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Allergy Awareness: The Good, The Bad & The Clueless

By July 28, 2009

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A new study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology examines allergy awareness among the general public and finds some encouraging signs -- plus some places where knowledge could be better.

The good: Despite the inevitable flame wars that break out on message boards, blogs, and newspaper sites whenever the thorny topic of nuts in school is on the agenda, programs and policies designed to protect allergic kids in school are mostly popular. Some 85% of adults support action plans in school aimed at protecting allergic children, although nut-free tables and classrooms are more contentious. Also good: the vast majority of subjects (95%) recognize that food allergies can be deadly.

The bad: Many people believe that food allergies can be treated medically, through daily medicine or through some type of cure, rather than by a strict allergen-free diet. So while most people recognize the importance of avoiding reactions, many may not be aware that you need to be careful about your diet all the time.

There's also still broad confusion about the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. If you have a severe food intolerance, you may find that people say you have an allergy if you try to explain your condition.

Do these findings reflect your experience? What's the one thing you'd want people who don't have allergies to know? Vote in the poll and share your own experiences in the comments.

July 30, 2009 at 11:41 pm
(1) Jacqueline Fortner says:

I suddenly started having extrememly sensitive teeth and had no idea what had happened. When I went to my dentist, I told him about this problem and his first question was, “Have you changed toothpaste?” I had. As it turned out my new toothpaste had sulfites in it. I am allergic to sulfites.

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