Teenagers and young adults with food allergies are at the highest risk of a fatal anaphylactic reaction. Nearly 70% of fatal food allergy related anaphylaxis occurs in those aged between 13 and 24 years old.
Multiple studies show that this is due to risk-taking behaviours such as not carrying an auto injector with them, not wearing medical jewellery, eating foods with “may contain” labelling and not asking about allergies while eating at restaurants.
A recent online survey looked into what links can be found in teenagers and young adults who are careful with their allergies.
The survey showed that teenagers with better support structures were less likely to engage in risky behaviours. Those who considered their female friends to be supportive and their mothers to be overprotective were more likely to take care.
The survey also showed that a good support system at school is linked to a more careful teen. In particular, letting teachers know about allergies, having stock adrenaline available at the school and having staff trained in allergy management.
Those who were more careful in managing their allergies are more likely to have their social life affected. Most said that their allergy affected their ability to spend time at restaurants and friend’s houses due to a fear of allergen exposure.
However, there were also positive effects reported from the survey. Most reported that their food allergy made them more responsible and made them a better advocate for themselves. They also reported that it made them more appreciative of the foods that they could eat and made them eat healthier.
Those with a peanut allergy are less likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours, this could be because it is the most likely allergy to be fatal or due to the greater public awareness.
The survey was taken by 200 adolescents and young adults from the age of 14 to the age of 22. The survey shows that the older participants were more likely to engage in risky behaviours.
The results of the survey clearly show the importance or support and education in helping teenagers manage their food allergies. Having a good support base at home, among friends and at school is closely linked with exhibiting good allergy management skills in teens and young adults.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Allergy Lifestyle Limited (t/a) Allergy Lifestyle) uses reasonable endeavours to check the accuracy of information provided however no warranty is given that they are error-free. Always seek the advice of an allergy specialist and follow your anaphylaxis emergency care plan.