Skip to main content

Disco Video Helps Pediatricians Manage Food Allergies

Northwestern scientist raises awareness about managing food allergies via catchy video

  • Pediatricians seeing more kids with food allergies
  • Northwestern scientist sings, leads young patients in dance video aimed at physicians  
  • Children’s food allergies can lead to death and are growing public health concern

CHICAGO --- Dr. Ruchi Gupta channels her inner diva in her new music video to the tune of the 1970s’ runaway hit “I Will Survive” to raise awareness about a serious concern -- the diagnosis and management of food allergy.

Aimed at physicians, the video, “I Will Thrive,” focuses on five key steps for the diagnosis and management of food allergy.

Earlier research by Northwestern Medicine®’s Gupta showed physicians were often not comfortable managing food allergies for their pediatric patients because they had not been adequately trained in them. She also found pediatricians were unaware of recent national guidelines to manage food allergies.

“So let’s go…from one to five, these are the steps to make sure kids with food allergy thrive!”  sings Gupta, adorned in sequins, as colored disco lights blink in the video. The background singers and dancers are Chicago area kids with food allergies, their siblings and parents.

“We thought if we could distill the main message down into a four-minute video and a jingle that gets stuck in your head, we might have a substantial impact,” said Gupta, an associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.  

View the video at www.foodallergythrive.com.

“Physicians manage so much on a daily basis that it’s sometimes hard for them to keep up with all the new guidelines,” Gupta said.

Food allergy is a growing public health concern in the United States that affects an estimated eight percent of children, according a 2011 study by Gupta. Nearly 40 percent of children with food allergy have a history of severe reactions that can lead to hospitalization or even death without immediate treatment. 

Since food allergy is so common and potentially life threatening, it is particularly important for pediatricians and other primary care physicians to be aware of the five major steps required for its clinical diagnosis and management

“Even though we had a lot of fun making this video, the message it contains is serious -- it’s crucial that primary care clinicians know the NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy, so they can provide high quality care to kids with food allergy,” Gupta stressed.

Here are the five steps:

  1. Take a detailed clinical reaction history
  2. Test specific IgE (blood test) ONLY for suspected foods
  3. Prescribe epinephrine and train family how to use it
  4. Counsel the family on food allergy management
  5. Refer the patient to an allergist for follow-up

Gupta’s research team is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health to develop a clinical decision support tool, which will help ensure that physicians are following food allergy diagnosis and management best practices in their daily practice.

To learn more about Dr. Gupta’s research, visit her website at http://www.ruchigupta.com and her blog http://ruchiguptamd.blogspot.com/. You can follow her on Twitter @ruchisgupta.

Editor's Picks

Back to top