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Abstract

Purpose: Many youth struggle with the physical, mental, and social burdens of food allergy. The exact cause of food allergies is unknown, but several theories exist such as the “couch potato theory”, “hygiene hypothesis”, “microflora theory”, and “alarmins” theory. This non-systematic literature review summarizes the problem of youth food allergy and provides guidance to allied health professionals.

Method: A literature search of the relevant literature from years 2000 through 2017 was conducted using PubMed with the key words “food allergy”, “youth”, and “management”.

Results: Youth with food allergy may experience anxiety, social isolation, bullying, and depression, in addition to life-threatening allergic reactions. Managing food allergies successfully requires a team approach and begins with accurate diagnosis and identification/avoidance of specific food protein triggers.

Conclusions: Several federal laws exist to help protect food allergic youth from accidental exposure. Allied health professionals play important roles in helping adolescents avoid life-threatening reactions to food allergens.

Author Bio(s)

Philip J. Welch, PhD, MCHES, Assistant Professor of Public & Allied Health and Graduate Coordinator in the College of Health & Human Services at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. He is also a Master Certified Health Education Specialist.

Lauren Maziarz, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor of Public & Allied Health in the College of Health & Human Services at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH.

Macy McCartney, Graduate Assistant in the College of Health & Human Services at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH.

Chelsea Raker, Graduate Assistant in the College of Health & Human Services at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH.

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