News / Asia

Kids Teased About Food Allergies No Laughing Matter

Elizabeth White has a peanut allergy, mixes peanut powder with a fruit roll-up to buildup her tolerance, December 21, 2006.
Elizabeth White has a peanut allergy, mixes peanut powder with a fruit roll-up to buildup her tolerance, December 21, 2006.
School bullying is a well-known problem, but one particular type is raising fresh concern. It involves children with food allergies. Students, parents and teachers may not be aware that the consequences can be fatal.

Nearly one-third of students diagnosed with food allergies are bullied at school as a result of their condition.

That is according to a new study by researchers at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Results of the study, involving 251 sets of children and parents, appear in the latest online issue of the Pediatrics medical journal.

Students who are teasing their allergic classmates, by doing such things as putting a peanut in their mouths, do not realize that the body's immunological reaction to the food can be life threatening.

In the worst scenario, the children go into anaphylactic shock and die.

The New York researchers say as many of eight percent of children in the United States have been diagnosed with food allergies.

The president of the World Allergy Organization, Dr. Ruby Pawankar in Tokyo says schools and societies, at large, need to take more seriously the threats posed by food and other allergies.

“Many people trivialize it thinking of it to be something as small as a rash or even like a runny nose, not realizing that allergy is a systemic condition and it's a very dynamic disease," she said. "So a person can start with just eczema but go on to food allergies which can be fatal, can have drug allergies, can have asthma which itself can be severe.  And if you look at the global prevalence it is rising.”

Dr. Pawankar, a professor at the Nippon Medical School, says that environmental and lifestyle factors are partly to blame for what she terms the allergy epidemic, which is spreading in the developing world, as well.

“Then, of course, there are pollutants, preservatives and additives in foods, reduced bio-diversity which actually affects the gut microbiota,” explained Pawanker. "Those microbes that actually can build the body's immune tolerance towards diseases are lacking in the child. So the child becomes more prone towards developing allergic diseases.

Also, she explains, elements in the environment are responsible for changing the functions of genes, causing an increase in allergies.

Dr. Pawankar herself is allergic to crustaceans and credits quick thinking doctors with saving her life as a teenager in her native India with a quick dose of adrenaline.

Her World Allergy Organization in 2013 intends to raise awareness about the seriousness of food allergies. Its campaign for World Allergy Week (April 8 to 14) will focus on food allergies.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs