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Nut-allergy sufferers face prejudice -- new study
Date:8/15/2011

Parents of nut-allergy sufferers face hostility and scepticism in trying to find safe environments for their children, a new study has found.

Researchers found that parents are routinely made to feel by friends and even family that their child's nut allergy is a 'frivolous and self indulgent fad invented and maintained by attention-seeking people.'

Children in the study described how they were bullied by classmates saying, "I've got nuts and I'm gonna touch you!"

The research by a team from the University of Leicester, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Children's Allergy Clinic at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has found that children suffering from potentially deadly nut allergies often struggle with negative attitudes and unhelpful food labelling.

Funded by Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA), the researchers interviewed 26 families about the techniques and strategies they use to cope in various situations. Their findings, published in the journal Chronic Illness, point to a need to raise awareness of the dangers associated with nut allergy.

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods from the University of Leicester Department of Health Sciences said: "Nut allergy was a frightening experience for most families. One mother described how her son's eyes "swelled up completely so you could hardly see his pupils.," . This child, like many others in the study, had to be rushed to hospital after his first reaction.

Parents in the study described taking multiple precautions to ensure their child was safe, including creating nut-free environments at home. But when they tried to get others to cooperate in keeping their child safe from nuts, they could encounter hostility and scepticism. "People's approaches ranged from scepticism, disbelief and in some cases complete lack of care, which could put the child in danger," said author Dr Emma Pitchforth.

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Contact: Lisa Hallam
lh214@le.ac.uk
44-116-252-2267
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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