NEW YORK (WCCO) – Most preschoolers with food allergies still have serious reactions. That’s despite their parents’ best efforts to protect their children.
Little Bari Holden was just a baby when her mom, Briana, gave her yogurt for the first time.
“As soon as I gave it to her, she broke out. Head to toe. Hives everywhere,” said Briana.
Bari was allergic to the milk in yogurt, as well as soy, nuts and eggs.
A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds more than 70 percent of preschoolers who have food allergies still experience reactions to the foods they are supposed to avoid.
“There have been times when Bari has broken out in one small hive and we say, ‘oh, there may have been something she ate,’” said she said.
Researchers say misreading ingredient labels and cross-contamination are two of the biggest problems.
The study’s authors also noted that half of the reactions happened when someone other than the parents was watching the child.
Dr. Scott Sicherer of Mount Sinai Medical Center is the study’s author.
“We need to talk to the parents to make sure that everyone who takes care of the child understands all the nuances of how to successfully avoid the food,” said Dr. Sicherer.
Epinephrine is used to treat severe allergic reactions. But the study found that parents and caregivers gave it to children only about 30 percent of the time.
“It’s really better if you’re in doubt to go ahead and inject it. You’re not hurting anyone if they didn’t really have to have it but you could save a life,” said Dr. Sicherer.
Bari’s mom makes sure she always has her epinephrine with her just in case.
“I feel like when the time comes in a situation…that there would be nothing that would stop me from saving the life of my child,” said Briana.
Bari has outgrown her milk and egg allergies, but she will always have to be careful about the foods she eats.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis include swelling in the throat, fainting, and nausea.
Doctors say that when in doubt regarding a food reaction, parents should give the epinephrine.