Babies with Food Allergies at Risk

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This article appeared in the Orlando Sentinel 6/27/12

Babies with life-threatening allergic reactions to milk or egg often don’t get prompt treatment, despite their caretakers having been given the medicine to counter the attacks, a government-funded study shows.

Researchers followed more than 500 infants with know or suspected food allergies for three years. The families had been told about the allergies and had been given an injector containing the drug epinephrine, which can stall an allergic attack.

Still, as many as 72 percent of the children had an allergic reaction during the study. And 11 percent who had severe attacks involving breathing trouble, hives and swelling – less than one-third received epinephrine.

The children who should have received the drug injection did not die, luckily, but it is a risk when the reaction is not treated promptly, said Dr. Sicherer, an expert in childhood allergies at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

“We need to emphasis for the families that this is a safe medication”, he said. ” If they are in doubt, they should give it anyway. Nothing bad will happen from that.”

About 8 percent of children in the U.S. has food allergies and studies show the number is rising.

The result comes from a long-running study of children from five cities in the U.S.

At the outset, the children were 3 to 15 months old and had known allergies to milk and /or eggs.

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Debbie Newell