Although spring is commonly associated with allergy season, back-to-school time can be just as bad for many suffering from allergies, especially children. NPR’s Tell Me More today focused on the challenges of keeping kids with food or seasonal allergies safe.
During the program, Ruchi Gupta, MD, a physician at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago (whose daughter has a peanut allergy), talked about how people are becoming more sensitive to the seriousness of food allergies:
Food is everywhere – it’s part of everything kids do in society and so it’s so hard to protect your kid from something so common as nuts, or milk or wheat. But what’s great now is the awareness is increasing so much, and I think once other parents with kids without food allergies understand how life threatening it can be… how severe a food allergy can be; they are understanding and are willing to make accommodations for their kids and I think that’s happening a lot more.
Gupta went on to discuss her recent study on food allergies, which showed that as many as 6 million kids (that’s about two in every grade-school classroom) are sufferers. The study also found that Asian-Americans and African-Americans were more likely to get food allergies but less likely to go get a formal diagnosis.
The full program, which also highlighted ways to help kids cope with their allergies so they don’t feel singled out, embarrassed or upset, is worth a listen.
Previously: Peanut bans: An overreaction to food allergies?, What’s causing all those food allergies?, Experts debate the “squishy science” of food allergies and Stanford study shows lack of criteria for diagnosing food allergies
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