(NaturalNews) Food allergies can undoubtedly cause some unpleasant effects on the body, but now it's taking a turn for the worse. A new study has found that almost one-third of suffering children are bullied due to their food allergies.
The lead researcher in the study was Dr. Eyal Shemesh, an associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at New York City's Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The researchers looked at 251 children between the ages of eight to 17, all of whom went to Mount Sinai's allergy clinic. The participants, as well as their parents, answered a number of detailed questions related to bullying.
Half of the children reported that they have been bullied, and one-third of the participants stated that the occurrences of bullying were associated to their food allergies. Of the children who reported having been bullied, only half of the parents said they knew about it.
In many cases, the bullying only went so far as teasing at school. And, while teasing is not a kind thing to do, the bullying takes a darker turn. Many children said that they had been threatened by classmates with such things as having the allergen food waved in front of them, thrown at them, receiving taunts about sneaking it into their food, or even having the allergen stuffed into the child's mouth.
When exposed to a food that is an allergen, some serious symptoms can arise in a wide variety. A child could break out in hives, develop swollen lips, or experience stomach pains. More frightening still are the life-threatening reactions that could pose fatal risks to the child, such as when the throat closes up and prevents breathing, or when blood pressure decreases rapidly and dangerously.
Shemesh points out that the participants in the study were primarily from white, upper-class families, and that these were only participants who attended one clinic. The data findings from the study may not represent all children with food allergies. However, a 2010 study by Dr. Jay Lieberman, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Memphis's University of Tennessee Health Science Center, had similar results - 35 percent of the children in his study reported being bullied due to their food allergy.
Up to eight percent of American kids have been diagnosed with a food allergy. Because of this, many schools and classrooms have banned such items as tree nuts, eggs, or dairy from shared school snacks to ensure the safety of their students. Nevertheless, experts emphasize the importance of talking to your kids about being bullied, especially since something as small as a food allergy can be exploited.