Children’s Book Review: Allergies, and Awesome You!

Allergies are one of the most common afflictions of Americans today, especially in children. “My allergies are acting crazy today!” “Here, have one of my [insert allergy drug here].”

As an ex-child with asthma and allergies, now a fully-fledged adult with the sniffles and wheezes, I was drawn to review Dr.ย Atul N. Shah’s book for kids,ย Allergies, and Awesome You!

What I expected from the book’s premise (“For many kids, even those who do get proper treatment, the only support is the occasional trip to the doctor โ€“ and the kids themselves just have to put up with the medicines, shots and physical suffering…”) was an alternative to the wares of the pharmaceutical industry.

Shah’s book purports to eschew drug-dependent treatments for allergies in children, however, the major plot line inย Allergies is that the main character, while playing soccer with his allergy-laden friend, enjoys talking about his experience with the “AmazingAllergist,” particularly his enjoyment taking allergy tests and receiving injections.

The injections involve receiving small doses of things like cat dander and pollen in order to help the body become immune to the allergens’ effects and rely less on allergy-symptom drugs.

So, perhaps there is a method to the madness — as I am not a doctor, and have not undergone such tests, I cannot say for sure.

A little piece of mind came when viewing a section in the back of the book: a checklist to tally up daily tasks such as eating vegetables, doing yoga, exercising and other holistic and healthy activities (so hopefully kids will never have to check the box that says “take medicine”). So, bonus points for that.

Otherwise, it’s hard to distinguish between actual allergy-remedying advice and one doctor’s plan to be allergy and drug free — which, when put in the hands of children, may not be the best course to take.

Some allergy and food stats to leave with:

  • 60 million Americans have allergies – its prevalence has been increasing across all age, sex and racial groups.
  • Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease among all age groups (and is the 3rd most common disease among children under 18).
  • Allergies account for more than 17 million outpatient office visits each year.
  • Food allergies account for 30,000 emergency room visits each year.
  • Percentage of the people in the U.S. who believe they have a food allergy: up to 15%.
  • Percentage of the people in the U.S. who actually have a food allergy: 3% to 4%.
  • The annual cost of allergies is estimated to be nearly $7 billion.


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