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.”

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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.

For more information visit Northwestern.edu