Negligence Not an Option

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According to a 2012 news article by Jennifer Goodwin, a Healthday Reporter for US News, a recent study exposed the lack of vigilance among families aware of allergic tendencies in their kids. The study found that more than 70% of children suffer reactions even after they have been diagnosed as allergic to a particular protein, and 11% of these reactions are life threatening.

Children are most frequently cited as having food allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts and it has become common occurrence for parents to misread labels and mistakenly mix traces of food in preparation containing one of these substances. Dr. James Fagin, director of the Pediatric Asthma Center at Cohen Children’s Hospital of New York remarked that this finding of negligence “tells us we are not doing a good enough job educating families about food allergies and avoidance techniques.”

The study tracked over 500 infants deemed allergic to a certain protein between the ages of 3 to 15 months over the course of three years, spanning five U.S. metropolitan areas. Results found that 72% had at least one reaction, while 53% more than one.

However, in half of the cases, the allergy inductive source was given to the child by a non-immediate family members. This suggests that the awareness among the child’s day to day contact networks need to be more aware and cautious, or the parents need to be better about disseminating the condition of their child.

11% were deemed severe reactions, meaning epinephrine should have been administered. Cases where the child experiences wheezing, coughing, labored breathing, swelling or even vomiting are sure signs of a severe attack where the epinephrine adrenaline needs to be administered. Only 30% of this 11% demographic were administered epinephrine adrenaline according to the study conclusions.

In the U.S., an estimated 8% of children are allergic to at least one food, and a great number allergic to multiple. Studies now suggest that the rate of allergies among children is increasing. Proper vigilance requires that not only a parent with an allergic child carries epinephrine, but that their relatives, teachers counselors etc. are all not only aware of the issue but have discretionary access to a source of epinephrine when the child is not with his/her parents or legal guardian.

Dr. David Fleischer, an associate doctor at the National Jewish Health of Denver posits that “once parents see how quickly epinephrine works and how little it hurts, they are much more willing to give it the next time.” However, this infers that parents need to be accountable to proper training in vigilance towards reactions and administration of the epinephrine injector.

 

 

Goodwin, Jennifer. “Study reveals lack of allergy awareness.” US News & World Report. November 4th 2012. Web. April 3rd 2014.

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