Peanut-allergic pediatric patients are far more likely to be exposed to peanut allergens in their own homes than at school, study findings published in Clinical and Translational Allergy suggest.
“Research conducted over the past 25 years has estimated that the annual rate of accidental exposure in children with peanut and/or nut allergy ranges between 3% and 50%,” noted Sabrine Cherkaoui, MD, of the University of Montreal in Canada, and colleagues.
To examine the annual rate of accidental exposure in children with peanut and/or nut allergy, and to describe the severity, management, and location of these accidental exposures, the investigators surveyed 2,759 children with clinician-confirmed peanut allergy. Of the patients surveyed, 70.4% (n=1941) responded.
Patients were mailed at questionnaire at study entry and every two years, starting in 2010. The scientists collected details on accidental exposures — including food ingested, the signs, symptoms, location, and treatment. Parents also reported on demographics, the allergic child’s history of atopy, and the child’s initial reaction to peanut.
Of the severe allergic reactions reported by the participants, only 42% of reactions were evaluated by a medical professional; one in six reactions went untreated, reported the scientists. For moderate reactions, medical attention was sought only 25% of the time.
Nearly 40% of reported exposures occurred in the child’s own home. Other people’s homes and restaurants accounted for 14.3% and 9.3% of exposures, respectively.
“We discovered that children are most at risk of exposure in their own homes. Furthermore, when children do have a moderate or severe reaction to an exposure, parents and medical professionals often do not know how to react appropriately,” said Cherkaoui.
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