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J Correct Health Care. 2012 Apr;18(2):105-10. doi: 10.1177/1078345811435473. Epub 2012 May 7.

Food allergies: the implications for correctional facilities.

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Federal Correctional Complex Butner, Bureau of Prisons, Butner, NC 27509, USA.


The prevalence of food allergies in the inmate population is a relatively unknown and perhaps underreported health issue. An inmate with an undetected food allergy is at risk for anaphylaxis or less serious complications and is becoming an increasing concern to correctional facilities. Allergic responses to foods cause many symptoms, including cutaneous, gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular, and anaphylactic. These nonspecific symptoms are often first thought to be related to other conditions. Cell-mediated disorders, food intolerances, and pharmacologic conditions should be considered in the differential diagnosis and appropriately ruled out. The symptoms may mimic other problems, and allergic reactions would not be among the first conditions considered in the differential diagnosis. Consideration of food allergies and recognition of the symptoms should prompt a diagnostic evaluation. Not all correctional institutions have access to a dietitian or conduct allergy testing and the need to prepare special meals may create challenges.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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