Background Allergies are a growing health concern with a significant impact on quality of life and healthcare costs. It is critical to develop an appropriate care plan to deal with children’s allergies. This study aimed to assess and compare the knowledge and perception of families and school personnel caring for children with history of anaphylaxis who were prescribed the epinephrine autoinjector (EpiPen). The study also examined the underlying reasons for any observed knowledge gaps.
Methods A cross-sectional study of 128 families and 50 corresponding school personnel caring for children at risk of anaphylaxis who had been prescribed the EpiPen was conducted. The primary outcome was to identify any knowledge deficiency within family and school personnel and the reasons behind knowledge gaps.
Results Of the 128 screened schools, 30 (23%) were not informed by parents about their pupils’ risk of anaphylaxis. Importantly, 113 (88%) of families and 42 (84%) of schools were unable to recognise the symptoms of anaphylaxis. Also, 67 (52%) of families and 22 (44%) of schools were not aware that a child should ideally have two EpiPen in case of a severe allergic reaction. The EpiPen had been used by 18 (14%) families and 5 (6%) schools.
Discussion Communication among families and school personnel regarding anaphylaxis was suboptimal. Both parents and school personnel lacked key information in allergy management. Managing a child at risk of anaphylaxis requires effective communication among healthcare professionals, families and schools. There is an urgent need to improve knowledge of anaphylaxis and its management among families and school caregivers.
- school health
- general paediatrics
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Contributors SME (principal investigator) conceptualised the study, collected data, analysed it, drafted and wrote the manuscript. ST contributed substantively to designing, editing and drafting of the manuscript. MC revised the protocol and contributed to editing and drafting of the manuscript. HJ, FZ, FA and RHE helped with data collection and coding of data.
Funding ST is supported by the biomedical research program at Weill Cornell Medicine, Qatar, funded by Qatar Foundation.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Parental/guardian consent obtained.
Ethics approval The study was approved by the institutional review board of Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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