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Most people with severe allergy risks have anaphylaxis while on vacation, study finds


BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — A majority of respondents to a survey commissioned by drug maker Sanofi say that they or their children experienced a severe allergic reaction while traveling.

Sanofi announced the results of the nationwide survey of nearly 400 people, indicating that 65% of caregivers of children with severe allergies to food, insect stings or other causes reported that their child had an allergic reaction while on vacation. Wakefield Research conducted the survey between July 10-22, which included 275 adults who had been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector and 223 caregivers of children, including some who fit into both categories; the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The study also found that 70% of adults at risk for a severe allergic reaction had one while taking a trip, and Sanofi noted that it was essential that people with allergies stayed prepared for emergencies as Labor Day, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, approached. But despite the risks, 68% of adults and 49% of caregivers of children at risk for severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, reported forgetting or leaving behind their epinephrine auto-injectors while away.

"As someone severely allergic to shellfish and a frequent traveler, I understand firsthand the importance of being prepared for an unexpected severe allergic reaction," football player Jerome Bettis, a spokesman for Sanofi's Auvi-Q auto-injector, said on behalf of the company. "It's critical that I plan ahead. This includes avoiding my allergen and letting restaurant staff know about my severe allergy; making sure I always carry my two Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors; and knowing the number for emergency medical assistance in the area I'm visiting."

Nearly all the respondents — 99% — said they were worried about experiencing a severe allergic reaction at one or more outings. Other areas of worry for caregivers of children with food or insect allergies include restaurants, others' homes and eating outdoors at picnics or barbecues, as well as pools and beaches.

Seventy-six percent of adults with food allergies say they've had anaphylaxis while on vacation, and 75% of respondents say they verify all food ingredients and preparation methods before eating, while 57% say they make allergy-friendly food at home to bring with them and eat. Meanwhile, 63% of those with insect allergies say they wear shoes outdoors, and 54% avoid clothes with bright colors and floral patterns.

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