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Ask Dr. Nandi: Some parents expose kids with food allergies to unnecessary risks

Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 17:45:05-05

Anyone with children would agree that as parents, we all want to do the best for them. But when it comes to kids who suffer from food allergies, lots of mothers and fathers out there require more education.

That’s because a new study shows that parents of children with food allergies often engage in behaviors that put those kids at risk.

Out of 100 kids studied, 70 had an allergic reaction to food within the past year. Forty of those kids had more than one allergic reaction.

Most parents aren’t doing anything wrong on purpose. The authors of the study say these behaviors are usually the result of what they call “knowledge gaps and misconceptions.”

There’s a lot of bad information flying around out there about food allergies.

Some reasons for neglect might be financial in nature, as well. Poorer people might not be able to afford the doctors visits or epinephrine pens that are so essential in stopping a potentially deadly allergic reaction.

Still, some parents fed their kids the allergic food just to see if they were still allergic to it.

Obviously, this isn’t the best idea. Especially if you don’t have an epinephrine pen or other emergency medication around - which was another risky behavior researchers found some parents engaging in.

These people weren’t carrying around their kids’ medications. 

So what advice can I give to parents of kids with food allergies? Here are my prescriptions:

  1. Always read food labels so you can know what’s in a given product, even if you’ve bought it in the past. Never assume. 
  2. If you eat out, let the chef or host know that your child has a food allergy. 
  3. Never let your child leave home without medication. They should carry it with them at all times. 
  4. Make them wear a medical ID bracelet with all of the information about their food allergy just in case they become unconscious. 

A little education can go a long way to help kids with food allergies.