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Keywords:

  • quality of life;
  • peanut allergy;
  • children

Children with a peanut allergy (PA) are faced with food and social restrictions due to the potentially life-threatening nature of their disease, for which there is no cure or treatment. This inevitably impacts upon their quality of life (QoL). QoL of 20 children with PA and 20 children with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) was measured using two disease-specific QoL questionnaires (higher scores correspond to a poorer QoL). One questionnaire was designed by us and the other was adapted from the Vespid Allergy QoL questionnaire. We gave subjects cameras to record how their QoL is affected over a 24-h period. Response rates for both questionnaires were 100%. Mean ages were 9.0 and 10.4 years for PA and IDDM subjects, respectively. Children with a PA reported a poorer quality of life than children with IDDM: mean scores were 54.85 for PA subjects and 46.40 for diabetics (p = 0.004) in questionnaire 1 and 54.30 and 34.50 (p≤0.001) in questionnaire 2. PA children reported more fear of an adverse event and more anxiety about eating, especially when eating away from home. Photographs fell into seven common categories: food, management, environment, away from home, physical activities, restaurant and people. Most photographs related to food and management issues and revealed difficulties for both groups regarding food restrictions. PA subjects felt more threatened by potential hazards within their environment, felt more restricted by their PA regarding physical activities, and worried more about being away from home. However, they felt safe when carrying epinephrine kits and were positive about eating at familiar restaurants. The QoL in children with PA is more impaired than in children with IDDM. Their anxiety may be considered useful in some situations, promoting better adherence to allergen avoidance advice and rescue plans.