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Dr Dawn Harper on Gateway 97.8

3rd September 2019
Posted by Aston Avery

More than a million British children have suffered allergic reactions at school, a new survey reveals today. Almost a fifth of parents surveyed with children at school (18%) say their offspring suffer from food allergies and that almost three quarters of them (72%) have experienced issues as a result in the classroom.

Around 7% of children have food allergies and in tragic instances, these can be fatal. About 1 out of every 13 children is allergic to at least one food. About 40% of those children have experienced severe, life-threatening reactions. Yet the new research, by allergy-free snack brand MadeGood, reveals that the lack of awareness of food allergens among British parents is still alarming – with almost half (44%) admitting to sending their child into school with a snack containing nuts or allergens.

Almost two thirds of those (60%) said they didn’t even think about it, while one in 10 said they assumed a teacher would intervene if there was a problem – adding more responsibility and stress to the teacher’s workload, which is already stretched. Only 4% felt guilty about doing it. And the survey shows widespread ignorance about what causes allergies. Despite recent high profile cases, only four out of ten parents knew that sesame is a potentially fatal ingredient to some allergy sufferers. An astonishing one in 12 (8%) believe that water is an allergen and three per cent even proposed cabbages.

Aston spoke to Dr Dawn Harper, TV doctor from hit Channel 4 TV show -Embarrassing Bodies – to discuss the research and also offered her advice to parents on how to be more aware and considerate to those with food allergies when packing their kids school lunches this year.