Health

More food allergy education needed

Schools should consider risks regarding food intolerances and be prepared for inadvertent exposures.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted July 12, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Chicago -- Mohamed Kahn, MD, a radiation oncologist from Ann Arbor, Mich., and his wife, a lawyer, have waged an uphill battle to make the local public school a safe place for their children, who have allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts. In the past two years, the couple has hired lawyers and brought in their own doctors to prepare the school for the children's particular needs.

"I can't tell you the stress that this gives parents," he said. "The disempowerment that you have over the ability to take care of your child once they enter the school system is shocking."

It is because of stories like this and acknowledgement that dangerous food allergies are on the rise that the AMA, at its Annual Meeting in Chicago last month, recommended that schools provide more student and teacher education on food allergies. Schools also should have guidelines to deal with food allergy emergencies and anaphylaxis kits on the premises with at least one staff member trained in their use.

"For reasons which remain unclear, allergies have increased in incidence and intensity," said Louis Kraus, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and delegate from Highland Park, Ill. "Sometimes it's a tremendous battle for parents to be able to set up a safe place for their children to be educated."

The new AMA policy also recognized that airplanes can be dangerous for people with food allergies. Commercial airlines are required to have medical emergency supplies on board, but physicians who have dealt with food allergy incidents say they are often complicated by personnel's lack of knowledge.

Linda Ford, MD, an allergist and immunologist and delegate from Papillion, Neb., once responded to an airplane emergency that was reported as a cardiac event but turned out to be a severe allergic reaction. "I knew there was epinephrine on the plane, but the person did not know where it was. We finally found the medical kit and were able to take care of this person, but I felt that the training on the airlines needed to be better."

Back to top


External links

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (link)

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases information on food allergy and intolerances (link)

Back to top


RELATED CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story