Food allergies in children cause anxiety and loneliness, have dramatic impact on their quality of life

Allergy is often downplayed as a minor problem, but in reality the life of an allergic person can be hell, especially for children. A new study by the Centre for the Study and Treatment of Allergies and Food Intolerances at the hospital of the University of Padua in Italy has found that 23 % of allergic children are no longer curious to try new foods even though they are fed up with their own limited diet. One child in ten also gives up physical exercise for fear of exercise-induced anaphylactic shock. Seventeen percent of allergic children never go to a party or a picnic with friends, while 24% are forced to take along their own food.

The burden of having to censor the foods one eats is particularly hard for naturally curious and sociable and active children, added to which the need to carry life-saving devices at all times, such as an epinephrine auto-injectors in case of severe anaphylactic shock. Living in constant fear takes its toll on ones so young, on their development and well being.

Although the mechanisms of immuno-tolerance are still being researched, the EAACI has issued recommendations which may help to prevent the spread of allergies, such as asking parents not to smoke, encouraging higher consumption of fruits, vegetable, anti-oxidants and vitamin D.

The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

First published in February 2011

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