Children With Food Allergies Often Face Skepticism

Study found that even family and friends can be less than supportive

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"I don't think I've had an experience with people not understanding. If they've got peanuts out, I'll say, 'I'm not being rude, but my son is allergic to peanuts, and I've never had a problem with it," said Gillie, who lives outside London. "Obviously, people don't want anyone to do poorly."

After her son was diagnosed, even Mehta's husband, a cardiologist, struggled to accept that her son really couldn't eat so many of the foods that were a staple of their Indian diet, she said.

Mehta's son was eventually also diagnosed with allergies to tree nuts, all grains --including wheat, barley and millet -- sesame, several fruits, lentils, beans and soy. For lifelong vegetarians, the food restrictions have been difficult, Mehta said.

Eventually, she brought her husband, parents and in-laws to an allergist's appointment and let the physician explain just how serious the food allergies were.

"I know the grandparents love our kids, there is no question about it," Mehta said. "I've found that the more involved they are in the allergy discussion, the more on the same wavelength we are."

More information

The Food Allergy Initiative has more on food allergies.

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