Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flu Vaccine, Egg Allergies, 2011

Seems this year, they are saying even with an agg allergy, get the flu shot.

Check with your allergist about what is right for you and your family.

From a press release from the NIH:

CDC Recommends Seasonal Flu Shot for People with Egg Allergy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently published new recommendations about this year’s seasonal flu vaccine in the United States. The committee now recommends that people with egg allergy receive the flu shot, especially if they only have had mild egg-allergic reactions such as hives. The recommendation does not apply to the nasal spray influenza vaccine.

The updated ACIP guidance is based, in part, on findings from recent studies discussed in the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Report of the NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel. These studies show that the flu shot (which contains heat-killed flu virus) can be given safely to most people with egg allergy.

Read the updated guidance on the ACIP website.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fall 2011, Allergic Girl Speaking Schedule

*MORE DATES ADDED on 9/16/11*

This Fall I’m going back on the road, talking about my absolutely favorite topic: living well with food allergies. All events are Eastern Standard Time.

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Here are the FAAN walks where I will be chairing and/or speaking/book signing.

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Here are other speaking events:

Allergic Girl Speaks at Orlando Public Library - ORLANDO, FL
Saturday, September 10 at 4:00pm
MORE INFO: http://www.ocls.info

Allergic Girl at the Gershman Y - PHILADELPHIA, PA
Tuesday, September 20 at 7:00pm
MORE INFO: https://www.gershmany.org/

Allergic Girl at Natural Products Expo East - BALTIMORE, MD
September 21, 2011 - 515-6pm Book signing on the upper level show floor ballroom/bookstore 
September 22, 2011 -4-5pm Panel Level 300, Room 323

MORE INFO: http://www.expoeast.com/

Allergic Girl at SPOAK (Support Parents of Allergic Kids) - WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ
Thursday, October 6 at 7:00pm
At the YJCC (http://www.yjcc.org/)

MORE INFO EMAIL: njfast@gmail.com

Allergic Girl SKYPE event with PHACT/FEAST - PAOLI, PA
Thursday, October 20 at 7:00pm
At the Paoli, PA Hospital
MORE INFO EMAIL: ParentsHavingAllergicChildren@yahoo.com

Allergic Girl at Dean's Natural Food Markets, NJ - SHREWSBURY, NJ
Sunday, October 30 at 3:00pm - 6:00pm
MORE INFO: http://www.deansnaturalfoodmarket.com/

Allergic Girl SKYPE event with Grand Rapids Allergy - Walker, MI
Tuesday, November 1 · 7:00pm - 8:30pm
MORE INFO: Schuler Books & Music or Grand Rapids Allergy

Allergic Girl & Rockland/Bergen NY ROCK - NYACK, NY
Tuesday, November 15 at 7:00pm
Nyack Hospital, Nyack, NY 10960, USA
DIRECTIONS: http://www.nyackhospital.org/Nyack-Hospital-Directions.asp

WEBINAR, Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta, Inc. - ATLANTA, GA
Wednesday, November 30 at 7:30pm
MORE INFO: http://www.foodallergykidsatl.org/Support_Group_Webinars.php

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My full schedule is also here on my Allergic Girl Facebook page.

Hope to see you out there!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Peanut Free Suite at Citifield, 2011

The Mets just called me to let me know about this Peanut Free Suite at a game. The more people buy ticktes, they will do this more often.

Spread the word! And any questions, call Nicole at the Mets directly.

Nicole Annese
Account Executive- Season Tickets & Group Sales
New York Mets | Citi Field | Flushing, NY 11368
P: 718-559-3020| F: 718-507-7735
nannese@nymets.com

From a press release:

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10th at 1:10 P.M. • METS VS. CUBS

• Please join The New York Mets for our Second Peanut Controlled Suite on September 10th! No peanuts will be allowed in Empire Party Suite 201 for the game.
• Come out to the world class home of Amazin' on September 10th and enjoy the game in our Peanut Free Suite !
Peanut Free Suite will be thoroughly power washed and cleaned before the game
• Peanut Free Menu is incorporated in ticket price.
• Safe and easy access to Empire Level by using Hodges VIP Entrance.
• Waiver must be signed before entering the suite.

Please order online at: www.mets.com/peanutfreesuite

CNN, Food Allergy Deaths

Here is my recent piece on CNN.com about the recent tragic food allergy deaths.

