Study: Allergic reactions to food still common in children

USA Today reports, “Even when parents and caregivers are aware of infants’ food allergies and have been instructed in avoiding potentially dangerous trigger foods, allergic reactions still occur, the result of both accidental and non-accidental exposures,” according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Researchers found that “accidental exposures from unintentional ingestion, label-reading errors and cross-contamination resulted in 87% of 834 allergic reactions to milk, eggs or peanuts in the study.”

Just half “of the accidental reactions were from food provided by parents, highlighting the importance of educating all caregivers – grandparents, siblings, babysitters and teachers – about food allergies, he says.”

On its website, ABC News reports, “Another finding was that at least 70 percent of the 500 infants followed in the study had at least one allergic reaction over the study period, and more than 50 percent of the infants had more than one reaction – despite the fact that parents or caregivers had already been informed of the child’s allergy.”

The CBS News “HealthPop” blog reports that “another concerning finding reflected treatment gaps for kids with severe allergies.”

Approximately “11 percent of the allergic reactions in study were severe, but only about 30 percent of those reactions were treated with epinephrine, or an EpiPen. That means for 70 percent of the severe allergic reactions, kids didn’t receive treatment that one day might be needed to save their lives.”

The Time “Healthland” blog reports that, according to study co-author Dr. Scott Sicherer, a professor of pediatrics and chief of the division of allergy and immunology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, “The lesson here is that we as doctors need to make sure we talk to families about the safety of the medication,” as “[epinephrine] reverses all the severe symptoms and gives you time to get to the emergency room before it gets worse.”

MedPage Today reports, “The most common factors associated with not using epinephrine were lack of recognition of the severity of the reaction (47%), epinephrine not being available (23.1%), and fears about administering the drug (12.3%).”

WebMD reports that “Sicherer recommends the National Institutes of Health’s Consortium of Food Allergy Research web site as an educational resource for parents and other caregivers.”

HealthDay points out that “studies suggest food allergies are increasing in prevalence. Milk, egg and peanuts are among the most common foods that can cause allergic reactions in kids.”

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