Rebecca Scherzer

last updated 4/13/2018

Rebecca Uram Scherzer

Department and Section Chief at Nationwide Children's Hospital

700 Childrens Drive, Columbus, Ohio, United States
HQ Phone:
(614) 722-2000

General Information


Physician- Allergy and Immunology - Pediatric Academic Association

Associate Professor of Pediatrics - The Ohio State University



Recent News  

Food Allergies - PediaCast 259PediaCast

Dr Rebecca Scherzer and Dr Peter Mustillo join Dr Mike in the PediaCast Studio for a comprehensive look at food allergies.
Dr Rebecca Scherzer Pediatric Allergist Nationwide Children's Hospital And to help me cover these questions, I have a couple of great studio guests lined up for you today - Dr. Rebecca Scherzer and Dr. Peter Mustillo, both pediatric allergists here at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer is a pediatric allergy specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. She serves as associate director of the combined Ohio State Nationwide Children's Allergy and Immunology Fellowship Training Program and has a clinical interest treating children and teenagers with allergies, asthma and immunodeficiency disorders. This is Dr. Scherzer's first appearance on PediaCast and we welcome her warmly to the program. Thanks for joining us, Dr. Scherzer. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Thank you. Thanks for having me. But I don't mean to steal your thunder, Rebecca. [Laughter] Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: I'm going to share it with my husband. Dr. Mike Patrick: Dr. Peter Mustillo who is another first-time guest on PediaCast, he too is a pediatric allergist at Nationwide Children's Hospital and an associate professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Mustillo serves as physician director of the Infusion Clinic at Nationwide Children's and like Dr. Scherzer, treats kids and teens with allergies, asthma and immunodeficiency disorders. So, Dr. Scherzer, let's start with you. If you could just define for moms and dads out there, what is meant by food allergy? Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So, the definition of a food allergy is an adverse health effect, arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly upon given exposure to a food. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: True. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So, we see food allergies in about 6% to 8% of children and 3% to 4% of adults. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: I think it's actually a combination of food. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yes, yes. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: It is definitely higher. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yes. Yes. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yes. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: There is, and to atopy in general. Speaking of the allergic response, Dr. Scherzer, what are the typical signs and symptoms that would point someone to this could be a food allergy that's causing this? Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So signs and symptoms of an acute allergic reaction can vary. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So it could really be an either. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So, in young children, you see it. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: That's pretty rare. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yeah, it's definitely not an IgE-mediated response. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Right, right, right. Dr. Mike Patrick: So if we look at this set of symptoms that folks come in with, with food allergies, Dr. Scherzer, what other disease processes could cause similar signs and symptoms? Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Well, part of the differential would be really based kind of on the symptoms when we think about things that can cause a lot of symptoms that we associate with food allergy. There's a list including food intolerances. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Right. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: It is. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So yes, seeing your doctor, seeing someone who specialize in food allergy is very important. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: There's other ones out there now. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Right, right. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: That would definitely be the safest road to head down, is to make sure that immediately that child would have epinephrine available to them if they would have a reaction. But these tests do not detect all the potential non-IgE mediated causes that Dr. Scherzer refer to such as the FPIES, the food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, the allergic colitis when the infants get blood on their stool, eosinophilic esophagitis. Now, what about when you have folks who come in with the food allergy, is this something... We're kind of moving to the treatment thing, the treatment part of this with Dr. Scherzer. When you do have a kid who you think has a food allergy, what sort of treatment path do you go down with them? Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So, really, right now, the only treatment for food allergy is avoidance of the food. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So most of the time, it is safe. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yes. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So, when you think about an acute reaction, anti-histamines can play a role in a very mild reaction. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Again, steroids can play a role. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: I think a lot of children who have very severe reactions to foods end up getting a steroid course associated with that reaction. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yes. And that's why teaching for the family, teaching for anyone who takes care of the child really is critical. There are great videos on the Web that you can see. Actually, DJ Scherzer, my husband, has a nice one at the Web, on YouTube, that really can show you how to use the EpiPen. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: It's not standard of care for food allergy right now. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So, there are some more localized food allergic responses that if the food allergies aren't recognized, certainly, it will not be able to be treated without recognizing these food allergies. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: It definitely is. Dr. Mike Patrick: Dr. Scherzer, what's the long term outlook for kids with food allergies. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: That's a great question, a very common question. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: So, that can be very patient-specific on how often you check. But frequently, every year or two years, again, depending on that child and the clinical situation. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: That has been reported. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yeah, everyone's different. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: I think that's especially important to keep in mind for the high risk infants. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: I think it's important really to keep in mind, again, it is in a small number of places and it's not... Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Yes, we actually get referrals from all over the states and multiple states, around Ohio and their borders. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: And we have really a wonderful whole team. And Dr. Scherzer, you'd mentioned the EpiPen videos and the Helping Hand and the Food Allergy Network and we'll put the links to all of those links in the Show Notes as well. 1:06:33 Well, it's really been great to have you both stop by the studio, just really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with everyone. Dr. Rebecca Scherzer: Thank you. I also want to thank Dr. Rebecca Scherzer and Dr. Peter Mustillo, a pair of pediatric allergist from Nationwide Children's Hospital for helping us understand food allergies a little better.

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