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April 10, 2006

Study Finds Teens at Highest Risk

A sizeable number of food-allergic teens admit to risk-taking that varies by social circumstances and perceived risks, according to a new study presented today at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the AAAAI.

Adolescents and young adults who live with food allergies often leave home without their epinephrine kits, and almost half would be willing to eat a food that is labeled as potentially containing allergens.

Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, and colleagues looked to identify why adolescents and young adults are at high risk for fatal food anaphylaxis. Participants, of which 49 percent male, were 13-21 years of age, with three-quarters suffering from peanut allergy or 2 or more allergies, 82% having anaphylaxis and 52% more than three lifetime reactions.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) said they always carry epinephrine, but that percentage varied during activities (ranging from 94% when traveling to 43% when playing sports). Three-quarters said they always read food labels, but 42% said they would eat a food labeled "may contain" an allergen. Teens don't always tell their friends about their food allergies (60% do) and 68% feel educating their friends would make living with food allergy easier.

The results imply educating teens, and people around them in social activities, may reduce risk-taking and its consequences.

source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Posted by David at April 10, 2006 11:31 AM