This article was so good I’ve included the whole lot. Those with anaphylaxis would fall into the overcontrolled group, simply because they have to.
I’ll be keeping tabs on this study, since we have always feared that long term physcological damage is a very real threat for children with food allergies, especially anaphylaxis.
We try so very hard to be inclusive for our kids, but you just can’t do it 100%, because it just puts the kids at to much risk for ending up in hospital emergency ward.
Children with food allergies can grow up feeling abnormal or be afraid of eating, research has found.
And their parents often feel isolated and frustrated that the condition is not properly understood by politicians, the public or even their GPs, according to the multi-million euro study at University College Cork.
The ground-breaking research, part of a pan-European investigation, has been examining how quality of life for the 20,000 children in Ireland with food allergies can be improved.
There has been an overwhelming response from families keen to discuss the previously-overlooked psychological and emotional implications of the potentially life-threatening condition.
Their experiences will be invaluable in helping others, researchers believe.
Research associate Audrey Dunn Galvin has found parents have a wide range of concerns and problems they have had to confront as a result of their childrens conditions.
For three-year-olds they tend to fall into two groups some tend to be over-controlled, more grown-up than they should be.
Others try to resist and will try to push the boundaries, for example try and eat that bit of chocolate, she said.
She said children who previously had reactions tended to be very controlled, going out of their way to avoid their problem foods, while those who have rarely or never suffered from anaphylaxis extreme allergic reaction did not appreciate the seriousness of the condition.
Its a very fine line between terrifying the poor child and normalising life for the child as much as possible, she said.
She said she had met parents who were doing everything right, but did not realise their child did not feel normal.
As children get older, the parents become much more worried about the risks, for example, eating out or at birthday parties, while it becomes harder for the sufferers, who are often faced with boring or restricted diets.
They tend to be smaller, and face food with fear, and sometimes its hard to get them to the table.
The psychological consequences havent been looked at all, she said.
The quality of life issues were not restricted to the children, but affected parents, who might suffer from extremely high stress levels as a result of the concerns they had and the lack of support.
There is the frustration parents feel with other people not appreciating the seriousness of this.
They feel government doesnt understand and, to be perfectly honest, they feel that GPs dont understand.
A very important thing is to raise awareness among ordinary people in the street and also among politicians on how important labelling and manufacturing and the traceability of food are, she said.
A series of focus groups were originally designed for parents with allergic children up to the age of eight, but such was the interest in the programme that it was extended to 12 years old, with separate discussions with the children planned after Christmas.
Ms Dunn Galvin is attempting to draw up a questionnaire, based on the focus groups, which will then be used to identify and address quality of life issues.
The research, which is lead by Professor John OHourihane at the universitys Department of Paediatrics, is part of a four-year, 15m European study being undertaken to assess the impact of allergies on peoples lives.