Adolescents coping with food allergies are suffering high rates of adverse reactions including anaphylaxis, according to a study recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
The study, conducted by Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), queried a random population of thousands of students 10-14 years old regarding their experiences for the previous year. Of the respondents, 547 were identified with possible IgE mediated food allergies.
44% of the adolescents with food allergies reported they had an adverse reaction the prior year, with 9.7% meeting the criteria for anaphylaxis. Of the anaphylactic episodes, epinephrine auto-injectors were used only 43% of the time.
Most reactions occurred at home (40%) followed by restaurants (17%) and school (9%). Peanuts, cashews, and walnuts were the most common triggers accounting for 372 reactions reported by children and parents.
Current or resolved asthma or allergies to two or more foods were associated with higher risk factors for reactions.
“This study highlights the alarming frequency of adverse food reactions among adolescents, and the need for specific management and education strategies aimed at allergen avoidance in this high-risk age group,” said senior author Professor Katie Allen, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the institute.
To that end, we at SnackSafely.com recommend two videos featuring high school students for your young teen, your family and your child’s friends. The material is presented by high school students in school settings and explain the mechanics of food allergies, the need for avoidance, the symptoms of anaphylaxis and the need for epinephrine in anaphylactic emergencies.
Warning: You should view these videos first to determine whether they are appropriate for your child!
The first is the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis’ Education Video sponsored by the “School Nuts” program at the Murdoch Institute and is geared specifically to adolescents:
The second video, “High School Students Talk: Food Allergy” is a bit more mature and geared to teens of all ages:
Consider using the videos above to foster discussions with your teen regarding the safety measures they must employ as they become more independent.