The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting, being held virtually from November 13-15, 2020. The team at Pulmonology Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading experts in the field. Check back for more from the ACAAI 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting.

The effect of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on patients with food allergy and their parents and caregivers is substantial, according to research presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting, held virtually from November 13 to 15.

Researchers administered a national survey to parents and caregivers of children with food allergy to assess the effects of COVID-19 on this population. Responses were obtained via the Food Allergy Research & Education patient registry (FARE; n=488), Food Allergy Outcomes Related to White and African American Racial Differences clinical cohort (FORWARD; n=118), and Stanford clinical food allergy patient database (n=65) between May 15 and July 7, 2020. Visual analogue scales were used to quantify food allergy-related psychosocial burden relative to 2019 (0=much less, 5=equivalent, and 10=much greater). COVID-19 Exposure and Family Impact Surveys (CEFIS) were also administered.

Although a larger proportion of FARE and Stanford respondents were of high socioeconomic status and reported White race/ethnicity relative to FORWARD participants, CEFIS scores were similar (M=6.9-7.6), which indicated the groups had similar levels of COVID-19 exposure and effect. Compared to 2019, FARE respondents reported slightly higher levels of concern (M=5.4±2.5) about accidental ingestion, anaphylaxis management self-efficacy (M=5.2±1.99), food allergy-related worry, anxiety, and stress (M=5.7±2.2-2.3), their child’s nutrition (M=5.4±2.2), and the risk of severe (M=6.4±2.3) and fatal (M=6.0±2.1) outcomes.

In addition, greater parental concern was reported regarding the ability to obtain safe foods (M=6.5±2.4), cross-contact among prepared or delivered foods (M=6.4±2.3), activation of emergency medical services (M=7.0±2.3), or having to visit the emergency department (M=7.8±2.1). Overall, children seemed less burdened when comparing parent self- to child-proxy report responses. Furthermore, comparing parental self- and child-proxy-report in FORWARD and Stanford patients indicated less concern relative to the year 2019 for most of the domains (M<5), with the exception of activating emergency medical services (M=6.0-6.7±2.8-2.3) or receiving food allergy treatment in the emergency department (M=6.9-7.3±2.7-2.2).


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The study authors concluded that the impact of COVID-19 on patients with food allergy and their parents and caregivers appears substantial, but also heterogeneous.

Reference

Warren C, Chinthrajah S, Newmark P, et al. The impact of COVID-19 and disease control measures on pediatric food allergy parents/caregivers and patients. Presented at: the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting (Virtual Experience); November 13-15, 2020. Abstract A050. 

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