"The untimely, tragic and preventable deaths last week of two young men in Georgia highlight the seriousness of food allergies and the need for people with food allergies to have an Emergency Allergy Action Plan.

By local news accounts, Jharrell Dillard, 15 from Lawrenceville, Georgia and Tyler Davis, 20 studying at Kennesaw State University, knew what they were allergic to and were vigilant about what they ate. But this one time, without knowing it, they ate something containing their allergen and, caught without an auotinjector of epinephrine, perished."


Read more here on CNN.com.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Huey's Nut-Free Chocolate

Started by the mom of a nut-allergic child, Huey’s Nut_Free Chocolate sent me some samples of their wares to try. Specifically, mint creams, chocolate caramels, a crunchy bar and Josie’s , which are M&M type candies.

I shared this largess with three other non-allergic eaters who all liked everything. And then I tried the samples. Bottom line: all of the products were tasty and they all tasted like the “real” thing. That’s the trick here, as Huey’s is not dairy-, nor wheat-, nor egg-free so these products taste like their commercial cousins. I found some more products more successful nut-free clones than others, but really this is picking nut-free nits as everything was tasty.

--Josie’s have that crackle of M&M, so much so that I did a double take. Wowee.

--The Huey’s Nut-Free Chocolate mint peppermint creams was melt-in-your-mouth good, very fresco, like a York peppermint pattie in a truffle shape.

--The Huey’s Nut-Free Chocolate crunch chocolate bar was close to Nestle Crunch – milk was the overhwleming tatse here.

--And the Huey’s Nut-Free Chocolate caramels were my least favorite as the caramel taste was correct but the texture was gritty. This may have been an error of shipping in the heat or that I didn’t try them upon receipt (as in they sat for a few weeks). It was tasty just not that ooey gooey caramel I was hoping for.

Here is a listing of all of theHuey’s Nut-Free Chocolate ingredients to Huey’s confections. Huey’s is peanut and tree-nut free; however they do use dairy and egg and soy in many of their chocolate confections and on their equipment. Here are their ingredient warnings.

If you have questions, and I’m certain you do, please reach out to Huey’s I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.

Thank you Huey’s for creating a nut-free chocolate option!

Kristen Rice
Huey’s Nut-Free Chocolate
T. 612-801-4473
Toll-Free 877-801-4473
kristen@hueysnutfreechocolate.com




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Allergic Girl, Orlando Public Lirbary, September 10, 2011

Come join us!

From a press release:

An Afternoon with Allergic Girl: Sloane Miller

Event Type: Meet the Author

Date: 9/10/2011

Start Time: 4:00 PM

End Time: 5:30 PM

Library: Orlando Public Library

Location: Albertson Room

Description: Living with food allergies can be very difficult. Sloane Miller, the self-proclaimed Allergic Girl, doesn't think that life has to feel that way. In her new book, Allergic Girl, readers gain indispensible knowledge on how to lead a full life where dining doesn't have to include anxiety or potential health issues. She will be visiting the library to discuss her book and share her tested methods for living a life where food can be enjoyed and every meal can be safe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why I Rarely Eat Dessert Out

This recent blog comment about Quality Meats and dessert miscommunication (leading to a hospital visit) reminded me of my own food allergy rule: don’t eat desserts out. Why? Several reasons. First, in over my 30 years of dining out they almost always get it wrong. An unwanted nutty cookie or biscotti, a sprinkle of nuts around the plate for decoration, a marzipan layer under the frosting that no one knew about – the list of scary visible and invisible food allergy dessert errors are endless.

One of the problems lies with how a kitchen works. Smaller kitchens don’t always make their desserts in house, meaning a third party makes them and the all important labels are often discarded once the desserts are received. So, your server may not know what’s in your dessert and have little way of finding out and/or they make an honest (but ill informed) assumption that could be dangerous for a food allergic diner. For example, a server may assume that a "plain chocolate flourless cake" is just plain when in fact it’s "flourless" because it’s made with a nut flour. Even a conversation with a manager may not help because if the kitchen didn’t make the dessert and the labels are long gone, they, too, will be at a loss.

Another common issue is communication with the pastry chef. In more expensive restaurants, they have pastry chefs and a pastry (i.e. cold) station which is separate from the hot food and the appetizer sections. Often even when you’ve had the food allergy conversation with the manager or chef, the pastry chef may not get the message. In this scenario, a nut-free table that has had a great nut-free meal can be presented with a sorbet with an almond tuille lovingly placed between scoops. It’s not meant maliciously; it's just the pastry station didn’t get the message: no nuts.

