Parental perception of food allergy or intolerance in children under 4 years of age
The perceived prevalence of food allergy among parents of pre-school children in Ireland is unknown. An interview-assisted questionnaire was used to interview the parents of 600 children, aged 0–4 years, about food allergy. Twelve and a half per cent of the children were perceived by their parents to be food allergic. However, no instance of food allergy in children aged under 6 months was reported. Hyperactivity was the most common symptom noted, with sweets, sugary drinks and food colours being the most frequently implicated foods. Rash, the second most common symptom cited was largely associated with dairy products and eggs. Neither parental age, education, socio-economic groups or infant feeding practices affected perception of food allergy. Food allergy was diagnosed primarily by the parents themselves using simple food avoidance.
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