A team of researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and four other institutions have found that young children with documented or likely allergies to milk and/or eggs, whose families were instructed on how to avoid these and other foods, still experienced allergic reactions at a rate of almost once per year. Of severe cases, less than a third received epinephrine, a medication used to counter anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic condition.
The findings are from an ongoing Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR) study that has been following more than 500 children with food allergies since infancy. The results of the three-year study appear online in the June 25 issue of Pediatrics.
Nearly 72 percent of the participants experienced a reaction, with 1,171 allergic reactions in total. Allergic reactions were attributed to such factors as a lack of close supervision, misreading ingredient labels, cross-contamination, or errors in food preparation. Participating families had been given written and verbal food avoidance instruction, and written prescriptions for self-injectable epinephrine, beforehand.
"This study reinforces the importance of educating parents and other caregivers of children with food allergy about avoiding allergenic foods and using epinephrine to treat severe food-allergic reactions," said Scott Sicherer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "We must work harder to thoroughly educate parents about the details of avoidance and when and how to correctly use epinephrine to manage this life-threatening condition."