The psychological impact of food allergy


New research shows that quality of life for those with food allergy is worse than for those with diabetes because of the uncertainty. Dr Anthony Dubois from the Department of Paediatric Pulmonology and Paediatric Allergy at the Beatrix Children’s Hospital in the Netherlands used a new psychological test to measure and compare the ‘health-related quality of life’ (HRQL) of the two groups of patients. Food allergy is difficult to measure in psychological terms because for most of the time, food allergy sufferers have few or no physical symptoms, and death rates from food allergy are low. The test also looks at the impact of food challenge tests, where an individual is exposed to food and monitored for reactions, and allergy management techniques.

The results, presented at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) congress 2011 in Istanbul show that uncertainty is a key factor in diminished quality of life, and accurate food allergy diagnosis with challenge testing can help improve quality of life. Carrying an adrenaline auto-injector might help by reducing perceived uncertainty. The HRQL tests can also investigate the non-financial cost of food allergy to the patient, and this and economic costs will be a focus of future study.

Source: European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

First published in June 2011

More research on the management of allergy

Top of page