Inadvertent exposures in children with peanut allergy

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2012 Mar;23(2):133-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01235.x. Epub 2011 Dec 4.


Objectives: To determine the annual incidence, characterize the severity and management, and identify predictors of accidental exposure among a cohort of children with peanut allergy.

Methods: From 2004 to November 2009, parents of Canadian children with a physician-confirmed peanut allergy completed entry and follow-up questionnaires about accidental exposures over the preceding year. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine potential predictors.

Results: A total of 1411 children [61.3% boys, mean age 7.1 yr (SD, 3.9)] participated. When all children were included, regardless of length of observation, 266 accidental exposures occurred over 2227 patient-years, yielding an annual incidence rate of 11.9% (95% CI, 10.6-13.5). When all accidental exposures occurring after study entry and patients providing <1 yr of observation were excluded, 147 exposures occurred over a period of 1175 patient-years, yielding a rate of 12.5% (95% CI, 10.7-14.5). Only 21% of moderate and severe reactions were treated with epinephrine. Age ≥13 yr at study entry (OR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.20-4.53) and a severe previous reaction to peanut (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.44-2.91) were associated with an increased risk of accidental exposure, and increasing disease duration (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.83-0.92) with a decreased risk.

Conclusion: The annual incidence rate of accidental exposure for children with peanut allergy is 12.5%. Children with a recent diagnosis and adolescents are at higher risk. Hence, education of allergic children and their families is crucial immediately after diagnosis and during adolescence. As many reactions were treated inappropriately, healthcare professionals require better education on anaphylaxis management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Risk Factors