Apr
21
2014

Why Miley Cyrus Has Postponed Her Tour Indefinitely

Singer Recovering from Severe Allergic Reaction

Why Miley Cyrus Has Postponed Her Tour Indefinitely

Miley Cyrus hospitalized due to drug allergy

Oh, noes! Sorry, Bangerz of the world, you'll have to wait a little longer to see Miley on her latest tour. Turns out she's currently recovering from a serious reaction to antibiotics. She was hospitalized on April 15th after taking prescription Cephalexin for a sinus infection.

In her ever-so-eloquent way, Cyrus posted an update via Twitter after media reports fueled other rumours about her: "So many ignorant stories out there no one is reading the official statement and these dumb asses are scaring my fans. Please read official," and then posted this statement (language warning here, folks):



The singer could be laid up in hospital for up to 27 days, and is reportedly devastated about "possibly disappointing her fans." Concerts that have been canceled are apparently rescheduled for dates in August.

While serious reactions to this particular drug are rare, drug reactions are nothing to mess with, and it's great that Miley's being well taken care of in hospital. Scary stuff!

Apr
11
2014

Homeopathic Hoax: Is This The End Of Homeopathy?

New Study Says Alternative Medicines Don't Work

Homeopathic Hoax: Is This The End Of Homeopathy?

is this the end of homeopathy?

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released a draft information paper addressing the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions, and, friends, it's not lookin' positive for homeopathy. The NHMRC is currently seeking feedback on the paper, the full text of which can be found on the NHMRC website.

The study of "complementary medicine" (which includes naturopathy, homeopathy, and other lifestyle-based disciplines), according to NHMRC, was conducted because "[t]he National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has been concerned with reports of non-evidence based CM being used in place of evidence-based treatments for patients with serious but treatable conditions."

The interesting part of this, for me personally, is that while my family primarily sees Western "modern" medical practitioners, we do also implement some naturopathic (and in the past, some homeopathic) therapies, as well, so I'm particularly interested in the findings. I do agree with the NHMRC in that often patients reject proven, evidence-based medicine and rely on these other options when there is no real proven benefit. The NHMRC says, "[w]ithin our health system, there are practices which are currently not based on good evidence. In addition, outside our health system and its regulation, many other products and procedures are promoted as beneficial to health, often with little or no evidence of their benefit beyond the placebo effect. For these products and procedures, individuals may normally need no more protection beyond that afforded by usual regulatory processes and access to research evidence about them. However, sometimes patients may be misled into rejecting practices and treatments that are evidence-based in favour of non-evidence based practices and treatments."

It is that final sentence that truly hit home for me. When my son was born with severe eczema covering his entire face, weeping and bleeding, none of the doctors, allergists, or specialists believed he could possibly have food allergies. We had tried absolutely everything else, and exhausted the options, so we sought out the advice from some alternative medicine practitioners. I admit that we got suckered more than once by quacks convincing us their tests were legit when the only thing they did was drain my wallet. There are definitely too many of those practitioners out there. I think the bad ones definitely colour the whole practice negatively, and are the ones who prompt reactions like the IFLScience piece about the paperHell, I wrote this piece about allergy myths wherein I said allergies can't be diagnosed by naturopathic doctors.

But, here's the thing—while I'm a believer in science, and evidence-based conclusions, I wholly believe that it was Dr. Michelle Peters, BHSc, ND who finally was able to help my son's body regulate itself and put us on the road to health. I have no proof other than my son's skin changes and the fact that he outgrew so many allergies. I have no science to back up these claims, and neither do these "complementary medicines." 

So where does this leave us? My hope is that further testing dollars will be put into finding the evidence to back up the claims of the things that do work. I hope they call out those quacks and I hope that natural medicines are studied more and that we're able to have a healthy balance between alternative and modern approaches to health and wellness.

Want to read about another alternative practice under scrutiny? Read this article about oil pulling.

Apr
10
2014

Peanut-Free Easter Treats

Hope the Easter Bunny Reads Those Labels

Peanut-Free Easter Treats

peanut and nut free easter treats

For the nut- and peanut-allergic, Easter was once a pretty bleak day. Plastic eggs filled with mini-stamps, erasers, and teeny dollar store toys never really match up to giant chocolate bunnies and candy galore to a little kid. So, yes, you can absolutely shun sugar and go the other route for Easter, or you can spend a little time reading labels and find some really great treats for your wee allergic kiddo this Easter.

I did my digging at Shopper's Drug Mart and came up with a few options. No matter where you shop, the key is label-reading diligence. The one thing I want to really stress is to read both sides of the packages. On the front, you may see a peanut-free symbol, which is great if you're only concerned about peanuts, but always read the back. Many people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts, so it's important to review every ingredient and warning available to ensure safety.

These Carnaby brand marshmallow bunnies and eggs are labelled peanut-free and do not have any nut-related warnings on the back.



This adorable Kinder bunny is peanut-free.

Carnaby creme eggs are also peanut-free, and don't have a warning about other nut cross-contamination. **EDIT: A reader notified me that these creme eggs do in fact carry a tree nut warning, so once again: please read more carefully than I apparently did!**

These licensed character chocolates are not only peanut-free, but also made in Canada, which I appreciate.

And here are other character ones, too.

For hockey or princess fans:

Now, this Carnaby solid bunny has the peanut-free symbol on the front, but see below for the back of the package.

The back of the label states that it may contain tree nuts, so this one wouldn't be safe for my son, or anyone who also has tree nut allergies.

The Carnaby caramel eggs are also peanut-free, but may contain other nuts according to the back of the label.

My hands-down favourite (easily accessible, affordable) peanut- and nut-free brand is Freddo. Their chocolate doesn't taste like wax (which is a whole lot better than the majority of stuff sold for kids), and their labelling is fantastic. They have a big selection, and check out their labels. On the front it clearly states that not only are they peanut-free, they're also almond- and nut-free.

Thankfully, there are a lot more peanut-free treats available these days, but be diligent in your label reading to ensure that they're totally safe. If you're giving anything to a child who is both peanut- and tree-nut allergic, it's imperative you read every part of the label—especially since sometimes safe candy that is usually nut-free isn't, like Smarties. Those "may contain" warnings are still optional (here's hoping it's mandatory one day soon), so always err on the side of caution.

If you have favourite nut- and peanut-free treats, I'd love to hear about them! We're always interested in knowing about other safe options.

Want more? Read about non-allergic siblings of allergic kids, or find some inspiration for allergen-free baking.