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Table 4 General public focus groups: quotations from higher (H) and lower (L) income participants arranged by domain.

From: Food allergy knowledge, attitudes and beliefs: Focus groups of parents, physicians and the general public

Domain: Definition & Diagnosis
Food Allergy ▪ (H): "I think that [food allergy] may have something to do with the compromised immune system. There are a lot of factors that can affect your immune system that could be hereditary, but [food allergy] could also be due to environmental factors or conditions at birth or early illness or something that leaves the immune system in a weakened state or perhaps in a state where it is malfunctioning."
  ▪ (L): " [Food allergy is when] enzymes aggravate the nerves inside [and] stimulates pain to the brain."
Development of Tolerance ▪ (H): "My husband was allergic to fish, and his brother was allergic to nuts, and they did not pay any attention to [avoiding] them and they outgrew [their allergies]."
  ▪ (L): "If you can find out what the [im]balance is in the system, I believe it could be corrected. I do not know about the shellfish [allergy] though because that is roughest [allergic reaction] I [have] ever seen."
Domain: Symptoms & Severity
Symptoms ▪ (H): "I think of it as not just a skin reaction but sometimes [of] a throat closing."
  ▪ (L): "I think that [symptoms would include] itching, swelling definitely, [and] even throwing up."
  ▪ (H): "I believe that perhaps my son's ADD [attention deficit disorder] is linked to food allergies."
  ▪ (L): "I think I am suspecting that I might have an allergy to pineapples. I have never been diagnosed with them, but I get itching and the swelling of the tongue and a really bad headache every time I eat fresh pineapple, but I can drink pineapple juice."
Domain: Perceptions of Susceptibility and Prevalence
Susceptibility ▪ (L): "I think that sometimes allergies come through the system like your mother is allergic to something; sometimes the children are allergic to it too."
  ▪ (H): "My kids had nuts, strawberries, everything [to eat]. I have no history of food allergies, and neither does my ex-husband. I exposed my kids to whatever they wanted to eat when they were very young, and hence I have two non-picky eaters. They will eat anything, and they are not allergic to anything."
Prevalence Interviewer: If we had a group of a hundred children in this room, how many children do you think would have a food allergy?
  (H): "I really think that every single person has an allergy that they do not know about."
  (H): "I was thinking more like 20%."
  (L): "I am going to say 50%."
Domain: Perceptions of Quality of Life
Public Impact of Food Allergy ▪ (H): "I used to be in advertising [and] I know that Southwest's slogan is 'Fly for peanuts.' I just cannot believe that [in] this day and age that they [could] be in such a confined area 35,000 feet from any hospital [and] serve peanuts. I think it is crazy."
  ▪ (H): "Unless they make a specific announcement, 'We have a highly allergic passenger on board [an airplane],' no one is going to think twice about opening whatever it is they have. So the responsibility lies on the parent or the child as they become older, and [they should] take on the responsibility to let other people know."
  ▪ (H): "One of my daughter's friends is allergic to nuts, and I have to be very careful when we have her over for a play date."