major challenges. This statement of the World Allergy Organization (WAO) raises the importance of this health hazard and highlights the facts on climate-related health impacts, including: deaths and acute morbidity due to heat waves and extreme meteorological events; increased frequency of acute cardio-respiratory events due to higher concentrations of ground level ozone; changes in the frequency of respiratory diseases due to trans-boundary particle pollution; altered spatial and temporal distribution of allergens (pollens, molds, and mites); and some infectious disease vectors. According to this report, these impacts will not only affect those with current asthma but also increase the incidence and prevalence of allergic respiratory conditions and of asthma. The effects of climate change on respiratory allergy are still not well defined, and more studies addressing this topic are needed. Global warming is expected to affect the start, duration, and intensity of the pollen season on the one hand, and the rate of asthma exacerbations due to air pollution, respiratory infections, and/or cold air inhalation, and other conditions on the other hand.
Molecular-based allergy (MA) diagnostics is an approach used to map the allergen sensitization of a patient at a molecular level, using purified natural or recombinant allergenic molecules (allergen components) instead of allergen extracts. Since its introduction, MA diagnostics has increasingly entered routine care, with currently more than 130 allergenic molecules commercially available for in vitro specific IgE (sIgE) testing.MA diagnostics allows for an increased accuracy in allergy diagnosis and prognosis and plays an important role in three key aspects of allergy diagnosis: (1) resolving genuine versus cross-reactive sensitization in poly-sensitized patients, thereby improving the understanding of triggering allergens; (2) assessing, in selected cases, the risk of severe, systemic versus mild, local reactions in food allergy, thereby reducing unnecessary anxiety for the patient and the need for food challenge testing; and (3) identifying patients and triggering allergens for specific immunotherapy (SIT).Singleplex and multiplex measurement platforms are available for MA diagnostics. The Immuno-Solid phase Allergen Chip (ISAC) is the most comprehensive platform currently available, which involves a biochip technology to measure sIgE antibodies against more than one hundred allergenic molecules in a single assay. As the field of MA diagnostics advances, future work needs to focus on large-scale, population-based studies involving practical applications, elucidation and expansion of additional allergenic molecules, and support for appropriate test interpretation. With the rapidly expanding evidence-base for MA diagnosis, there is a need for allergists to keep abreast of the latest information. The aim of this consensus document is to provide a practical guide for the indications, determination, and interpretation of MA diagnostics for clinicians trained in allergology.
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) use in the United States to date has been limited, despite common use and demonstrated efficacy elsewhere in the world. This is largely in part due to lack of FDA-approved SLIT products, lack of established dosing and administration guidelines, and cost concerns. Several recent studies have demonstrated efficacy and safety of two sublingual grass tablets and one ragweed tablet approved by the FDA, and one sublingual ragweed liquid currently pending FDA approval. With FDA approved SLIT products, there will be numerous challenges to the allergist and patient in deciding whether to pursue SLIT or SCIT (subcutaneous immunotherapy) for allergic rhinitis. This review highlights the current state of SLIT in the United States, and expected future directions.
Allergic and hypersensitivity reactions such as anaphylaxis and asthma exacerbations may occur during air travel. Although the exact incidence of in-flight asthma and allergic emergencies is not known, we have concerns that this subject has not received the attention it warrants. There is a need to provide passengers at risk and airlines with the necessary measures to prevent and manage these emergencies. A review of the epidemiology, management and approaches to prevention of allergic and asthma emergencies during air travel is presented with the goal of increasing awareness about these important, potentially preventable medical events.
Anaphylaxis is a severe, life threatening allergic reaction. In most fatal cases of food anaphylaxis, the fatality is not due merely to a simple, linear relationship between the allergen and exposure in a sensitized individual. Compounding factors such as the allergic disease burden-particularly the presence of asthma; comprehension of the potential severity of an event, training in the appropriate use of epinephrine, and emerging metabolic factors should be considered when assessing risk and establishing management strategies. This paper reviews the factors that contribute to the risk of severe anaphylactic events and provides a framework for the ongoing management of patients at risk of severe food allergy.
Chronic urticaria is defined as episodic or daily hives lasting for at least 6 weeks and impairs quality of life. Two main subtypes include chronic idiopathic (spontaneous) urticaria and inducible (physical) urticaria, but some patients have urticarial vasculitis. “Autoimmune chronic urticaria” implies the presence of histamine releasing or mast cell activating autoantibodies to IgE or FcϵRI, the high affinity receptor on mast cells and basophils. In patients not readily controlled with labeled dosages of second generation H1 receptor antagonists (antihistamines), there is evidence for reduction of urticaria using up to 4 fold increases in labeled dosages. The biologic modifier, omalizumab, helps to reduce lesions of chronic urticaria within 1-2 weeks.
The World Allergy Organization (WAO) Guidelines for the assessment and management of anaphylaxis provide a unique global perspective on this increasingly common, potentially life-threatening disease. Recommendations made in the original WAO Anaphylaxis Guidelines remain clinically valid and relevant, and are a widely accessed and frequently cited resource. In this 2015 update of the evidence supporting recommendations in the Guidelines, new information based on anaphylaxis publications from January 2014 through mid- 2015 is summarized. Advances in epidemiology, diagnosis, and management in healthcare and community settings are highlighted. Additionally, new information about patient factors that increase the risk of severe and/or fatal anaphylaxis and patient co-factors that amplify anaphylactic episodes is presented and new information about anaphylaxis triggers and confirmation of triggers to facilitate specific trigger avoidance and immunomodulation is reviewed. The update includes tables summarizing important advances in anaphylaxis research.
The prevalence of food allergy is increasing, and allergen avoidance continues to be the main standard of care. There is a critical need for safe and effective forms of immunotherapy for patients with food allergy as well as other allergic diseases.
Facilitating beta-lactam antibiotic use in patients reporting beta-lactam allergies in acute care settings is important to individual patient outcomes and public health; however, few initiatives have targeted the Emergency Department (ED) setting.