Over-diagnosed but under-treated

Over-diagnosed but under-treated

A story in today’s Boston Globe (Peanut allergy epidemic may be overstated) devotes its first 19 paragraphs to arguing that reports of the prevalence and growth of peanut butter allergy are overblown. It’s just a bunch of anecdotal evidence and fussy parents, according to the author.

Then we get to the very last paragraph of the story:

[D]espite their best attempts to avoid peanuts and carefully read labels, the average person with true peanut allergy still gets a reaction every three to five years. Yet only one in three parents of allergic children has a potentially life-saving dose of EpiPen nearby and knows how to use it. [Emphasis mine.] Affected children should never be without an EpiPen and someone who knows how to use it.

Isn’t that the part of the story that’s newsworthy?

January 30, 2006

One thought on “Over-diagnosed but under-treated”

  1. I agree that this is indeed newsworthy. I’d make sure all peanut allergic kids have seen an allergist. That’s the surest (though not the shortest) route to an Epi-Pen

    Another important factoid that was lost between the lines was this money quote from Anne Munoz-Furlong:

    “According to Anne Munoz-Furlong, a researcher and the founder of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, an advocacy group, today about 25 percent of parents believe that their children have food allergies, although only about 4 percent really do. (emphasis added).

    Four percent of the population is extraordinarily large. I was taught in medical school that anything present in 1% of the population can be called “common”.

    If that’s not an epidemic, what is?

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