Severe allergic reactions in infants often untreated
Severe allergic reactions among babies with food allergies are common, but caregivers fail to give potentially life-saving injections when infants are at risk of arrested breathing in about two-thirds of cases, U.S. researchers have found.
To find out about the frequency, circumstances and responses to food allergies among infants, researchers studied 512 infants aged three to 15 months who were diagnosed with allergies to milk, eggs or peanuts or likely had such an allergy.
Over three years, reactions were reported in more than half of the children.
“There was a high frequency of reactions caused by accidental and non-accidental exposures,” Dr. Scott Sicherer, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and his co-authors concluded.
“Undertreatment of severe reactions with epinephrine was a substantial problem.”
About one in 10 reactions were severe, and of those, only 30 per cent were treated with epinephrine, a potential life saver.
“One thing we can learn from the study is the importance of reminding parents and caregivers [on] reading food labels, being extra careful in food preparation and not being afraid to administer epinephrine if necessary if a child is in distress and needs to be treated because of a severe reaction,” said CBC’s medical specialist Dr. Karl Kabasele.