allergies | St. Louis Public Radio

allergies

When Porter Hall of Raymore, Missouri, was a year old, he broke out in hives after eating a spoonful of peanut butter. It led to a scary night in the emergency room and a diagnosis of peanut allergy.

But today, Porter, who’s now five, is giving peanuts another shot with the help of Kansas City doctors, who have been giving him tiny doses of peanuts over the course of months.

This oral immunotherapy treatment isn’t a cure, but doctors say these tiny exposures may help to reduce or prevent severe reactions – although some critics are warning families to consider the risks. 

Every morning Pat Wilson walks down the hall from her office in the Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Education Center through the gym and into a part of the building not typically associated with a school nurse: the kitchen.

There, she checks a list—posted on the side of the stainless steel refrigerator—of all the students in the school with a food allergy.

“It’s constantly being updated,” Wilson says.


EpiPen price spike leaves St. Louisans with few options

Aug 30, 2016
Maureen Walkenbach photographed the receipt after filling her son's prescription for EpiPen Jr. Because her family's health insurance has a high deductible, she must pay nearly the full price.
provided by Maureen Walkenbach

Ever since her 6-year-old son was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy, Oakville resident Maureen Walkenbach has kept EpiPens around at all times. One set stays at home in a cabinet, one goes with her kid to school, and one stays in her purse when they’re out and about.

“If [he’s] having trouble breathing, you have about four minutes,” she said. “These EpiPens, I can’t drive that home enough. We have to have them.”

Like thousands of other parents, Walkenbach is amazed by the rising cost of the device. Mylan, the maker of EpiPen, has pushed the cost from about $100 in 2008 to more than $600 today. The most recent cost increase has fueled accusations of price gouging as Mylan enjoys its last months of a near-monopoly before new competitors are set to enter the market.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2009 - We are living in a world of molecular agriculture, with genetically engineered foods now a common part of our daily lives. The advantages afforded by genetic engineering are cheaper and more nutritious foods. But what are the disadvantages, the potential costs and dangers, of genetic engineering? Many people, including influential activists and members of the scientific community, have expressed concern that genetically engineered products administered to plants or animals might, for unforeseen reasons, turn out to be dangerous for consumers.