Written by By Taamera Eslami, CNN
Can allergies be life-threatening? A new study suggests so.
Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the data measured six potential warning signs in relation to the case of anaphylaxis — the life-threatening allergic reaction. These signs are measured in epinephrine, the medication to treat severe allergic reactions — be it through anaphylaxis or an asthma attack.
They included: a sudden increase in symptoms, allergies starting in a new area, a change in school location, some tardiness and the child experiencing a life-threatening reaction in class.
Can kids have peanut allergies?
It may be surprising, but peanuts are not the most common food allergies in the US. Dairy, fish, eggs and wheat are more common.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, around 1 in 5 school-aged children in the US (ages 6-12) has at least one food allergy. Of those, around 1 in 10 has severe allergies.
With another rise in school attendance season about to kick in, many parents are worried about their kids’ reactions to returning to school.
However, the new study is not entirely reassuring — it reveals that allergies can also crop up in other instances: the father of a child with asthma recently tweeted about the stress of the need to find a new school after having to explain to his child about peanut allergies.
However, and this is the great part of the study, it also concludes that children with allergies are no more likely to be allergic to some other food than children without allergies. In fact, experts say that most allergies are more intense for some compared to others.
Tips for keeping children safe
“Most children will become allergic to just a few foods. A lot of the time allergies are recognized by detecting a change in skin type, like swelling or redness, after ingestion of an allergy, says Dr. Jerry Lee, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente Bay Area.
Lee says that there are a few things parents can do to lessen the likelihood of their child developing a serious allergic reaction.
“No matter what food the child has allergy to, they can help protect themselves by washing their hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” Lee says. “Parents should also encourage their children to include foods from home in their diet. Keeping the child’s food supply as close to the home as possible can help keep the person more in control of their food choices.”