Q&A: Worries about meals allergic reactions improve through the COVID-19 pandemic

September 02, 2022

3 min learn


Healio Interviews

Warren studies receiving analysis assist from Meals Allergy and Analysis Training, the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses and the Sunshine Charitable Basis. Please see the examine for all different authors’ related monetary disclosures.

Key takeaways:

  • In the course of the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, sufferers with meals allergic reactions anxious about unintended allergen publicity, the potential of extreme signs and the power of others in treating potential anaphylaxis.
  • Solely 9.7% of the survey’s respondents modified how they managed anaphylaxis despite the fact that official tips modified in response to the pandemic.
  • Allergists ought to refer sufferers who’re experiencing anxiousness for psychological well being counseling.

The COVID-19 pandemic provoked anxiousness throughout the nation for a lot of causes, however sufferers with meals allergic reactions confronted will increase in very particular fears, based on a examine in The Journal of Allergy and Scientific Immunology: In Follow.

Because the lockdown modified how individuals bought, ready and ate their meals, the survey of 505 respondents discovered that patients grew more afraid of unintended allergen publicity and the potential for extreme signs after unintended ingestion.

Psychologist listening to young woman
Supply: Adobe Inventory

These sufferers additionally felt fear over potential fatalities associated to their meals allergic reactions along with the inadequacies they noticed within the well being care system’s means to establish and deal with anaphylaxis.

In reality, 13.9% of respondents had seen a psychological well being skilled about their meals allergy, and youthful feminine respondents within the survey reported better psychosocial burdens than older male respondents.

However regardless of these elevated fears, the authors famous, solely 9.7% of the survey’s respondents modified the way in which they managed anaphylaxis on account of COVID-19, at the same time as tips modified in response to the pandemic.

Healio spoke with writer Christopher Warren, PhD, director of inhabitants well being analysis on the Middle for Meals Allergy & Bronchial asthma Analysis, Northwestern College Feinberg Faculty of Medication, to search out out extra.

Healio: What prompted the examine?

Warren: As quickly because the COVID-19 pandemic started, and particularly as soon as shelter-in-place orders had been issued in lots of elements of the nation — with the corresponding cancellation of nonurgent allergist visits and/or shift to telemedicine — it was unclear what the impact can be on sufferers with meals allergy, a lot of whom doubtless noticed disruptions to their typical allergen-free meals buying routines because of the corresponding provide chain points.

Christopher Warren

Nonetheless, then again, with fewer in-person actions, it was additionally believable that many sufferers would discover their day-to-day meals allergy administration facilitated by their extra constrained setting, with fewer alternatives for unintended allergen ingestion throughout social and different features exterior of the house.

So, we carried out the examine as a result of we needed to attempt to get a greater thought of how sufferers with meals allergy had been navigating this difficult time and establish the perfect methods to assist them.

Healio: Have been there any notably stunning or important outcomes?

Warren: One placing discovering, given the truth that our pattern was recruited by two giant meals allergy affected person registries, who arguably have entry to extra sources than the common affected person, was that only a few respondents reported having carried out any adjustments to their anaphylaxis administration plans supposed to keep away from potential publicity to COVID-19 and pointless utilization of hospital sources, regardless of clear suggestions by main nationwide allergy organizations.

This highlights the continued have to be strategic and considerate in taking concrete steps to make sure that tips and knowledgeable suggestions are literally carried out on the clinic, supplier and affected person ranges.

Healio: As restrictions have eased, has there been any change in affected person anxieties?

Warren: That is troublesome to establish by way of the current examine knowledge, provided that they had been collected between spring 2020 and spring 2021, earlier than a lot of the grownup inhabitants but had entry to efficient vaccines.

Nonetheless, it’s doubtless that affected person concern and notably excessive ranges of self-reported anxiousness relating to potential COVID-19 publicity within the ED setting and acute issues about lack of ability to entry allergen-free meals owing to produce chain disruption have attenuated considerably.

Healio: How can medical doctors assist sufferers who’re nonetheless dealing with these anxieties?

Warren: Information from different research that our Middle for Meals Allergy & Bronchial asthma Analysis is concerned with counsel that remarkably few sufferers with meals allergy obtain referrals for psychological well being counseling regarding meals allergy administration, although such care has been proven to be extremely useful. It’s endorsed that medical doctors display screen for elevated anxiousness associated to meals allergy administration and consult with certified specialists who might help sufferers. There are additionally glorious sources which might be publicly out there from main meals allergy organizations, similar to Meals Allergy Analysis and Training and Allergy and Bronchial asthma Basis of America. Lastly, physicians ought to familiarize themselves with native meals allergy assist teams, that are energetic in-person in lots of elements or the nation in addition to on-line.

Healio: What’s the subsequent step on this analysis?

Warren: The subsequent step on this analysis includes additional evaluation of a a lot bigger longitudinal pediatric pattern of kids with meals allergic reactions (and their mother and father/caregivers) recruited from across the nation who’ve additionally been surveyed over the previous 2 years utilizing a comparable survey measure. Keep tuned!


Warren C, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2022;doi:10.1016/j.jaip.2022.07.036.

For extra data:

Christopher Warren, PhD, could be reached at christopher.warren@northwestern.edu.


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