Modern Family’s Julie Bowen on Life-Threatening Allergies; Weight Loss Foods

Modern Family’s Julie Bowen raises awareness on rising childhood allergy rates and life-threatening allergic reactions. Then, learn how prebiotics can assist with weight loss. And, healthy foods for whiter teeth! Plus, is your morning coffee endangering your health? 

Allergies on the Rise?

Emmy Award-winning actress Julie Bowen, who plays Claire Dunphy on the hit comedy Modern Family, joins The Doctors to help raise awareness about life-threatening food allergies in children. Julie, whose 6-year-old son, Oliver, has severe allergies to peanuts and bee stings, is the spokesperson for the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis campaign. She recently narrated an e-book, The Adventures of Ana and Phyl Axis: The Carnival to help educate children about making social events friendly for those with food allergies.

One in 20 children in the U.S. has some kind of food allergy, which is a 50 percent increase in a little more than a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is shocking to me how much these are on the rise in kids,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.

The Doctors and Julie discuss theories for why food allergies in children have increased so significantly.

"We're trying to get the word out to everybody — you don't have to have kids — just know the signs and symptoms and have a plan to deal with anaphylaxis, should it arise," Julie says.

Go with Your Gut

Reader's Digest Editor-In-Chief Liz Vaccariello and Dr. Travis share four foods that contain prebiotics, which feed the skinny bacteria in your gut.

Prebiotics are indigestible dietary fibers that act as food for the skinny bacteria and help keep balance in your gut between good and bad bacteria. Studies have shown that people with more good bacteria, or bacteroidetes, are more likely to be a healthy weight.

Beyond the ABCEs of Skin Cancer
Oncologist Dr. Travis Kidner, who specializes in melanoma surgery, advises his patients to see their dermatologist once a year to screen for possible skin cancer, so he made an appointment with his dermatologist. The dermatologist noticed a small pink bump on his back had grown since his last appointment, so he did a biopsy. About a week later, Dr. Kidner received a phone call and learned he had a malignant melanoma.

Dr. Kidner had his former boss remove the tumor and test to see if the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. The tests revealed he had caught the cancer in its early stage, and it had not spread.

Dr. Kidner warns that you have to look beyond the typical warning signs for skin cancer.

"If something starts to ulcerate, starts to bleed, starts to itch, if your wife or your husband says, 'You should get that checked out,' those are all good indications to go get it checked out," Dr. Kidner says.

Teeth Whitening Hope or Hype?
Facebook fan Chelsea writes, "Hi, Docs! My grandmother keeps telling me to check out this dental tip. Is whitening your teeth with banana peels legit?"

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears puts the theory to the test for a week, but cosmetic dentist Bill Dorfman says the banana peel theory is mostly hype. He explains that while some foods might act as cleansing agents, the most effective way to remove stains from your teeth is regular brushing and flossing. But, he says, the only thing that can actually change the color of your teeth is a whitening agent or bleach, such as hydrogen peroxide. He recommends seeing your dentist for a professional whitening or using whitening strips from the store.

Coffee Maker Gets Bad Buzz

You might be getting more than caffeine with your morning cup of Joe.

Bacteria and mold can form in the coffee maker's water reservoir and piping system. A test of a co-worker's coffee maker found it was contaminated with a common bacteria found in stagnant water. Such bacteria can cause UTI infections, meningitis and septic shock.

"It's nasty because you never clean it because we think that the hot water that flows through it is just fine, no big deal," Dr. Travis says. "Think about it: What does mold, bacteria — what do they love? Moist, warm environments. That's what you create in these coffee makers."

The Doctors offer a simple solution to keep your coffee maker clean.