Nut-allergy sufferers face prejudice -- new study
Parents of nut-allergy sufferers face hostility and scepticism in trying to find safe environments for their children, a new study has found.
Researchers found that parents are routinely made to feel by friends and even family that their child's nut allergy is a 'frivolous and self indulgent fad invented and maintained by attention-seeking people.'
Children in the study described how they were bullied by classmates saying, "I've got nuts and I'm gonna touch you!"
The research by a team from the University of Leicester, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Children's Allergy Clinic at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has found that children suffering from potentially deadly nut allergies often struggle with negative attitudes and unhelpful food labelling.
Funded by Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA), the researchers interviewed 26 families about the techniques and strategies they use to cope in various situations. Their findings, published in the journal Chronic Illness, point to a need to raise awareness of the dangers associated with nut allergy.
Professor Mary Dixon-Woods from the University of Leicester Department of Health Sciences said: "Nut allergy was a frightening experience for most families. One mother described how her son's eyes "swelled up completely so you could hardly see his pupils.," . This child, like many others in the study, had to be rushed to hospital after his first reaction.
Parents in the study described taking multiple precautions to ensure their child was safe, including creating nut-free environments at home. But when they tried to get others to cooperate in keeping their child safe from nuts, they could encounter hostility and scepticism. "People's approaches ranged from scepticism, disbelief and in some cases complete lack of care, which could put the child in danger," said author Dr Emma Pitchforth.
One parent said receiving birthday party invitations was a "nightmare" because other children's parents think nut allergy "is a bit faddy," and don't realize it can be life-threatening. Other parents described incidents where they suspected that people including family and friends had deliberately given their child nuts to test if the allergy was real.
Nut allergy was a source of ongoing anxiety for families, who can find themselves socially isolated and excluded. "Families felt they could never fully rely on anyone, including friends and relatives", said Janet Willars, who interviewed the families. "Despite their best intentions, friends and families were not always able to give full attention to the child's safe-keeping."
Vague packaging on foods and uninformed service staff at some restaurants and supermarkets all added to families' problems. It was sometimes so hard to find out whether food contained nuts that families resorted to cooking every meal from scratch and never eating out or accepting invitations to social occasions, say the researchers.
The research team includes Dr David Luyt, a consultant who diagnoses and treats children with allergies in Leicester. He recommends better public education about the dangers of nut allergy. "These parents and children see a society that is willing and able to accommodate vegetarians and many others with dietary restrictions, but not them," he said. "This research is a wake-up call for improvement in food production and labelling to help families and children maintain a safe environment and reduce stress and difficulties," he added.
Provided by University of Leicester
- Loyola pediatrician provides Halloween tips for nut allergy sufferers Oct 13, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Canberra parents lack allergy awareness: Study Mar 17, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Many restaurant staff are undertrained and misinformed about food allergies Apr 14, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Peanut allergies overstated, study finds May 16, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Students with food allergies often not prepared Aug 06, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
The individualisation of drug treatments to support patients to self-manage their conditions is a concept that sits at the heart of policy, but a recent study in BMJ Open shows that there is no concrete defini ...
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Fun in the summer often means kids spending time in the water, whether at a pool, the beach, a lake or river. A pediatric safety expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) stresses proper training ...
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
A new way of interpreting information from a low-tech, age-old method used in pregnancy care is expected to more accurately identify potential health issues for mothers and babies.
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Artemio Martinez balanced his corpulent frame on a stool in a Mexico City street taco stand, downing a sweet soda and eating a final pork-filled corn tortilla.
Health 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
People eating at fast food restaurants largely underestimate the calorie content of meals, especially large ones, according to a paper published today in BMJ.
Health 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers from London's Kingston University have begun a two-year study which could help prolong the lives of people with colorectal tumours.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus - a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering - could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization ...
53 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Ernie Pyle – an iconic war correspondent in World War II – reportedly said "There are no atheists in foxholes." A new joint study between two brothers at Cornell and Virginia Wesleyan found that only ...
56 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Saudi Arabia said Friday it would send samples taken from animals possibly infected with a deadly SARS-like virus to the United States for testing in a bid to find the source of disease.
33 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |