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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More