Emotional Impact on Children with Food Allergies and Their Families The health of a child with a food allergy can be compromised at any time by an allergic reaction to food that is severe or life-threatening. Many studies have shown that food allergies have a significant effect on the psychosocial well-being of children with food allergies and their families. Families of a child with a food allergy may have constant fear about the possibility of a life- threatening reaction and stress from constant vigilance needed to prevent a reaction. They also have to trust their child to the care of others, make sure their child is safe outside the home, and help their child have a normal sense of identity. Children with food allergies may also have constant fear and stress about the possibility of a life-threatening reaction. The fear of ingesting a food allergen without knowing it can lead to coping strategies that limit social and other daily activities. Children can carry emotional burdens because they are not accepted by other people, they are socially isolated, or they believe they are a burden to others. They also may have anxiety and distress that is caused by teasing, taunting, harassment, or bullying by peers, teachers, or other adults. School and ECE
program staff must consider these factors as they develop plans for managing the risk of food allergy for children with food allergies.