So, often my safe dessert, if I want to/have to order one, is fresh berries, as it should be straight forward. And even with that I remind the sever: no cream (dairy intolerant) and no cookie (usually nutty), no sprinkle of anything, just dry – only berries and even that order comes to the table wrong too often.

Think I’m over-thinking this? Think again. Several chef colleagues have confirmed that I should stay away from desserts at their establishments: sorbets are often scooped with contaminated spoons, or chocolate sources are rarely from nut-free facilities.

There are many wonderful, safe exceptions, of course: restaurants that have dedicated allergen-friendly menus, or are white tablecloth and make everything from scratch (and keep their labels), or restaurants that make you or your family something special like Blue Smoke did here for my birthday.

But overall, the best solution for right now in 2011, and the one I recommend when dining out, especially at a new, untested restaurant is: skip dessert. It eliminates that particular risk and maximizes food allergy safety and enjoyment.

How you handle the dessert situation?

Monday, August 15, 2011

AAAAI, Redesigned Website

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is one of the most trusted resources for allergy, asthma and food allergy information. They've undergone a website restructure to make it easier to find reliable information. Have a look below.

From an AAAAI press release:

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Redesigned AAAAI Website Features Most Extensive Collection of A/I Resources

When you’re looking for expert information on allergic diseases, make the new American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) website your first destination.

This product of nearly two years of work features streamlined navigation, a clean, contemporary look, an enhanced “search by conditions” section and expanded options designed to deliver the most extensive collection of allergy/immunology resources for journalists.

• Content organized by Conditions & Treatments so you can easily access basic information, symptoms, treatments, related clinical and consumer resources, and links to relevant research summaries all on a single page

• View summaries from The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) and other journals, or use the enhanced search capabilities to look for research on a specific topic in Latest Research

• Use the A to Z Glossary to quickly find easy-to-comprehend definitions of allergy/immunology terms

• Look up articles on topics from anaphylaxis to skin allergy in the Library

• Visit the Newsroom for Media within the expanded About the AAAAI section for statistics, a photo gallery, access to experts and other media tools

No more searching around the Internet to find what you need. Resources and expert advice from allergists is here at the new AAAAI website. Visit www.aaaai.org today.

The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. The AAAAI's Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kettle Brand Potato Chips




I met Kettle Brand Potato Chips at a recent Food Fete event and they sent me some samples to try. A caveat: I’m not a huge snack food nosher. That’s not because of food allergies at all but because I’m a healthy eater; when I crave a snack I tend to think apple, not deep fried. But having said that, put some safe chips or pretzels or chocolate in front of me and I’ll nosh and have an opinion.

Kettle sent me several flavors of their baked potato chip line try. Salt and pepper was my and my fellow testers favorites. Peppery with an extra kick, I kept going back for more (but stopped myself as I had others to try).

Good news: As these chips are baked not fried they are 65 percent less fat than regular chips, have 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of fat, and only 120 calories per serving – even better - they’re almost healthy.

Better news: Kettle Brand Potato Chips’ facilities are tree-nut and peanut free. (They are not top eight free, by any stretch - so check with them directly about what's safe for you.)

From the Kettle Brand Potato Chips FAQ:

Are your products safe to eat for people with peanut allergies?
All Kettle Brand® Potato Chips, our new Kettle Brand®TIAS!™, Kettle Brand® Tortilla Chips and Kettle Brand® Baked Potato Chips are processed in an environment free of peanuts and other nuts. We consider them to be safe for people with peanut allergies to enjoy.

Kettle Brand® Roaster Fresh® Nut Butters and Kettle Brand® Quality Handcrafted Nuts are made in a separate facility from our various chip brands. All nut products share roasting and grinding lines with peanuts, and we include the following statement on the packaging: "Processed on equipment shared with peanuts and other nuts."

As “other nuts” was unclear to me I spoke with Kettle Brand Potato Chips directly and they said: The facility does not have nuts of any kind and is safe for tree nut allergies.

Questions, concerns, reach out to Kettle Brand Potato Chips, they’d love to hear from you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FDA, Gluten-Free Labeling

From the FDA press department: “Before finalizing our gluten-free definition, we want up-to-date input from affected consumers, the food industry, and others to help assure that the label strikes the right balance,” said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods. “We must take into account the need to protect individuals with celiac disease from adverse health consequences while ensuring that food manufacturers can meet the needs of consumers by producing a wide variety of gluten-free foods.”

