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.


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. 

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor