Thursday, January 14, 2016

Attention parents of kids with food allergies

Parents of food-allergic kids who are prescribed an Epi-Pen, an auto injector of epinephrine, which can stop sometimes fatal reactions, should be given detailed instructions for when and how to use it--but often are not.

This from a study at Northwestern. An associate professor of pediatrics at the medical school, Ruchi Gupta, MD, says this information should he "hammered home" at every visit to the pediatrician and/or allergist.

The study, in the January 12 issues of  the J of Allergy and Clin Immunology, said all caregivers near the child should have this info.

Eight percent of the kids in the US have food allergies, peanuts being the most common, followed by milk, eggs, and tree nuts.

Yet, in the study, fewer than 70% of the parents recalled their allergists explaining the auto-injector and fewer than 40% of their pediatricians.

Not all doctors prescribe the injectors for children, although this is part of accepted treatment guidelines.

Physicians need more training in how to present this information--and parents need to ask for it. Doctors also need to ask parents to repeat back what they were told.

When to give, how to give, should the child do it him or herself? Do school officials know all this?

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