Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are The Dangers Of Childhood Food Allergy Exaggerated?

Date:
September 1, 2006
Source:
British Medical Journal
Summary:
Two child health experts go head to head in this week's British Medical Journal over whether the dangers of childhood food allergy are exaggerated. Professor Allan Colver from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne believes that the dangers are overstated, and that the increasing prescription of adrenaline injector kits fuels anxiety rather than saving lives.

Two child health experts go head to head in this week’s BMJ over whether the dangers of childhood food allergy are exaggerated.

Related Articles


Professor Allan Colver from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne believes that the dangers are overstated, and that the increasing prescription of adrenaline injector kits fuels anxiety rather than saving lives.

Food allergy is often thought to be more dangerous and frightening than pneumonia, asthma, or diabetes, he writes. In reality, the risk of death is very small. Eight children under 16 years died from food allergy between 1990 and 2000 in the UK. That is one death per 16 million children each year. Yet childhood food allergy is being diagnosed more often and the number of prescribed adrenaline kits has greatly increased.

A diagnosis of food allergy creates much anxiety for all who care for the child, so it is important to get the diagnosis right, take sensible measures to reduce risk, and reassess regularly to check whether the child has grown out of their allergy, he says.

It is unclear what proportion of children with food allergy should be prescribed an adrenaline kit. The main argument in its favour is that reactions are best treated within a few minutes rather than waiting for medical assistance. But Colver suggests that they cause unnecessary anxiety, may not prevent death, and should be prescribed only when a diagnosis of food allergy has been confidently established.

The dangers of food allergies are not exaggerated, argues Professor Jonathan Hourihane from University College Cork, Ireland. Food allergy is common – 2% of adults and up to 6% of preschool children are affected and, although deaths are rare, other reactions are almost inevitable over time.

No tests are available to predict who will or will not have a severe allergic reaction, so management consists of empowering patients and providing rescue drugs. Delay in use of these drugs is associated with a worse outcome in severe reactions.

Proper management in allergy clinics means that most patients never have to use these drugs, but it is wrong to say that they are not needed, he says. Nobody is advocating “more general use” of adrenaline. What is advocated is increased availability of adrenaline kits for people who might need to use them. They should not be withheld because of the medical uncertainty surrounding allergy.

Food allergy is here to stay, he writes. The disease is a killer (though rarely); it can erode or inhibit normal formative experiences in childhood, and it impairs a child’s quality of life. Let’s get allergy services out of the academic centres and into the community, which is where food allergy is really “dangerous,” he concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

British Medical Journal. "Are The Dangers Of Childhood Food Allergy Exaggerated?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060901192010.htm>.
British Medical Journal. (2006, September 1). Are The Dangers Of Childhood Food Allergy Exaggerated?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060901192010.htm
British Medical Journal. "Are The Dangers Of Childhood Food Allergy Exaggerated?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060901192010.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins