Kids’ Food Allergies Damper Dining Out
Study Shows Children With Peanut Allergies Often Don’t Get Lifesaving Medication
WebMD News Archive
Many Parents Didn't Alert Restaurant continued...
"We call this a chef card," Sicherer says. Many experts
recommend typing up small business-size cards featuring the person's name and
food allergy and all offending ingredients, with a request that the kitchen
leave them off any dish you order.
As for who they talked to, the survey showed that most parents (95%)
informed the waiter or waitress about their child's allergies. Fifty-six
percent told the manager, and 44% informed the chef or kitchen staff.
Wesley Burkes, MD, chairman of the committee that chose what studies to
highlight at the AAAAI meeting and a child allergy specialist at Duke
University, says that talking to the chef or cook is always a good idea.
"Talk to someone who really knows what is in the meal," he says.
"Say your kid is allergic to cheese. You need to spell out that eating a
burger that has been prepared on the same grill as a cheeseburger could evoke a
life-threatening reaction," Sicherer adds.
- 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,