Peanuts don't panic parents as much as milk and eggs

It's tough being the parent of a child with food allergies. Constant vigilance is needed for everything your child eats, when a single food item containing a hidden ingredient can be fatal. Although worry is a factor for anyone caring for a child with food allergies, according to a study published in the July issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), there is increased anxiety and strain for caregivers of children allergic to milk and eggs.

The study examined 305 caregivers of children allergic to milk, egg, peanut or tree nut – the 4 most common food allergies. The caregivers were asked about details of the children's most severe food reaction, as well as information about the caregiver's quality of life. Researchers found caregivers who understood their 's reaction to offending foods had a higher quality of life. If they knew exactly what foods could give their child an allergic reaction, they were less likely to be anxious and stressed.

The authors were surprised to learn that milk and were the most worrisome for caregivers.

"It's assumed peanut and tree allergies are the most severe, and therefore it may be presumed they would cause the most strain for caregivers" said allergist Laura Howe, MD, lead study author and ACAAI member. "But because eggs and milk are everywhere, and used to prepare so many dishes, caregivers with children allergic to those two ingredients feel more worried and anxious."

Only 64 percent of caregivers accurately perceived the severity of their child's reaction. More than 15 percent over-perceived their child's reaction severity and 19 percent under-perceived the reaction severity. Caregivers had significant concerns regarding their ability to help in the event of a reaction, and also that others wouldn't understand the seriousness of their child's .

"It is important for those who care for food-allergic children to work with an allergist to determine exactly what foods their child is allergic to, and how to respond in an emergency situation," said allergist Michael Foggs, MD, ACAAI president. "Parents need to have a clear plan of action in case their child eats a food they shouldn't. Children with a history of severe , and their , need to know how to administer epinephrine. Having plans in place can ease a parent's worries."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

You can have a food allergy, and eat it too

Nov 08, 2013

Have food allergies? If you answered yes, you know the best way to prevent a severe allergic reaction is to totally avoid the offending food. But according to a presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American ...

An egg a day to keep allergies away

Nov 09, 2012

Avoiding sweet treats like pumpkin bread and cookies this holiday season might not be necessary for children with egg allergies. New studies presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual ...

Egg-allergic children now have no barriers to flu shot

Oct 01, 2013

All children should have flu shots, even if they have an egg allergy, and it's now safe to get them without special precautions. This finding is from the latest update on the safety of the flu vaccine for allergic patients, ...

Recommended for you

Study unlocks basis of key immune protein's two-faced role

6 hours ago

A Brigham and Women's Hospital-led team has identified a long sought-after partner for a key immune protein, called TIM-3, that helps explain its two-faced role in the immune system—sometimes dampening it, other times stimulating ...

Profilin can induce severe food-allergic reactions

Nov 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Profilins are complete food allergens in food-allergic patient populations that are exposed to high levels of grass pollen, according to a study published in the December issue of Allergy.

Structured education program beneficial for anaphylaxis

Nov 21, 2014

(HealthDay)—A structured education intervention improves knowledge and emergency management for patients at risk for anaphylaxis and their caregivers, according to a study published online Nov. 19 in Allergy.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.