Kids’ Food Allergies Damper Dining Out
Study Shows Children With Peanut Allergies Often Don’t Get Lifesaving Medication
- About one in five families said they never ate out or ordered fast food
because of their kid's allergies.
- Only 71% were aware that restaurant chains and corporate web sites often
provide allergen information, and only 26% knew that 800 numbers offer allergy
The survey also showed that restaurants can improve their notification of
allergenic ingredients, Sicherer says. Advisory statements such as "menu
item may be cooked in the same oil as an item containing the allergen"
don't help much, the parents reported.
Also, 48% of parents found allergen information "extremely
inconsistent" from restaurant to restaurant.
For the second study, Nha Nguyen Luu, MD, and colleagues at McGill
University Health Care in Montreal, Canada, surveyed 271 parents of kids with
Overall, 127 of their children suffered 148 reactions over an average
one-year period. Seventy-eight were considered moderate, and 19 were severe.
Such attacks are usually rapid and overwhelming, and include symptoms such as
nausea, vomiting, severe,
high-pitched wheezing, breathing difficulty, hives, facial swelling, and loss of consciousness.
Results showed that even though an epinephrine shot can slow down or stop a
life-threatening allergic reaction, it was used in only 22 of these 97 cases,
"All these kids had diagnosed peanut allergies, so they should have had
a device for self-injecting epinephrine (commonly known as EpiPen or
Ana-Kit)," she tells WebMD.
"We don't know if they never got the prescription, they didn't fill the
prescription, or in my best guess, were scared to inject their kids," Luu
Epinephrine shots do have side effects, chiefly palpitations and flushing,
but kids generally tolerate them well, she says.