Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Food allergies are common health problem among children. They carry a significant risk of severe allergic reactions. These disorders are chronic conditions in which the immune system becomes hypersensitive to some food products. It is estimated that 8% of children under the age of three have a type of food allergy. The common allergenic foods include cow’s milk, wheat, peanuts, egg, soy and fish.The mainstay of treatment is to eliminate the allergenic food from the patient’s diet which in case of a child mandates special behavioral and ethical problems. Considering the growing incidence of food allergy, and the risk of anaphylaxis, diverse moral-ethical challenges face parents, school administrators and health professionals.
Older children have the right to keep the fact of their disease private and this is a matter of their autonomy and may be an effort to prevent stigmatization by other students followed by psychosocial discomfort.Some moral & ethical principles in implementing management guidelines for allergic children include:
-Imagine if the patient was your own. What level of protection would you expect for him/her?
-Do protective policies cause the child to be isolated from others?
-Are medical recordings confidential?
-Avoid unduly limiting the diet of these children.
A certain scenario is an infant with cow milk allergy. In this condition specific consideration should be paid to the mother’s nutritional status when a dietary elimination strategy is to be implemented.
Considering the costs /benefits of diagnostic and therapeutic measures in food allergic children is recommended.