Less than 40% of parents recall their pediatricians explaining when they are to use epinephrine in the event of their child having an allergic reaction. This finding comes from a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and is the first of its kind to assess parents’ perceptions of care for their child’s food allergy.
Epinephrine auto-injectors are used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis. “This is potentially lifesaving information,” said Dr. Ruchi Gupta, co-author and associate professor at Northwestern University. “Physicians need to make sure patients understand when and how to use epinephrine and that they have an emergency action plan.”
The study data comprised of 859 parents, who had 2 visits a year with their child’s physician, and the data was taken from the Children’s Memorial Hospital Food Allergy Questionnaire.
In addition to the 40% of parents not recalling their child’s pediatrician giving epinephrine injection instructions, less than 70% recalled their allergist explaining when to use epinephrine. Even fewer parents recalled being shown how to inject epinephrine or being given a written emergency action plan by either their allergists or pediatricians.
The authors also pointed to research that indicated pediatricians were not adequately trained on how to use epinephrine auto-injectors and how they did not feel comfortable showing patients how to use the devices.
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