Majority of college students with food allergy do not avoid food allergens and do not carry EpiPen

Food allergy trends and behavioral attitudes were assessed on a large university campus. An online survey was distributed by email to a local university undergraduate students.

A total of 513 individuals responded, with 57% reporting an allergic reaction to food. Of this group, 36.2% reported symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Allergy to milk, tree nut, shellfish, and peanut was significantly associated with having symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Some form of emergency medication was maintained in 47.7%, including self-injectable epinephrine (SIE; 21%), but only 6.6% reported always carrying this device.

Only 39.7% reported always avoiding foods to which they were allergic.

Potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to foods are occurring on college campuses. Only 39.7% of students with food allergy avoided a self-identified food allergen, and more than three fourths did not carry EpiPen. Such behaviors places these students at increased risk for adverse events.

Remember the simple rule: "No Epi, no eat-y"

References:

Food allergy and food allergy attitudes among college students. J Greenhawt M, M Singer A, P Baptist A. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Jun 26.
@AllergyNet: Coroner's Report of anaphylactic death due to food allergy in Australia http://bit.ly/k2QK0c - A lot to be learned from this tragic episode.
Image source: Roasted peanuts as snack food, Wikipedia, public domain.

Twitter comments:

@lissaRFAK: I think I found my new personal slogan. Let's make t-shirts. RT @Allergy One allergist used to say: "No Epi, no eat-y" (always be prepared).

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