There are 60 days from August 3, 2011 to comment. See more below and here.

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FDA NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Aug. 2, 2011
Media Inquiries: Siobhan DeLancey, 202-510-4177, siobhan.delancey@fda.hhs.gov
Trade Inquiries: Stephen King, 240-402-1407, stephen.king@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA reopens comment period on proposed ‘gluten-free’ food labeling rule
Rule would help by creating a uniform and enforceable definition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today reopened the comment period for its 2007 proposal on labeling foods as “gluten-free.” The agency is also making available a safety assessment of exposure to gluten for people with celiac disease (CD) and invites comment on these additional data.

One of the criteria proposed is that foods bearing the claim cannot contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten. The agency based the proposal, in part, on the available methods for gluten detection. The validated methods could not reliably detect the amount of gluten in a food when the level was less than 20 ppm. The threshold of less than 20 ppm also is similar to “gluten-free” labeling standards used by many other countries.

People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. About 1 percent of the United States population is estimated to have the disease.

“Before finalizing our gluten-free definition, we want up-to-date input from affected consumers, the food industry, and others to help assure that the label strikes the right balance,” said Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods. “We must take into account the need to protect individuals with celiac disease from adverse health consequences while ensuring that food manufacturers can meet the needs of consumers by producing a wide variety of gluten-free foods.”

The proposed rule conforms to the standard set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission in 2008, which requires that foods labeled as “gluten-free” not contain more than 20 ppm gluten. This standard has been adopted in regulations by the 27 countries composing the Commission of European Communities.

The FDA encourages members of the food industry, state and local governments, consumers, and other interested parties to offer comments and suggestions about gluten-free labeling in docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 at www.regulations.gov. The docket will officially open for comments after noon on Aug 3, 2011 and will remain open for 60 days.

To submit your comments electronically to the docket go to www.regulations.gov
1. Choose “Submit a Comment” from the top task bar
2. Enter the docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 in the “Keyword” space
3. Select “Search”

To submit your comments to the docket by mail, use the following address:

The Division of Dockets Management
HFA-305
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Include docket number FDA-2005-N-0404 on each page of your written comments.

For more information:

Federal Register Notice (scroll to FDA--temporary link will update when document publishes on Aug. 3):
http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Gluten-Free Portal (scroll to Gluten-Free):
http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/Topic-SpecificLabelingInformation/default.htm#gluten

FDA’s Proposed Rule on the Gluten-Free Labeling of Foods: http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodAllergensLabeling/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm077926.htm

Questions and Answers on the Gluten-Free Labeling Proposed Rule:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/Topic-SpecificLabelingInformation/ucm265309.htm

Consumer Update on the Gluten-Free Labeling Proposed Rule:
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm265212.htm

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Food Allergies, Shakespeare

The below comes from a dear friend and talented Director, Jemma Alix Levy. She is also the wife of Steve - in my book, Allergic Girl, he’s my Oxford University buddy with whom I dined weekly, allergen-free.

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A Nut-Free Rehearsal Process

Just before beginning our rehearsal process for Muse of Fire’s production of As You Like It, I received an email from one of our actors asking for a favor. She explained that she has a severe allergy to peanuts and hazelnuts and cannot be in close proximity to them. In particular, she had to be careful about touching or kissing anyone who might have nut residue on their skin or lips. She asked, rather tentatively, if, as the artistic director, I could make the cast and crew aware of this “issue,” not knowing, of course, that I am very experienced with severe allergies. I have accompanied a friend to the ER with an anaphylactic allergic reaction, and I have a husband who carries an epi-pen lest some fish creep into his chicken sandwich. I sent out an email to our entire cast and crew with very specific instructions about our henceforth nut-free rehearsal process: no nuts in the room, and thorough soap-and-water handwashing before entering. I asked the actor who played opposite her and might have to kiss her through the course of rehearsals to also wash his face.

Actors with severe allergies face a dilemma: to tell, or not to tell. Will telling your director or producer make you seem difficult? Will your collaborators think you are just being a diva (only green M&Ms, please)? Will not telling anyone mean a trip to the
hospital? A nut-free rehearsal process was fairly simple to arrange, although it did mean a few more minutes spent reading ingredients on protein bars and smoothie packages. But I was happy to accommodate this actor, as was the rest of the cast and crew. And it was well worth the effort: she is helping us put on a magnificent show.

