ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 26, 2014) - 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 child'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
The authors were surprised to learn that milk and egg allergies 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 food allergy.
"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 allergic reactions, and their caregivers, need to know how to administer epinephrine. Having plans in place can ease a parent's worries."
For more information about food allergies, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000
allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in
Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and
congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the
common goals of patient care, education, advocacy and research. ACAAI
allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and
asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best
treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit
http://www.AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and
Howe L, Franxman T, Teich E, Greenhawt M. What affects quality of life among caregivers of food-allergic children? Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 2014 Apr;113:69-74. Retrieved July 14, 2014 from: http://www.annallergy.org/arti...-1206(14)00265-8/pdf.