Parents of children with food allergies are being warned to watch for signs of ‘allergy bullying’ – a growing problem with an impact that ranges from hurtful to deadly.

Sandra Hong, M.D., an allergist at Cleveland Clinic in the United States, says research has found that about one third of children with food allergies report being targeted by bullies as a result.

“Comments such as ‘We can’t have parties because of the food allergies that Jimmy has,’ or more aggressive ones, where they’re saying: ‘I’m going to hide peanut butter in your food’,” were amongst the incidents reported,” she said.

Dr. Hong said perpetrators may threaten or taunt their victims with potentially dangerous food such as peanuts or peanut butter. She stressed that parents whose offspring reported being bullied about a food allergy should notify the school and insist staff intervene.

She added that children targeted because of their food allergies often don’t report such incidents to their parents, making it vital to know the warning signs. These include a change in behavior, such as being sad, upset, or withdrawn.

“If they have a real aversion to going to school, you want to get to the bottom of it,” she said.

“If there’s something more, something deeper, you’d want to be there and have open communication at all times so that you can deal with it.”

 

Source: Wallis PR