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Students with food allergies often not prepared
Date:8/5/2008

ied themselves as having an allergy to a food said they always avoided the food.

About two-thirds could verify that somebody close to them on campus was aware that they were food-allergic. About 60 percent could verify that either a roommate, house mate or suite mate was aware of his or her food allergy.

The findings that cause the most concern, says Marc S. McMorris, M.D., is that only 43 percent who identified themselves as food-allergic could verify that they had in their possession an emergency medication to treat a reaction, and only about 20 percent had self-injectable epinephrine the recommended treatment available to treat a reaction.

"These students are taking unnecessary risks," says McMorris, medical director of Food Allergy Service at the U-M Health System. "There are serious issues that need to be addressed in terms of educating these young adults that it is of utmost importance to not only maintain emergency medication but to have it with you at all times."

At schools and child-care facilities, researchers found that 43 percent of food-allergic children have had at least one reaction at school, and nearly two-thirds of these occurred in children in kindergarten or younger. The finding suggests that that these individuals might be at more risk than older children, McMorris says.

Only one in five of the schools these children attended had a peanut or tree nut free policy. Less than half of these facilities had staff that were trained to recognize an ongoing allergic reaction or were trained to treat a reaction, though the rate was much higher among schools with full-time nurses on staff.

Like on college campuses, the use of self-injectable epinephrine to treat a reaction was irregular. While nearly three-quarters of the food-allergic children had epinephrine available, less than one-third received the treatment. Among the group that received it, one-third received it at a delay of 15 minutes or gre
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Contact: Katie Vloet
kgazella@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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