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Some Bullies Using Food Allergies as Threat Tactic

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Kids with serious food allergies live with the fear they may come into contact with a triggering food.  But a new study out this week suggests that they may also face a social challenge because of their allergy: bullies could wield allergens in attempts to intimidate and terrorize allergic kids.  More from CNN.com:

A study released last week suggests that almost half of children who have food allergies have been bullied -- sometimes by having food thrown at them.

"Clearly, it's an issue for these school-aged children in terms of how they interact with their peers," said Dr. Clifford Bassett, director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York. "Immediately, when there's a diagnosis of food allergy, there's a little bit of a stigma."

The new study furthers the mounting evidence that many kids with food allergies may endure social ostracism while also trying to eat safely.

A 2010 study in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology said that 35% of kids over age 5 with food allergies have endured bullying, teasing or harassment. Parents of children with food allergies reported in the study that these incidents -- both physical and verbal -- happened because of food allergies.

Food allergy is a growing problem in young people. As many as 8% of children in the United States have at least one food allergy, according to research data.

There is no cure for food allergies. The only way to stop a life-threatening reaction, called anaphylaxis, is an epinephrine auto-injector, which allergists recommend that everyone with severe food allergies should carry.

Image:  Peanuts, via Shutterstock

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