WebMD Medical News
Laura J. Martin, MD
Nov. 29, 2010 -- Pediatricians play a key role in preventing and treating food-related allergic reactions among school-aged children, and can help implement plans concerning the way food allergies are managed in the school setting, according to a clinical report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Food allergies are estimated to affect about one in 25 school-aged children. Research suggests that as many as 18% of children with food allergies experience a reaction while in school, indicating that the school environment is an important place to help prevent and treat allergic responses. Food allergy is also a common trigger of anaphylaxis, a possibly life-threatening reaction to a particular food.
Published in the December issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the report includes:
“Partnerships with students, families, school nurses, school physicians, and school staff are important for individualizing effective and practical care plans,” the authors write.
The report did not include infants, toddlers, and preschool age children, since these children are cared for in a variety of settings and would require their own set of prevention and treatment guidelines.
According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, an advocacy group, an estimated 3 million children have food allergies. Eight foods account for 90% of all food allergies in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds and walnuts), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. Food allergies account for more than 300,000 ambulatory care visits per year among children.
SOURCES:Sicherer, S. Pediatrics, December 2010; vol 126: pp 1232-1239.Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.
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