Charting Pediatrics podkast

Mitigating Misinformation and Changing the Narrative: Allergies in the Media

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Facts and fiction can overlap in movies and television. That’s especially prevalent in medical dramas where the details seem so real but often don’t portray the full picture. While the intention may be to create powerful entertainment, sometimes a storyline can misinform the viewer. Unrealistic circumstances, overexaggerated outcomes and the bending of scientific truth, create confusion. When it comes to food allergies, how a situation is handled can be the difference between a routine medical occurrence and a lifesaving episode. “This is where we see some really dramatic portrayals because you generate that emotional kind of connection and we see it both from how reactions are portrayed inappropriately or very severe consequences or frankly people make fun of food allergies a lot,” David Stukus, MD, says.  

In this episode, we dig into how portrayals in the media landscape can impact patient families in the medical community. We are joined by Dr. Stukus, who is otherwise known as the allergy kids doc on social media. Dr. Stukus is the director of the Food Allergy Treatment Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, as well as a professor of clinical pediatrics in the division of allergy and immunology. In addition, we have Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, MD, with us. Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo is the director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, as well as a clinical professor of pediatrics at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. These two doctors are at the forefront of important conversations for change. “I honestly think education is just important. Once we’re armed with accurate information, that’s powerful. I can speak as a patient, as a mom of two girls with food allergies, and as someone who is a physician for patients with food allergies, my cup is always half full,” Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo says. 

This episode was recorded at the 2023 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition. Some highlights from this episode include: 

  • Common examples of allergy inaccuracies within media 
  • The narrative around nut allergies 
  • How we remove the stigma around allergies and change how they are portrayed 
  • Undoing outdated practices and updating our information 

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