Food Allergies and Bullies: A troubling combination

by Thomas A. Lupoli, DO

One way that we as physicians stay current with the latest scientific/medical advances is through the methodical review of medical journals—we need to read a lot. Some of the articles are very enlightening and directly translate to enhanced patient care, while others are more esoteric and not immediately clinically applicable.  But one article published in the October 2010 issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology was quite troubling and truly sadden me as a physician caring for food-allergic children and on a personal level as a parent. The article was titled “Bullying among pediatric patients with food allergy” and reported the prevalence of bullying and teasing of food allergic children due to their allergic condition.

Three hundred and fifty-three surveys were completed by food allergic children or their parents.  Twenty-four percent of the respondents reported the food-allergic child had been teased or bullied because of his/her food allergy with 80% of these events happening at school.  Of those teased, 57% reported acts of physical harassment with the allergen being waved or even thrown at them. There were also reports of intentional contamination of their meals with the allergen.

Physician and parents alike a well aware of the psychological impacts of bullying, but these reported events are particularly troubling given the possible consequences which may arise from forced exposure to a known food allergen.

There is no single solution to prevent or stop school bullying, but a solution can never be reached if we are unaware of the problem in the first place.  This article has undoubtedly brought the issue of food allergy centered bullying to the forefront of most Allergists’ consciousness.  In an ideal world, children would promptly tell parents of such bullying. But in the real world,  we know that many children are reluctant to discuss this with their parents or doctors. So although there seems to be no quick fix for this problem, it is crucial that we look for the warning signs of bullying and ask our food-allergic children about any harassment encountered at school because of their medical condition.

I have come across a nice web-article about this subject written by CNN  and one of the authors from the study is interviewed about his thoughts on the matter:

Also, the US Department of Health and Human Services has a useful website about bullying prevention/intervention resources:

Expanded Hours at Mandarin Office

Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida are expanding our office and shot hours at our Mandarin office at 11701-32 San Jose Blvd. #117, Jacksonville, FL 32223. In addition to our regular Monday & Friday hours, we will now be open Wednesday from 1:30-5:00 PM.

We feel that these added hours, in addition to our 4 office locations throughout the Jacksonville and Orange Park areas, will allow us to better serve our patients from all of Jacksonville and surrounding North Florida area.

Allergy & Asthma Specialists opening new West Jacksonville office

Drs. Mizrahi, DeMarco and Lupoli are excited to announce the opening of their new Westside office, located at 5913 Normandy Boulevard.  This new location will provide added convenience not only for patients from the Westside of Jacksonville but also those patients from the Northside, Downtown area, Callahan and the entire I-10 corridor. It will also be a shorter drive for our patients from Fernandina Beach, Hilliard and south Georgia.

Allergy and Asthma Specialists welcome Dr. Lupoli to Jacksonville

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Thomas A. Lupoli will be joining Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida beginning August 1, 2010.  Dr. Lupoli has just completed a highly respected fellowship program in Allergy and Immunology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is extremely well trained to treat all allergic and immunologic diseases including rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma and immune deficiency in both children and adults.  Please see his professional profile under the “Doctors & Staff” section of our website. We are confident that he will be a welcome addition to our practice and will continue to provide the excellent care that our patients are used to receiving.

We are fortunate to have Dr. Lupoli as a welcome addition to our practice and we know he looks forward to meeting with you in the near future.

Welcome to Jax Allergy

Welcome to Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida. If you suffer from allergy, sinus or asthma problems, you’ve come to right place for highly specialized and personal care. Our board certified allergists Edward Mizrahi, MD (Retired) and Patrick DeMarco, MD have decades of experience specializing in the complete care of both adult and pediatric allergy, asthma and sinus conditions including:

  • Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Asthma
  • Sinusitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Allergic eye conditions (conjunctivitis)
  • Food allergy
  • Insect allergy
  • Drug allergy
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Hives and swelling (urticaria and angioedema)
  • Eczema
  • Immune deficiency