Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “allergies”

Bee Sting Allergies

Stinging Insect Allergy page from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (linked provided by MedlinePlus) – http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/stinging-insect-allergy

Often people will refer to being stung by saying, “I was stung by a bee,” so “bees” or “honeybees” tend to get a bad rap.  Just as likely they may have been stung by a yellow jacket, hornet, or wasp.  They also have different kinds of venom, so if one were allergic to honeybees, they would not necessarily have a reaction from a wasp sting.

Representative questions that can be answered by this resource:

  • What are the differences between bees, wasps, and hornets?
  • How do you identify different insect nests?
  • What is the best way to treat a sting?
  • What are the symptoms of a severe reaction?


Overview on insect stings including identification of insects, prevention, treatment, and link to finding an allergist/immunologist.

More links on this subject:

Medline’s Insect Bits and Stings page – https://medlineplus.gov/insectbitesandstings.html
ees, Wasps and Hornets Brochure by the NJ Beekeepers Association – http://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/pdf/beeswaspshornetsbrocure.pdf
edline’s Allergy Shots page  – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000405.htm


Latex Allergy page from MedlinePlus

Latex Allergy page from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/latexallergy.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How can someone cope with a latex allergy while in the hospital?
  • What common products contain latex?
  • What are the OSHA standards for latex?


From the website,

Repeated exposure to a protein in natural latex can make you more likely to develop a latex allergy. If your immune system detects the protein, a reaction can start in minutes. You could get a rash, asthma and in rare cases shock from latex exposure.

The summary for this page cites a number of items latex is found in, including condoms. A latex allergy could be an interesting complication in story sex scenes. There is a link to a four page list of latex containing items and safe alternatives for each category. This may help your latex challenged characters find consummation. It will also allow medical characters to carry on their work.

Lactose (Milk) Intolerance page from MedlinePlus

Lactose (Milk) Intolerance page from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/lactoseintolerance.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are some other names for lactose intolerance?
  • How can you tell if a child is lactose intolerant?
  • How can your lactose intolerant characters be sure to get enough calcium?
  • What’s the difference between food intolerance and food allergy?


From the website,

Lactose intolerance means that you cannot digest foods with lactose in them. Lactose is the sugar found in milk and foods made with milk. After eating foods with lactose in them, you may feel sick to your stomach.

This page has links to overview handouts, etc. Check out the sections on disease management and related conditions to see some additional problems you can give your lactose intolerant characters.

General overview of allergies from MedlinePlus

General overview of allergies from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/allergy.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What is Allergic conjunctivitis?
  • What is butterbur and how can it help allergy sufferers?
  • What is semen allergy and what are its implications for pregnancy?


Overview of allergies in general with links to more allergies under “specific conditions.” Provides links to common allergy blood and skin tests. Check out the “virtual allergist” under “tutorials’ as it might help you match character symptoms to a specific allergy or condition. The “Dark Circles Under Eyes” under “Related Issues” might be helpful in giving a character anxiety over his appearance.

Food Allergy page from MedlinePlus

Food Allergy page from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/foodallergy.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What should a patient with a food allergy do when she flies?
  • What are some myths about food allergies to avoid in your stories?
  • What are some conditions that can be confused with food allergies?


Subject based listing of links related to food allergies. See “specific conditions” for links to specific food allergies. See the “Disease Management” section for things your characters might do to deal with their food allergies. This page also has special sections for children and teenagers.

Celiac Disease page from MedlinePlus

Celiac Disease page from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/celiacdisease.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I find recipes a celiac patient could enjoy?
  • What genes are related to celiac disease?
  • What grains and flours are truly gluten free?


From the website,

If you have celiac disease and eat foods with gluten, your immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye and barley. It is found mainly in foods but may also be in other products like medicines, vitamins and even the glue on stamps and envelopes.

See the nutrition section for gluten-free recipes and other dietary guidelines for sufferers of Celiac disease. The “related issues” section has a look at gluten in restaurants and traveling tips for Celiac patients. The videos section has a link to an entire series of videos that cover Celiac disease in children, shopping, making emotional adjustments and more.
Finally, you’ll want to check out the directories and organizations section for appropriate support groups.

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