Child's Food Allergy Can Affect Entire Family

Study confirms there are adverse effects on daily routines, activities and stress levels

THURSDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- A child's food allergy often has a disruptive effect on family life, with half of families reporting an impact on their social activities and one in 10 families saying the allergy prompted them to home-school, according to a study published in the March issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Mary E. Bollinger, D.O., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues surveyed 87 caregivers of food-allergic children to evaluate their perception of the impact of their child's food allergy on family activities.

More than 60 percent said the allergy had a significant impact on food preparation. About half (49 percent) said the allergy affected family social activities, increased stress levels (41 percent) and affected the child's school attendance (34 percent). Ten percent of caregivers chose to home school their children to avoid allergen exposure.

"Findings from this study indicate that a diagnosis of food allergy has a significant influence on the child's and family's activities, resulting in potentially serious implications for the child's psychosocial development and the psychological well-being of the family," state the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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