Do you know your child with food allergies is a target of bullying?

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Many children in the US suffer from food allergies.  Food allergy can include adverse reaction to the gluten, which is a common ingredient in wheat, rye, barley, etc.  Earlier this year, scientists were able to isolate three main peptides that were responsible for allergy to gluten.  It is hard enough on the children, who suffer from food allergies as they have to be careful of what they are eating and on top of that latest survey shows that these children are target of bullies in schools.  The study revealed that about 24% of children are bullied, teased or harassed because of their food allergies.

About the study
The study was lead by researchers at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.  The study involved:

  • Survey of 353 teens, adults up to age 25.  Majority of the survey was completed by parents and caregivers of children with food allergies.

The findings are published in the October issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Results of study

  • About 24% of the participants had been bullied, teased or harassed because of their allergies.
  • 86% of children reported abuse more than once, among those who reported bullying, It was reported that verbal abuse was the most common form of bullying.
  • 82% of these episodes occurred at school and 80% took place among classmates.
  • 79% said the bullying and harassing were solely related to a food allergy whereas others reported being harassed for having to carry medication for their food allergy.
  • 44% % children had been waved food that they were allergic to, to their face.
  • 18% reported teachers or school staff had teased children with food allergy.
  • None of the children in the study suffered an allergic reaction as a result of bullying...



    or harassing.

It was also reported that the peanut allergy affected 81% of the group; 84% of the group had multiple food allergies. Fifty-five percent were between the ages of 4 and 11; 61% were boys.

“Food allergies affect an estimated 12 million Americans, including 3 million children. These children face daily challenges in managing their food allergies,” says allergist Scott Sicherer, MD, co-author of the study and a researcher at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

As noted by Dr. Sicherer that many children struggle with food allergy.  The children that are subject to bullying can have serious psychological affect on their health as indicated by Dr. Sicherer Sadly, this study shows they may also be bullied about their food allergy, a medical condition that is potentially fatal.”  I was surprised to know that even teachers and school staff is involved in teasing children.  You would think the teachers should provide support to the children with food allergy.  The bullying need attention from school authorities and measure should be put in to make sure children feel comfortable going to school.

Source: LA Times

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