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More Vigilance Needed to Protect Kids With Food Allergies
Date:6/25/2012

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Many young children who are allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts have serious reactions after accidental exposures caused by misread labels, cross-contact between foods or mistakes in food preparation, a new study finds.

The reactions occur in spite of parents being aware of the allergies and educated about the potential seriousness of them -- a finding that experts say highlights the need for even greater vigilance to protect children from life-threatening exposures.

"The rate of reaction was higher than most of us would have anticipated," said Dr. James Fagin, director of the Pediatric Asthma Center at Cohen Children's Hospital of New York, who was not involved with the research. "It tells us we are not doing a good enough job educating the families about food allergies and avoidance techniques."

The study tracked more than 500 infants with food allergies aged 3 months to 15 months from five U.S. metropolitan areas for three years. During that time, 72 percent of the kids had at least one reaction. More than half of the kids (53 percent) had more than one reaction.

In half of the reactions, the foods were given by people other than the child's parents, such as relatives, teachers or other caregivers. Experts say parents need to make sure anyone they're leaving their child with -- from day care to schools to family -- understands the seriousness of the allergy, how to avoid accidental exposure and how to treat a reaction if it occurs.

"We found a high rate of allergic reactions to three foods in the young children we were following," said study author Dr. David Fleischer, an associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver. "Over half came from non-parental figures. Other caretakers need to be educated on reading labels."

The study appears online June 25 and will be published in the July issue of '/>"/>

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