Previous studies have shown that those with severe food allergies have significant gaps in knowledge about their disease and how to prevent recurrences. The purpose of this study was to address these deficiencies by creating and testing an educational packet, "Coping with Food Allergies." Participants included 46 of 58 adults with documented severe food allergies (response rate = 79%); and indeed, over half (57%) of the participants had experienced a food allergic reaction in the past year. The educational packet was tested in waves, with comments from participants used to revise the next version of the packet. Language targeted a lay audience and hand-drawn illustrations were added to make the material more appealing. Most participants recommended expanding sections dealing with symptom management and approaches to take when eating at restaurants. These sections became prominent features of the final edition. The participants were equally divided regarding preferred learning type: text-based compared with visual. No significant associations could be drawn between learning style and perceived clarity of information, with 93% finding the packet very clear and easy to read. Participants commented that the simple illustrations were ideal for a child with allergies or someone reading at a 6th to 8th grade level. Even among this group with longstanding food allergy, over 60% reported that they learned something new from the packet. "Coping with Food Allergies" will be made available to the public via the Food Safety Educators web site of the USDA and the allergy support group, Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science