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Nut problem misunderstood

Tuesday August 16th, 2011

Families of children with life-threatening nut allergies too often feel they are treated as being "frivolous and self-indulgent", researchers warned today.

Children even get bullied by others and teased with pretend nuts, researchers at Leicester University found.

Parents meanwhile find their friends think they are being faddish and "attention-seeking".

The research was backed by the Midlands Asthma and Allergy Research Association and involved interviews with 26 families. Findings have been published in the journal Chronic Illness.

Researchers found parents struggled to convince other people of the seriousness of the problem - making events such as birthday parties a "nightmare".

They even suspected other family members and friends of testing their claims by giving their children nuts.

Researcher Dr Emma Pitchforth said: "People's approaches ranged from scepticism, disbelief and in some cases complete lack of care, which could put the child in danger."

Child allergy specialist Dr David Luyt, a consultant in Leicester, said: "These parents and children see a society that is willing and able to accommodate vegetarians and many others with dietary restrictions, but not them.

"This research is a wake-up call for improvement in food production and labelling to help families and children maintain a safe environment and reduce stress and difficulties."

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | UK News

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