Relying on data culled from the Australian HealthNuts study of 5,300 children, researchers used questionnaires submitted by the families of 260 6-year-olds detailing recent adverse food reactions. The results were eye-opening.
Among food-allergic children, 44.6% reported an adverse food reaction in the last 12 months and 10.8% reported an anaphylactic reaction. Only half of these were recognized as anaphylaxis by the parents. Epinephrine auto-injectors were administered in only 25% of the recognized anaphylactic episodes — i.e. one eighth of the total anaphylactic episodes.
Nut allergy was associated with a reduced risk of having an adverse reaction. Trends showed that adverse reactions were more likely in children with at least one parent born in Asia compared to both parents born in Australia, and in children with three or more food allergies compared to children with a single food allergy
The researchers determined that anaphylaxis was poorly recognized and epinephrine auto-injectors were not used appropriately. They concluded improved regular education on the prevention, recognition and management of adverse food reactions is urgently needed.