International survey of knowledge of food-induced anaphylaxis

Julie Wang, Michael C. Young, Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Studies show that anaphylaxis is under-recognized and epinephrine (adrenaline) is under-used by medical personnel as well as patients and their families. This study assesses the knowledge of food-induced anaphylaxis diagnosis and management across different populations of providers and caregivers and other interested respondents. Methods: An online survey embedded in a case discussion of food-induced anaphylaxis was distributed by Medscape to registered members. Results: A total of 7822 responders who started the activity chose to answer at least some of the questions presented (response rate 39.5%). Over 80% of responders in all groups correctly identified the case of anaphylaxis with prominent skin and respiratory symptoms; however, only 55% correctly recognized the case without skin symptoms as anaphylaxis. Only 23% of responders correctly selected risk factors for anaphylaxis, with physicians significantly more likely to choose the correct answers as compared to allied health, other health professionals, and medical students (p < 0.001). Ninety-five percent selected epinephrine (adrenaline) as the most appropriate treatment for anaphylaxis, and 81% correctly indicated that there are no absolute contraindications for epinephrine (adrenaline) in the setting of anaphylaxis. When presented a case of a child with no documented history of allergies who has symptoms of anaphylaxis, more physicians than any other group chose to administer stock epinephrine (adrenaline) (73% vs. 60%, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Specific knowledge deficits for food-induced anaphylaxis persist across all groups. Further educational efforts should be aimed not only at the medical community but also for the entire caregiver community and general public, to optimize care for food allergic individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-650
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • Allergy
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline)
  • Food


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