According to recent research, one in nine food allergy reactions suffered by children may not be accidental. Such reactions may be prompted by parents and other caretakers who are purposefully exposing their children to known allergens.
The authors of the recent study, published by thePediatricsjournal, said that they do not fully understand why parents would intentionally cause allergic reactions in their children. While the researchers found that most allergic reactions caused by food were accidental, they also noted that some appeared to be intentional.
Why Expose Children to Known Allergens?
The lead author of the study, Dr. David Fleischer of Denver’s National Jewish Health, commented “In terms of purposeful exposures, those percentages haven’t been reported before.” He speculated on the reason for the intentional exposure to allergens: “Maybe parents were testing their children to see if they had outgrown their allergy. There’s going to be a follow-up study, going back to families and asking exactly why caretakers were giving these foods on purpose.”
The study also found that more than 50% of the infants involved had more than one allergic reaction, even though parents were already aware of their child’s allergy. The authors suggest that their findings show that children with allergies are still at risk even after their allergy has been diagnosed and they are told to avoid a particular allergen.
The new study is the first of its kind to look at the frequency of food allergy reactions after parents were advised of their child’s diagnosis and counseled to avoid feeding their child the food in question.