Nut allergy seen as a 'fad', say Leicester scientists

Posted by pt91 at Aug 15, 2011 05:25 PM |
Potentially life-threatening and a constant risk – but are we taking nut allergies seriously enough?
Nut allergy seen as a 'fad', say Leicester scientists

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods

A new study published today lifts the lid on attitudes faced by nut-allergy sufferers in the UK and reveals that their affliction is often seen as a ‘frivolous and self indulgent fad.’

Led by Professor Mary Dixon-Woods of our Department of Health Sciences, the research revealed a range of negative attitudes faced by families including a nut-allergic child, from school bullying to even deliberately giving a child nuts to test if the allergy was real. 

Researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Children’s Allergy Clinic at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust also worked on the study, which was funded by Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association (MAARA),

The researchers interviewed 26 families about the techniques and strategies they use to cope in various situations. Their findings, published in the journal Chronic Illness, point to a need to raise awareness of the dangers associated with nut allergy.

The research not only highlights the need for better public education about the dangers of nut allergy, but also issues within the food production and catering industries. Vague packaging on foods and uninformed service staff at some restaurants and supermarkets add to the problems that parents must face when ensuring that their children live in a nut-free environment.