Parent perceptions in managing children with food allergy: An Australian perspective

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Abstract

Introduction: Food allergy affects up to 10% of Australian children, and living with food allergic children can be challenging for parents. This study explored parental perceptions and knowledge as they navigate a new reality of keeping their child safe. Methods: Parents of children with food allergies completed an online food allergy survey in 2015. Questions explored health knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) as well as quality of life (QoL) through the inclusion of the Food Allergy Quality of Life — Parental Burden instrument (FAQL-PB). Notification of the survey included advertisements to more than 700 randomly selected Australia-wide preschools, 44 allergy specialists, and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia. Responses were tabulated and analysed. Results: Of the 400 participants who logged on, 357 commenced the survey and 318 finished. Questionnaire analysis showed that 44.1% of parents (n = 135) hesitated to use an adrenaline auto-injector and may be influenced by a classification system where symptom severity is not universally understood. While 79% would sign up to a national Anaphylaxis Registry, intention to participate in clinical trials using vaccines was disclosed by only 56%. Allergen labelling and community acceptance continue to be the most challenging aspects of managing a food allergy, and 50% of parents reported that food allergy played a role in choosing a preschool or primary school. Overall, quality of life for participants was influenced more by gender (male) and age of the child than where they lived — capital city or regional location; however, regional participants were more frustrated over lack of appreciation relating to the seriousness of food allergy (p = 0.010). Conclusion: Results highlight the need for educational strategies for both the food allergy community and public, particularly in regional areas, since there is a perceived lack of appreciation as to the seriousness of food allergy. Educational resources and relevant networks are required to support parents and caregivers in the management of children with food allergy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100468
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalWorld Allergy Organization Journal
Volume13
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020

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