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American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2019

Psychological, Social Issues Dr Brian Vickery Sees With His Patients With Food Allergies

Despite a patient's vigilance, there is an unpredictable risk of an accidental reaction from an exposure, explained Brian Vickery, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University and director of the Food Allergy Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.


Despite a patient's vigilance, there is an unpredictable risk of an accidental reaction from an exposure, explained Brian Vickery, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University and director of the Food Allergy Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Transcript

What are some psychological and social issues your patients with food allergies cope with?

The burdens of eliminating these foods from their diet is difficult but can be managed. I think the main thing is that there is an unpredictable risk of an accidental reaction from an exposure despite their vigilance, and we know that from longitudinal studies. It is simple to say, “just avoid the food and you’ll be fine.” In practice, it’s really difficult to do that, and that means that patients are at risk. They typically eat 3-5 times a day, and they are at an unpredictable risk for a potentially life-threatening situation, and that risk is compounded by the fact that they themselves must evaluate the situation and administer a rescue medication, get them to the hospital if they need to, and basically act as a first responder to keep themselves safe. That’s a tremendous burden to carry around. It’s a tremendous stress. I think people are really concerned about the possibility of a life-threatening situation developing, and this is what we consistently hear over and over from patients.

 
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