Food allergy is an adverse reaction to the ingestion of certain food items such as nuts, eggs, and cow’s milk. It affects all age groups but is particularly worrisome in children who may have severe or even fatal reactions. The incidence of food allergies is estimated to be approximately 4–6% among children up to 18 years of age in the US. The swiftness of onset of food allergies, the fact that they may be triggered by the ingestion of commonly available food substances, and the difficulty of diagnosis and selection of preventive medication often causes high levels of stress and anxiety among children and their parents or caregivers. Parents are often faced with challenges related to the food that is accessible to their children as well as with the quality of medical attention that is readily available if an allergic reaction does occur. A systematic review was performed to investigate the relative lack of information that children suffering from food allergies and their parents encounter, allowing for a broad set of recommendations to dispel some doubts, lower anxiety levels, and improve quality of life for the entire family unit. Online databases were searched to create a list of articles which investigated issues related to quality of life and association between food allergy and anxiety among children and their parents. One of the effective strategies for coping with food challenges was found to be the oral food challenge, in which patients are requested to intentionally ingest suspected allergens. During oral food challenges, patients are continuously clinically monitored for an onset of reactions, which is the protocol required to establish a definitive diagnosis of food allergy. It was also found that food allergy impacts the quality of life of caregivers, although pediatric allergist specialty care may lower the degree of this impairment to an extent through correct diagnosis and appropriate counseling.
|Commitee:||Porter, Daved Andrew, Dever, Sara Ines|
|School:||University of Bridgeport|
|Department:||College of Health Sciences|
|School Location:||United States -- Connecticut|
|Source:||DAI-B 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Health sciences, Immunology|
|Keywords:||Anxiety, Food allergies, Oral food challenge, Quality of life, Stress|
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