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If you’re in the Chicago area, I urge you to check out Muse of Fire Theatre Company Presents “As You Like It” at Ingraham Park – it starts this weekend August 6, 2011. From a press release:


Third Annual Free Shakespeare Production in Evanston, Illinois

Muse of Fire Theatre Company Presents “As You Like It” at Ingraham Park in August

In its third summer season, Muse of Fire Theatre Company will once again bring free Shakespeare-in-the-park to the Northern suburbs of Chicago. The company has been playing each August to enthralled outdoor audiences in Evanston, captivating kids and parents new to the bard and old Shakespeare hands alike.

This summer, Muse of Fire will present As You Like It, a fanciful romp full of cross-dressing lovers, feuding brothers, wrestling, jokes and songs. Plus, this year the company will introduce an outreach program that will bring fun and Shakespeare to the City of Evanston’s summer camp at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center.

Muse of Fire’s outdoor setting, low-tech approach and extraordinary acting have made Shakespeare’s plays accessible to all. The company’s aim is to provide audiences with a thrilling and unintimidating experience a lot like Shakespeare’s original performances – and nothing like your average high-school English class.

As You Like It will play in Ingraham Park, behind the Morton Civic Center at 2100 Ridge Ave., in Evanston at 3:00 pm every Saturday and Sunday from August 6 through 27.

Muse of Fire’s free Shakespeare-in-the-park has been sponsored each summer by the City of Evanston and by donors from the community. This year we are thrilled to be partially funded by a grant from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

For further information, please go to our website: www.museoffire.webs.com, or call (847) 707-8632.

Friday, August 05, 2011

21 Club Chef Talks About Food Allergies

21 Club Executive Chef, John Greeley explains the 21 Club strategy for accommodating allergic patrons in the restaurant. Basically: communicate, communicate, communicate! See more below or read my discussion here.



Restaurant Week 2011 has been extended in several spots including 21 Club which will run their special through Friday August 12, 2011. More information here on NYCgo.com site.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

New Auto-Injector Is Coming

You remember these guys, I talked about them here and here and even mentioned them in my book, Allergic Girl. The new epinephrine auto-injector is getting closer. Here's some information From a press release received earlier this week:

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FDA Tentatively Approves Intelliject’s Lead Product, e-cue™
 
RICHMOND, Va.—August 1, 2011—Intelliject, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted tentative approval for the company’s New Drug Application (NDA) for a novel epinephrine auto-injector, e-cue™, for emergency treatment of allergic reactions including anaphylaxis.
 
The tentative approval of e-cue™ following a first cycle, 10 month review by the FDA provides validation of Intelliject’s vision of developing patient-centric products and of the company’s ability to execute. According to Spencer Williamson, President and CEO of Intelliject, “e-cue™’s tentative approval is another important step along our journey to empower patients living with serious medical conditions.”
 
Obtaining a tentative approval means that the product review is complete and the submission met the FDA’s requirements to be approved. The FDA reserves final approval of the product, however, until all exclusivity or patent challenges have been resolved, specifically the current patent litigation brought against Intelliject by King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (King) and Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc. (Meridian). Final FDA approval is required before a product can be marketed in the United States.
 
Intelliject is confident that the pending patent disputes with King and Meridian will be favorably resolved and looks forward to obtaining final FDA approval and to e-cue™’s subsequent availability.
 
About Intelliject
Intelliject is a specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing drug/device combination products that empower patients to gain freedom from their medical conditions. Each Intelliject product combines an established drug with an innovative delivery platform with the goal of achieving superiority, patient preference and cost effectiveness. Intelliject applies rigorous selection criteria to identify areas where its patient-centric approach and proprietary technology will offer superior solutions. The company only proceeds to an active development program once it has established that incremental clinical and economic benefit is achievable. Intelliject is a privately-held company headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For online information please visit Intelliject.
 
About anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that involves a number of body systems and can be fatal within minutes. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates there are up to 2,000 episodes of anaphylaxis per every 100,000 people in the U.S. each year, although the precise incidence of anaphylaxis is unknown and is likely underreported. Anaphylaxis can occur in people with allergies to certain foods, insect stings, medications, latex or other allergens. All published national anaphylaxis guidelines recommend epinephrine as the first choice treatment in an acute episode. The vast majority of deaths from anaphylaxis occur in individuals who do not receive epinephrine in a timely manner.